Day 36, 276 miles: Worthington State Forest, NJ

Pennsylvania really didn’t want me to leave, it wanted me dead. But here I am, in New Jersey, mostly alive and practically in one piece. I’ve traded dry springs for waterfalls, rattlesnakes for cuddly bears, and relentless rocks for manageable minerals. NJ will be great and nothing bad will happen!

Picture of me at the Delaware River sign.
Bye PA
Picture taken crossing the Delaware River.
Hello NJ

So the last week of PA I got hit with a cold. I’m just starting to get over it now, but it’s been pretty detrimental to hiking and, you know, breathing. Thankfully now I have medicine to help get over it faster and easier. I probably gave the cold to GQ, so it might not be over so soon. Coincidentally, I got the cold from another Hiker, Shaggy. If you’re reading this bud, I’m not mad at you. Hey, at least it’s definitely not Lyme Disease after all.

With my illness, backpack, and a whole gallon of water in tow, we tackled the Lehigh Gap, one of the most difficult sections of the entire trail, on one of the hottest days of the entire year. We had to literally rock climb up a cliff as part of the trail. Technically it’s “bouldering” because it was never climbing for more than 10 feet at a time and we didn’t need special equipment, but we did that with packs on in 90 degree heat with no tree cover. What a day that was. One of our new companions, Bearfoot and I were showing signs of heat exhaustion a few hours after that climb, the whole day was exposed when the trail is usually shaded with trees. That being the case, we cut the day short and actually went into town to stay in AC for the night. But we still did the whole climb, Ridge walk, and descent and that felt good having accomplished that for the day.

Just after the last climb, I was almost hyperventilating and needed to sit for a few minutes.
After the Lehigh Gap, we were very close to being out of Pennsylvania, and we wanted to get out as soon as possible. In the final push to the Delaware Water Gap, PA threw everything it had at me. Rocks, snakes, bees, lack of water. I got stung by a bee on the leg, about 3 miles into a 16 mile day. I startled a few rattlesnakes. And if I remember correctly I was walking on nothing but rocks for maybe a 7 mile stretch of that day. Against all odds, we made it, and I am so glad to wrap up all the negative experiences and put them behind me, and to keep telling myself that evil can’t cross rivers.

Now for a big source of positive experiences, GQ and I made a new friend on the trail, he goes by Bearfoot and he’s from Massachusetts. I first met him at the Eckville Shelter, and I started hiking with him soon after. I think he’s going to stick with us for a while, possibly to Maine. He’s a NoBo so he’ll be done after that. I always wanted a trail fam.

Bearfoot on the Knife’s Edge

The night time cold medicine is starting to kick in, so that’s my cue, good night everyone.