Day 111

Start: Leroy A Smith Shelter, camping
End: Delaware Water Gap/Pocono Inn
Miles: 20.2
Total Miles: 1289.3

Today we were supposed to do 13 miles to a campsite. But very early in the day, I start scheming to make it into town. I am itching to get PA behind us and have a good mile day.

For a change, Outfitter was the one hesitant. He was sure we didn’t have it in us. But we got to the shelter, only .3 miles from the site, before 3pm and in light rain.

(Oh, and we did one rock scramble- Wolf Rocks- that I actually enjoyed. Proof I haven’t been lying that I might not complain about rocks if they don’t slow me down.)

Like several other hikers we rest, snack, and track radar. Finally, we are ready to tackle the last 6.4 miles. It doesn’t even rain on us! Although once again I am beat during the final descent. And the mosquitoes show no mercy.

Delaware Water Gap is another small, trail town. This one we actually hike into the edge so no hitching required. There is a free church hostel, but we decide to splurge on a real hotel room. Outfitter really wants to do laundry and have some space to sprawl. It is not hard to convince me.

After showers, we head back out for a very nice meal at the Sycamore Grille. They have a “pub fare” menu with done reasonably priced food including an awesome crab cake sandwich.

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Outfitter was amazed both me and the frog stayed still for this

Day 110

Start: Palmerton, PA/Jailhouse hostel
End: Leroy A Smith Shelter, camping
Miles: 15.5
Total Miles: 1269.1

Today is the day I have been dreading. The climb out of Lehigh Gap.

This area (Palmerton included) is a Superfund site from zinc mining/smelting. Whole mountains (including today’s climb) are lifeless.

This is no rock scramble. It is all out rock climbing. We packed our trekking poles away and started looking for hand holds. At the very first big step up, I am stymied. I almost shed a tear- how am I going to finish this when I can’t even start? Outfitter keeps encouraging me to use a foothold that bends my leg too severe. After a few more breathes, I see the solution and climb up.

And climb. And climb. The fear I have is the steep ascent combined with no vegetation. If I fall, it’s a long way down. And I can see every foot of it.

I follow Outfitter blindly, not able to look around at much but my hands and feet. He takes me on three horribly shaky ledges straight up. Then he stops. And can’t move. And I hear a bit of panic in his voice.

Right then, we hear a bunch of guys below us.

“The blazes say the trail goes this way! But you’re doing awesome!”

Side note: on our zero in Pine Grove, we watched Nik Wellenda walk the wire over the Grand Canyon. I was appalled at it because THEY DRILLED HOLES IN THE GRAND CANYON. But we watched because we could. And Outfitter made mention how crazy it was that he thanked Jesus so much through it. I said I was sure there were experiences/instances that would make him do the same. He scoffed.

When we finally got down from our ledge and found the trail? He thanked Jesus.

And besides one situation where I have to lean on a ledge, hold tight, then swing my legs to a foothold, the rest of the rock climb is easier then the sheer ledges up Outfitter took me on.

(Was I mad at the detour? Hell no. This is a man I trust to get me over this mountain. He is amazing talking/helping me through tough terrain. He himself is scared of heights so I am thankful he keeps it together for me.)

Most of the gang from the hostel last night are up at the top, eating tons of blueberries. There are the four boys doing a film on their hike. We have been around them for a few days, but not really socialized. One of them offers us some of his picked berries.

We have another gift at the top. Some restoration is occurring on the ridge so the trail is rerouted. We get a few miles walking through a kind of shelf of meadow. It is hot, but easy. We are walking on dirt, not rock! And it’s filled with blackberries. Despite being in a contaminated site, we load up. Not only are they tasty, they help with hydration. Water sources are few today and far off trail. The berries stretch our resources.

Soon enough, we are back in rocks. But they don’t seem to bother me as much. We even see some cool wildlife- a turkey hen with three little chicks!

We hadn’t been sure how far we’d make it today. We had no idea how long the climb would take or how much it would take out of us. But the first shelter is a good spot if we can swing it.

We do. But barely. I really struggle on the last two miles, falling further and further behind. I come up on Outfitter waiting and smiling a goofy smile.

“What?”

“Nothing. I love you babe. You’re pretty damn tough.”

He really is rocking all sorts of awesome today.

Again, almost everyone is here. I’m surprised some of the stronger hikers didn’t push on. But it is fun to tent in a big group. We officially meet Dip’N’Sip, Newton, and Whistler before hitting our sleeping pads.

