Mile 1,130! PA is finished!

Mile 1,130! PA is finished!

On Thursday, we conquered our eighth state and entered Maryland!

Oh and we hit the halfway point of the trail on Wednesday!!

Oh PA. We did not love you, but we tried not to hate you. I have to admit, the second half was better than the first half and helped redeem the state. I’ll go as far to say it was “somewhat” enjoyable. But, we are definitely glad to be done with you, PA!

Here’s the synopsis of PA.

229.6 miles

12 days

7 nights in a tent

4 nights under a roof (we even slept in an old jail in a town)

3 showers

5 dig-a-hole poop in the woods for Deal/0 for Steadee (by the way, just because I don’t dig holes, doesn’t mean I don’t go to the bathroom! I just choose to use the privies)

1 hitchhike

4 iPod days (I have been “reading” a book!)

6 silver AT markers

The rocks.

PA has rocks. Lots of them. It’s like someone back in the day blasted the whole state and voila, there are rocks everywhere. Then someone decided to put all the rocks ON the Appalachian Trail. Some rocks are big, some are small, but the bottom line is they are annoying.

The thing is, during the first 300+ miles of our trek, we hiked on rocks, roots, and other obstacles everyday. But, then the trail became evenly graded and friendly. And we got spoiled.

So to encounter rocks now is not fun. Our feet have new blisters and have been barking louder than usual.

The snakes.

PA has snakes. We saw 8 snakes. I wasn’t as fearful as I thought I would be, but they were mostly at a safe distance. Except this lil guy that lives in Bake Oven Knob Shelter (we did not sleep here, just ate lunch here).


3 copperheads

2 black snakes

3 garter snakes

10 deer

3 cats????

1 groundhog

I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream!

In PA, there is a tradition for thru hikers (gimmick). Since you hit the halfway point of the trail at Pine Grove Furnace State Park, they encourage you to eat a half gallon of ice cream in one sitting. Deal & I did it as a team … 55 minutes. As for Fire Marshall, he accepted and conquered the challenge. 48 minutes! The record, by the way, is 8 minutes. It seemed in the log book, most people were between 15 minutes and 3 hours. Fun fact … a half gallon of ice cream provides 3200 calories, just 1/4 of what we burned that day!

The shelters.

The trail in PA is maintained by 1700 different hiking clubs. And you can notice a huge difference. We saw some of the best- and worst-maintained shelters all in one state. It seems, the shelters in the first part of the state are surrounded by trash. And their privies were full to the brim. Gross, gross and more gross. We never actually stayed in a shelter in PA (and Deal has sworn off shelters altogether after seeing that snake in the one). There were a ton of primitive camping spots in the early section too. There were a few times we saw fire pits in the MIDDLE of the trail! I think this section just heavily used by locals who do not follow leave no trace principles and use the forest as their dumping grounds!

The weather.

The day we entered PA, it rained. The day we left PA, it rained. Pretty much everyday there was the threat of scattered tstorms. But, no, we did not feel the earthquake! I do believe we will feel the hurricane though!

Trail Magic.

Another disappointing thing about PA! Many NOBOs told us they got so much trail magic in PA. Well, either they lied or PA hates SOBOs! There was 1 empty cooler (trail tragic) and a small can of Pringles left in the mailbox at the halfway marker.

But, we did get all that mail magic back in Port Clinton and then got trail magic from our friends, Rachel/Charlotte and Chris/PA Dutch … They came to the trailhead (with cherry cokes) and took us out to lunch!!! It was so good to see them. We actually are going to see more friends in MD and WV this week!

Strange things we saw in the PA wilderness:

Abandoned book, chair & clothes (which forced us to look for a dead body!)

Life-sized cross in field (it was eerie)

Rusted car

Flashlight on tripod in middle of the trail (we thought it could be a booby trap … If you read this sign closely, it says “there is 1 booby trap in the above mileage.” hehe)

So that was PA. Sigh. Goodbye.

Maryland is only 40.9 miles, so it’ll be a quick state. Some hikers attempt to do it all in one day and Fire Marshall is going to try to join that club! Good luck buddy!

Location:Buchanan Trail E,Waynesboro,United States

6 responses to “Mile 1,130! PA is finished!”

  1. Katherine says:

    Be safe. Hope the weather doesn't interfere with you guys. The scrappers package was sent on Tuesday and was supposed to be there yesterday or today so it should be waiting. Wish we were able to come visit. Sooo glad you have so many good friends and family visiting and surprising you guys along the way.

  2. Misti says:

    YAY! Half way! I was telling Chris that I thought it was HILARIOUS when you told us that it seemed like time was going fast while we were hiking—because I thought it was slow. Now I feel what you felt—y'all are flying! 😉 Not really, I know, but dude, half way!

    Some more beautiful things are up ahead! I can't wait to see the Roan Highlands through your eyes!

    Stay safe with the hurricane!

    We did not stay at Bake Oven Knob either—stopped for a break and was glad we didn't!

  3. Anonymous says:

    I think I saw some rum cake! Congrats, half way done is a huge accomplishment! Can't wait to hear more. Keep on kicking butt!!! ~SILadventure

  4. Just wanted you both to know that you guys are freaking awesome!!! Happy belated bday Patrice! Keep up the good work : )

  5. Shayna says:

    Congrats on being halfway done! I can't believe how quick you guys are and how the time has flown. Who knew that PA would have so many rocks and snakes, almost like you were back in AZ!

  6. Sara says:

    HEY… so glad you clarified your bathroom habits, Patrice! I had hard time reading the sign in this post…. what is the small portion written? thanks for the phonecall the other day too…. it MADE my birthday! Stay safe with Irene coming!

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