Dear Readers, It is with much dismay that we must publicly chastise our fellow Appalachian Trail hikers. For over two months, we’ve been warned that we would hate Pennsylvania. The Rocky State. The State of Twisted Ankles and Wobbly Knees. The Viewless State. The State of Inhospitable Ill Repute. The Endless Nightmare.
You guys are lying liar-pants’.
Pennsylvania – is a rock-star, weaving her way through charming towns and over soothing vistas. The end of each day we were greeted with a sweet reward in towns or fields or woods. The days went quickly… we finished hiking through PA earlier this week. We miss her already. This is our love-letter-list to the mis-understood gem of the AT:
Delaware Water Gap – Our first day in PA we were greeted by a church that offers a free hostel and shower right in downtown.
Wind Gap’s Beer Stein bar – The first town in awhile where they understood and watched out for our vegan dietary restrictions. They had plentiful grub. Charming Staff. And of course the beer and whiskey we needed to toast our victory of 900 miles. They let us camp in the back grassy field. And when we awoke the next morning, they opened their kitchen and fridge walk-in and let us cook whatever we wanted FOR FREE.
The cop hostel – We night-hiked past timber rattle snakes and tic-infested fields to arrive at the charming town of Palmerton where you can sleep in the basement of town hall and shower for free if you check in with the local police station. Which we did. and enjoyed immensely.
The salty inn-keeper at the B&B who gave us a huge discount and let us tent for free behind the bar
Hawk Mountain’s Mike – a friend-of-a-friend whom we’d never met, picked us up and generously hosted us for two nights in his charming and rustic country abode. Einstein the cat reigned supreme and we had our best zero days yet. Swimming in ponds, reading, cooking, showering, singing around the bonefire and best of all, meeting many of Mike’s local friends who were super lovely and smart and fun.
The 501 shelter – beautifully maintained by two AT hiker alumni. They had shelter kittens who snuggled up under Harpo’s neck and kept her warm on the 35 degree night.
1000 mile marker – a huge milestone for us which we achieved on Harpo’s dad’s birthday. A great day for everyone.
Easy terrain – despite some rocks – there were amazing days of flat terrain, breath-taking field walks, pleasant night-hiking, fire roads. We pulled our biggest miles ever out in PA – achieving several 25-mile days. And our first marathon day of over 27 miles.
Half-way point! -Another emotional day for us. So awesome.
Intentional night hiking into Boiling Springs. A fabulous day of mostly flat terrain where we were able to hike easily, sometime just by the light of the full harvest moon. We got into town at 9:30pm and the local bar was closing but sold us a six-pack. We could legally camp for free just outside of town by the railroad tracks which soothed us all into our best slumber in weeks. The next morning we checked in at the regional ATC office and loved visiting the cute café down the street for fancy coffee drinks. The town was beautiful and charming.
Pretty state and federal parks – often with grocery supplies and potable water and other amenities right on trail – so we were able to gain back some of our urban pot-bellies eating so many oreos and potato chips.
WEIRD BUGS DUDE! What is up with your totally weird collection of bugs? Groucho got some outstanding pictures.
The trail weaves right by or through many charming, historic towns in PA, including Duncannon, home of the notoriously run-down Doyle Hotel. $40 got us a room for 3, replete with cobwebs. The spot also has a bar/restaurant. The proprietors are DELIGHTFUL. And the PO in this town rocked. So nice.
PA WE LOVE YOU AND THE BEAUTIFUL, SALT-OF-THE-EARTH PEOPLE WHO INHABIT YOU. WE’LL BE BACK.
That is the saddleback catapillar and thank you for such a beautiful take on Pa.
Thanks for the info – we thought maybe that guy was supposed to be underwater. And honestly, our experience in PA was made so much better by people like you. So thanks…
What a refreshing take on a part of the trail I always read negative statements about! Very cool 🙂
Yeah, it was a little bit disappointing to hear the nobos disparaging the state. We had our fears going into in – rocks, snakes, hostile natives, etc. – but the people, terrain, and great weather made up for it. Just goes to show that a person’s perception of place is dependent on their mindstate and personal experience there, not the place itself…
Of course I’m biased, but this would make a great article for the AT magazine (seriously).
Thanks Sandy! If they were interested we’d totally be willing to adapt this into an article! Good idea.
Thank you for the info great to know 🙂