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BeeMan, WhyNot, and BLine at breakfast

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A little less than half way up

Day 109

Start: New Tripoli campsite
End: Palmerton, PA/Jailhouse hostel
Miles: 12.1
Total Miles: 1253.6

Usually I regret not pushing more miles the next morning. Not this one. Knife Edge and Bear Rocks were hard for me. No way I could have done them yesterday and double no way in the rain.

Everyone has bad times on the trail. I feel like I lost some hiking mojo when we zeroed in Pine Grove. Maybe it just coincided with hitting harder (for us) trail.

I know more hard times are ahead- the rocks don’t stop with the PA state line. NJ and NY are supposed to be difficult as well. I hope I can buck up by then.

Yesterday afternoon’s meal provided a little insight- I think I haven’t been eating enough. It’s a delicate balance since I’m still overweight on the trail (I’ve lost 30ish, but have almost that same amount still in reserve). I don’t want to use hiking as an excuse to gorge. It does not help that Outfitter almost always eats less than me. He drinks about 600 extra calories in the AM so it’s not a fair comparison but I can’t help it.

At any rate, I felt so much better after eating at the B&B. I don’t think it was entirely psychological. I think my body needed that fuel.

We are tired, but happier with today’s hike. We stop for a lot of blueberries. PePa catches up with us and he hadn’t been 100% sure what they were. With our assurances, we make a slow trio through some amazing patches.

At the road, we try and hitch together. I have a little fun with a wheelchair transport bus driver who is sympathetic but mimes she can’t pick us up. I start begging and holding my knees, hobbling as if I’m seriously injured. She laughs and gives me a peace sign as the light changes.

But PePa knows what to do. We wait for an open bed pickup heading the right direction. I yell, “Palmerton?” in his open passenger window and he tells us to hop in.

No matter where we made it yesterday, our goal today was the same- Palmerton is a great little trail town. Hikers can stay for free in the basement of a Borough office building. It’s called the Jail House hostel because it used to be the police station. (Although the basement was never a jail.)

The bunks would probably be considered cruel at a real jail. Built in springs on the frame with plywood (if you got there early) or cardboard (if you’re not so lucky) covering them. It’s not really that bad- lots of hostel bunks are set up with the idea that hikers will use their sleeping pads as a mattress. Probably more sanitary for us in the long run.

The shower feels a bit jailhouse too- an entire half-room tiled with shower nozzles on all three walls. It gets nice and hot and the pressure is enough to knock the dirt off with no scrubbing. Perfect hiker shower.

Last special bit of the hostel is they give us access to the boiler room. They even put a bunch of clothes hangers in there. We set up our wet stuff in there and then hit the laundromat.

Palmerton’s another small town with everything in easy walking distance. We put our laundry in, then walk one door over to Bert’s Steakhouse. It’s really more like a diner and we do damage to their menu. All their pie is homemade and the strawberry rhubarb is amazing.

While I’m not the most social of hikers (SHOCKER), I do like the camaraderie of a hostel. Before we did laundry, I asked if anyone needs stuff cleaned. BLine doesn’t, but gives me quarters he doesn’t want to carry. When we go to dry, PePa sticks his in with ours and we fold it and bring it back for him. Then, it is another hiker’s birthday and I trade her two dollars in quarters for a one dollar bill. Even though we aren’t particularly close to these people, we’re all in the same boat and look out for each other.

We do a good resupply at the Country Harvest market. I am psyched to buy new lunches (bagels!) and snacks. The market also gives a free orange or apple to thru-hikers.

When we get back, BeeMan arrives. He hadn’t been planning huge miles so its cool to see him. He informs us it’s raining so we wait a bit before going out again. But finally we risk it and hiker hobble to the Palmerton hotel where I get whiskey for the first time since Daleville. This might be what I needed more than food.

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Outfitter on the Knife Edge

Day 108

Start: Eckville Shelter, camping
End: New Tripoli campsite
Miles: 13.3
Total Miles: 1241.5

We tried to psych ourselves up today to do 16+ for trail magic, but after 5 hours we’d only made 7.5 miles. This is on pretty much flat ground. Except it’s not ground. It’s small rocks you try and walk around because stepping on them is like stepping on knives.

Back in Port Clinton I heard from Solomon and a new pair of shoes is on the way. Thank you Solomon! I had heard from other hikers of their great customer service and my experience reaffirms that reputation. Add to that the fact this is the first shoe I’ve worn in 15+ years without my prescription orthotics and I could sing their praises all day long.

