Monday, December 3, 2012

Trail Recap 15 of 27: Pine Grove to Wind Gap, PA

My trail mementos:
 A ten-pound Pennsylvania Rock with typical quartz striping, found right on the trail
just south of Ashfield Road and the adjacent power line clearing.
With a little imagination you can see an AT logo embedded.
Also collected from the trail are a small pebble of sparkly schist from near Springer's summit
and a pebble of typical pink granite from near Katahdin's summit.
Up top is the remnant of the 'REI' brand label from my 42 year old daypack.
The label clung tenaciously to the pack through all 4368.4 miles,
then finally fell off back home when I ran the pack through the washing machine.

PA Route 501 to near the Leroy Smith Shelter, just south of PA 33 at Wind Gap, PA:  ~83 miles

General Impression/Theme:  'Rocksylvania'.  Pennsylvania rocks.  The greatest concentration of rocky trail is here in the middle-north part of PA.

People:  Dave Coull, 27-year maintainer of four mile of trail S. of Eagles Nest Shelter; Laurie, husband Dick ('Mountain Laurel and Hardy'), and friend 'Elf", hiking northbound for a week - saw them on four consecutive days, April 25-28;  'The Transgender Couple', Hailey Jo and Brandon, working Southbound from Delaware Water Gap, headed to Springer - a married couple both of whom underwent sex change operations; 'Samus', formerly 'Silent Sam', first NoBo thru hiker to catch up with me (that I met), and seventh overall to check in at Harper's Ferry this year.  He left Springer on Feb. 28th.  Off trail (by just two miles), nephew Adrian who lives in Slatington, just south of Lehigh Gap.

Supply/Overnight:  The Hamburg-Port Clinton Wal-Mart and adjacent J.A. Buffet.  Nephew Adrian's house, The Wal-Mart at Lehighton-Weissport.

Worst Memory: Significant neck and shoulder blade pain that forced me to slow down - seems to be mostly stress related, due to trying to power through those ROCKS, rather than taking the trail at a pace it was willing to give.  See my entry in the Allentown Shelter log book to get an idea of how I was feeling:

Best Day Hike:  Because of its variety of landscape with plentiful views, my vote for best day hike in this section goes to the hike through the EPA superfund restoration zone between Little Gap and Lehigh Gap and overlooking the town of Palmerton and its now rusting zinc smelting plant.  The scenery varies from starkly beautiful to 'bombed-out' devastation as a result of decades of pollution from the plant.  The vegetation, in various stages of recovery, provides endless photo opportunites:

Other great choices for day hikes include 1.: the hike to Dan's Pulpit viewpoint from Hawk Mountain Road, 2.: the Pinnacles, billed as Pennsylvania's best AT viewpoint, which along with the nearby 'Pulpit' (distinct from Dan's Pulpit) make a fine outing, and 3.: Bake Oven Knob, just a half mile walk from a huge parking area and a very popular destination for locals, with excellent views both to the SE and NW from separate overlook points.

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