On Thursday, we conquered our eighth state and entered Maryland!
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.
7 nights in a tent
4 nights under a roof (we even slept in an old jail in a town)
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)
4 iPod days (I have been “reading” a book!)
6 silver AT markers
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.
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).
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 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 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!
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!