All that said, I almost wish I had gone ahead and bought a pair then saved the replacement ones for later. My feet hurt so much. Once I get in a groove, I can kind of ignore it. If I could make OK time over the rocks it would be worth it. But I can’t so it’s not. Today for the first time since TN, I listened to my iPod. I needed motivation BAD.

Other frustrating factors included knowing that the trail magic was near a notoriously dirty shelter so we were unsure how far we’d have to continue on for a campsite. And the weather predicted rain by late afternoon, well before we could make the intended miles.

Top it all off, there two well-known rock /cliff scrambles between us and the magic. It looked like we needed a plan B.

Plan B was stopping at the Blue Mountain Summit B&B. He’s only open Thurs-Sun, so I don’t think he gets a lot of hype from other hikers. But he should. It’s all set up inviting hikers in, including a bench to store our packs and a boot brush so we don’t track mud inside. The inside is a great old dark wood inn/bar. He had Yuengling and Sam Adams on tap. And the food, while mostly standard bar fare, was excellent. I had a salad and the house dressing was phenomenal.

PePa came in while we were eating. He had the same idea we did. The New Tripoli campsite is only two miles or so up the trail.

We even did get some trail magic! A cooler with sodas was by the trail after we crossed the road. We grabbed one each to drink at camp.

The site had a great big campfire area, but we didn’t get to use it. We were able to get all set up and even had the rain fly flaps open for maybe fifteen minutes. The rain started light but continued all night. I really hoped the early stop to the day would mean I was rested and rejuvenated tomorrow.

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One nice view I enjoyed today

Day 107

Start: Port Clinton, PA/Hiker Pavilion
End: Eckvilke Shelter, camping
Miles: 14.8
Total Miles: 1228.2

Grr. We/I have had some tough days lately. And I finally sat down to write about it as best I could when I lost my first post ever on this trip so far!

We had a rough start this morning because we half-heartedly tried to get into Hamburg, PA. Outfitter wanted to check out boots at the outfitter. He has a new pair shoes waiting for him but would love to find a boot he’s comfortable with that would help on the rocks.

Long story short, we didn’t make it in. It was a small thing, but on top of some rudeness by a pseudo hiker (? I think, haven’t seen the guy before or after) at the Pavilion, it set a sour mood to the start of the day.

Hard rock hiking continued. The bright spot was seeing PePa (I think I’ve spelled that differently in the past but I’ve now heard him spell it this way) and Smalls.

We met Smalls waaaay back right after Neels Gap. She made it to Erwin then had to get off trail for financial reasons. She lives nearby and was out for an overnight with her brother.

The Eckvilke shelter is an enclosed shelter with a separate bath shed that includes a solar shower and flush toilet. We decided to tent because it was hot and buggy, but used the other facilities.

BLine and Why Not were there. Also Shrek and Mess. But when PePa, Smalls, and her brother arrived the party started. They packed in a ton a food, including lots of fruit- even a whole cantaloupe!

There was lots of discussion of signs posted on the trail today regarding trail magic at Baked Oven Knob. We set our sights and called it a night.

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Large house is caretaker’s. small shed in back is shelter

Day 106

Start: Hertline Campsite
End: Port Clinton, PA/Hiker Pavillion
Miles: 18.5
Total Miles: 1213.4

Today I have few notes. I felt like I didn’t sleep great and dragged ass all day.

One high note was meeting BLine and WhyNot, who told us about all the ripe blueberries around. Once we knew to take notice, we slowed down to partake.

In spite of that, and the rocks, we made good time and I agreed instead of stealth camping we could make the climb down to Port Clinton where hikers can stay at a park pavilion free.

The descent wasn’t half as bad as I expected. I haven’t worn knee braces for a few days now. Knock on wood that continues. I stopped originally not because I thought my knees were stronger but because with the heat and the sweat I worried about my skin underneath the braces. But I have been more diligent about doing some stretching in the evening. Hope it keeps helping.

We decided to tent across the street from the pavilion before we knew the forecast. (Bugs have just bern horrible-little black biting flies and mosquitoes. I can’t see sleeping exposed anytime soon.) It stormed pretty good during the night. But at least we had placed our packs under a picnic shelter so they didn’t get too wet.

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Just a small sample

Day 105

Start: Pine Grove, PA
End: Hertline Campsite
Miles: 7.6
Total Miles: 1194.9

Today was fun, but too much of the outside world. It seemed we had complication after complication. By the end I just wanted to hike

First, my phone charging cable gave up the ghost. I noticed it was wonky yesterday but never had one go so fast. No amount of duct tape and wiggling helped.

