photo by  Kristen Bryant

Hi.

Welcome to The Ones Who Walk project site. I am a 2018 AT thru-hiker gathering stories along the way. 

Duncannon, PA - Delaware Water Gap, PA [Mile 1,148 - 1,295]

July 1  
Duncannon PA - Clarks Creek [17]

Got a late start. It’s always hard leaving town. The morning was already hot and sticky as I walked through the town. The trail goes through the center of town before heading up into the mountains across the river. 

I was almost the last of my group to leave. Bru stayed behind to wait for Walkman who went home for a day. Bru wasn’t feeling well after his Duncannon 24 Challenge attempt (24 beers, in 24 miles in 24 hours).  

Prime, GB and Scrapbook had left earlier in the morning and the plan was to hike 20 miles. I didn’t make it to the designated camp spot. I stopped three miles earlier at a great spot by a creek. This is the first night camping alone since I’ve sent Sadie home. 

Feeling happy at my campsite because it’s a beautiful spot but also a tad lonely. It’s right next to a road which always makes me nervous.  

 

July 2
Clarks Creek - William Penn Shelter [24 miles] 

  

Longest day yet on the trail. It’s late and I’m exhausted but overall I feel pretty good. My left shin muscle is cramping up though.  

I wanted to get started earlier this morning but I can’t seem to get myself up early. I’d really like to so I can beat this horrible heat. There are heat advisories all over the country right now.  

Took an extended lunch to wait out the hottest part of the day. I ate with Cheddar, Charles and Cowboy. These three are the only people I’ve seen since leaving Duncannon. The trail is the emptiest I’ve seen it yet. I’m not sure if I’m in between hiking bubbles or the drop out rate is that evident.  

Late in the afternoon I had to make the call whether or not to camp near a water source or push on 13 miles to the next shelter. There isn’t water between the road and the shelter. I got to the road and decided to treat myself after a very hot, long, tough day.  

I gave myself 5 minutes to try and hitch before I gave up. The last car that I held my thumb to pulled over! A pickup truck driven by a man named Jonathan. He was kind enough to drive me to Wendy’s for dinner and wait while I ordered to-go. Turns out he picked up two of my hiking friends earlier in the day.  

When I got out of the car I told him that trail karma is real and that I hoped it would find home for his good deeds today. He told me that the AT is on his bucket list. I looked at him and said the decision is the hardest part and I hope he will make it one day.  

With a cheeseburger in my belly I decided to hike the next 13 miles.  

Passed a cooler full of sodas and water underneath the highway bridge. Lots of trial magic today. 

Had to hike with my headlamp on for a mile or so tonight. Set up my tent in the dark. Time for bed.  

 

July 3
WIlliam Penn Shelter - random tensite [16]
  

Woke up late this morning and didn’t get hiking until 9am. Quite late. I was alone at the shelter tent area this morning. Everyone had packed up and hiked on. The mornings are so quick now, no one sticks around for a long breakfast or any conversation. We’ve streamlined our routines and get out before the sun is high. 

Clouds today kept the morning cool.  

Hiked ten miles to Hertline campsite which hosts a spring-fed pond just off trail.  

 

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I ended up staying at this pond for three hours. The cool water, shade and entertainment from hikers dropping from the rope swing made it hard to leave. 

Sticking around paid off — Walkman and Bru came down the trail! I can’t believe they’ve already caught up. When they got to the pond they had already hiked 22 miles.  

They relaxed and hung out for a bit. We decided to hike 8 more miles as a group. My leg is pretty stiff and uncomfortable. My pace is slower. 

Bru and Walkman stuck with me despite my slower pace. We grabbed water at a small stream and camped at a tensite next to the trail. Today is their longest day yet at 30 miles.  

 

July 4
Tentsite - Port Clinton [11]
 

This morning was rough. My leg needs more time to heal than a night of sleep.  

Walkman got us up at 5:30 am. Partially to beat the heat but also because we were hiking into town - and that’s the best motivator.  

Now that feels like another day. I’m sitting in a beautiful cabin on the Delaware River with friends from home, new friends and, Bru and Walkman.  

A Winston friend, John, reached out and let me know he is in PA for the week on vacation. He was kind enough to pick us up and bring us to the celebrations. The cabin is two hours away but this is absolutely worth the time and distance. 

I’ve been in a funk since Harpers Ferry. I don’t feel motivated. Hiking feels difficult, less exciting. The heat wears me down and the empty trail only adds to the monotony of the ‘green tunnel’ of trees, leaves, ferns and no sweeping views.  

I feel energized being away from the trail, trail towns, the same people and scenery. John and his friends are welcoming and incredibly kind. Though recognition is not why I hike this trail, having others recognize the effort and offer their support is uplifting.  

We’re going to stay here tomorrow as well and tube down the river.  

The cabin belongs to the Potomac River keeper (former Yadkin Riverkeeper). Couldn’t think of a better person to bring us down the river.  

Going to take a break from blogging and truly enjoy this time off. More later.  

  

July  6
Port Clinton - Windsor Furnace Shelter [5] 

Walkman is spending time with his family since he’s close to home (NJ). So Bru and I hiked out of Port Clinton after spending some time at the post office getting our food organized, making calls and touching base with other hikers.  

The Post Office turned into a hiker gathering as people got into town or prepared to leave town.  

Got a surprise box of granola bars, trail mix and a thoughtful card. So happy to keep feeling supported.  

We hiked out with three added to our group around 4pm. Stopped a few miles in at the first shelter.  

I’m excited to be back on trail and even happier that my feelings are more positive. 

 

July 10
Delaware Water Gap
 

Forgot to journal the past couple days. Bru and I have continued to hike together - somewhat in an attempt to catch the rest of the group ahead of us. 

July 7 we hiked 20 miles and camped with Beats and Passenger.  

July 8 was my new hiking record at 28 miles. Had to push the long day because the water is so scarce up on these Pennsylvania ridges. There was a 16 mile section without water.  

Yesterday we hit Wind Gap, PA first thing in the morning to grab boxes from the Post Office and breakfast at McDonalds. Then we hiked 14 miles to make it to Delaware Water Gap to spend the night at the free church hostel.  

Had lobster ravioli and wine last night for dinner at a local bar/grill. I tented out back of the church.  

Proud of the miles I’ve done in the past few days and happy that I’ve kept this town visit much cheaper with the free hostel accommodations.  

I am ready to get out of this state though. The rocks in Pennsylvania have a reputation and its true to the very last rumor. The past few days have torn up my feet. Small pointy rocks, giant boulders, whatever the manifestation of these rocks, the trail is covered. You can’t take a step without thinking about it and that slows any hiker down. Also, at the end of the day my feet are incredibly sore. 

I continue to feel motivated!  Hiking out of this town puts me in New Jersey. New state, the end of the rocks. Pushing on!

Trail Funk

Harpers Ferry, W. VA - Duncannon, PA. [Mile 1,024 - 1,149]

Harpers Ferry, W. VA - Duncannon, PA. [Mile 1,024 - 1,149]