I did the maths today and figured out a way to save Pennsylvania. My Guana Island friends are already getting a good laugh because they have to help me add at Farkle but bear with me – this is really important. The AT runs through Pennsylvania for 228 miles. Approximately half of that is covered in a cruel jumble of boulders and sharp rocks that crush your feet and your soul. Each year about 700 thru hikers complete the Trail. So, if each hiker moved just one rock off the Trail as they passed through we could have it completely cleared by the beginning of the NOBO season in the year 2156. I moved my rock today and shared this brilliant plan with my hiking buddies around the campfire. They listened carefully and then asked “But what about the rocks under the rocks?” I’m looking for new hiking buddies.
The following is a true story. In 1936, the Appalachian Trail was almost ready to hike but they needed to set the course through Pennsylvania. Tammy the Trail Builder volunteered and the powers that be graciously accepted her help. What they didn’t know was that Tammy’s best friend was Satan. Tammy and Satan set out on a sunny Saturday in May to plot the course. Tammy pointed out a beautiful section of flat and soft farmland and thought that was a perfect place for the Trail. “Gee Satan, that Pennsylvania farmland is so beautiful and nice to hike on” Tammy said.
Satan disagreed and told Tammy that if she wanted his help then the Trail had to go straight through the pile of rocks that extends from Maryland to New Jersey. Tammy tried to talk him out of it but he had the can of white paint and started setting the blazes where he wanted it. So typical of Satan. When they were almost done, Tammy asked Satan why he wanted the Trail to run such an impossible course. “What about all of those sweet thru hikers?”
Satan was very pleased with his work and cackled a little too loudly as they set the last blaze outside of Delaware Water Gap. “They will be begging me to deliver them from this torture by the time they get to Port Clinton” Satan shouted. “Oh Satan, don’t take them to Hell with you” Tammy pleaded. “No dear, just to New Jersey” Satan explained. “Exactly!” Tammy cried.
Just three more days and we will be done with this crazy state. Sorry, commonwealth. About a week before I left for the Trail, I met a couple that had hiked it in 2018 but they skipped Pennsylvania. I secretly judged them for this transgression and I was wrong for that. So wrong. There may be other reasons to visit this lovely place but it ain’t for the hiking.
We had a relatively easy 15 mile day today and camped near a beautiful stream. A sweet young couple named Sierra and Nate were also camping here and they are going SOBO on July 1. They had been recently been evacuated from their Peace Corps work in Africa because of the virus and are going to use the rest of the year wisely on the Trail. It was fun sharing what we’ve learned and I hope we run into them as we are finishing in July. I didn’t mention the rocks.