Then, Outfitter went to rent the car and we had forgotten about that little matter of insurance. I had to look up our policy # since we don’t keep proof on us. Then we had to give a large deposit because we’re not carrying comprehensive.

This meant we got to Yuengling late. All the parking nearby was metered so we threw one quarter in to go check out the place and find out the next tour time.

While I used the bathroom, Outfitter ran into the tour group and the guide offered we could add on. Great! Apollo’s father had driven down and picked up him, Handstand, Pacemaker, and RunnerUp for the tour from Port Clinton. Very cool to be tourists together.

After the tour, the plan was to meet up at a Hamburg, PA restaurant. But Outfitter and I had a detour. Two, in fact. Remember that quarter we fed the meter? It was only to zip in and out, not take the tour. We had a ticket. Only $7 if paid right away and we could pay in person. Unfortunately, a misspelling in the street name (Center vs Centre. Grr) meant we took a 10 minute drive nowhere.

We finally got to Westy’s and no one was finished eating so we were able to join them after all.

Then, Pacemaker and RunnerUp mentioned seeing BooBoo at their hotel. I went with high hopes of a triumphant sunglasses return. But he had checked out. (As I write this, we believe he’s two days ahead. I can’t give up now!)

We swung by Walmart for a charging cord and breakfast drink. Then, finally, back to Pine Grove. Here we lucked out because the rental place had someone available to drive with us back to the trail.

When we got there, the trail magic couple was there! They had wondered if they’d see us. Two hikers we hadn’t met before were there (Bogey and ???). They needed a resupply and we just knew the angels weren’t done for the day.

(Also forgot that at the hotel I got a call from the front desk about a missing watch. It was mine. It wasn’t clear to me until now that it got lost in her car and they came back to return it to me.)

Nothing too memorable about this hike. We stopped at the 501 Shelter (shelter off of PA 501 that was an artist’s studio) to see the place and meet the shelter cat.

We hit our destination- campsite with a picnic table! How decadent! We threw some left over beers in the creek to chill, made dinner, and had a small smokey fire so we could enjoy our drinks with only 5,309,395 bugs.

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Back: Apollo, RunnerUp, Outfitter. Front: Handstand, PaceMaker, Me

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501 Shelter cat. There is a caretaker living in a house nearby, but food/water is set up for hiker’s to care for their mouse hunter

Day 104

Start: Pine Grove, PA
End: Pine Grove, PA
Miles: 0
Total Miles: 1187.3

Most awesome thing staying in the hotel over the weekend? Breakfast is served an hour later on Sundays. But Outfitter was barely moving. Another sure sign the zero is needed.

After waffles, fruit, and yogurt we went next door to resupply at a dollar store. We’re able to find almost everything we need. We’re just missing instant breakfast drink for Outfitter. But we still have two packets left and the possibility to stop somewhere tomorrow when we have the vehicle.

Then before it got too hot we walked to the Pilot for laundry. Probably the most expensive load yet since we felt obligated to buy drinks in order to sit in the attached fast food area waiting. But at least I got to listen to some good country music over the speakers. I’m surprised how little I’ve listened to music out here. Outfitter and I hike in tandem much more than I thought we would.

After laundry, we basically lay in bed watching TV all day. Zeroing in a place like this seems depressing and a waste because there is nothing to do nearby. But in reality that’s perfect- we’re taking a break because we need a break.

I had a long conversation with Mom. She recently was the “minister” at the “marriage” of two good friends. It’s sad that in the state of MI those quotation marks are needed. Perhaps Monday’s rulings in the Supreme Court will change that. At any rate, I’m so proud to come from a family that has fought hard for equal rights for everyone.

Mom is also convinced Lady dog is much smarter than we believe. She thinks Lady’s penchant for eating grass and plants is a direct result of seeing Mom pull weeds and wants to “help”. (Oh yes, those quotation marks are very much needed). I don’t press the fact that Lady has always, every single walk, eaten grass. Everyone needs someone who believed on them, even Lady dog.

BTW, I am aware I keep switching tenses in my writing. It’s always been a weakness in my grammar. The fact that I am making more of an effort to keep up means sometimes I am writing about a current day’s events which adds to my tense confusion. I hope it isn’t bugging you half as much as it bugs me.

Day 103

Start: Campsite at 1177.3
End: PA 645, Pine Grove, PA
Miles: 10
Total Miles: 1187.3

If we needed any more excuse to zero in Pine Grove, we both slept until after 6am!

Not much to say about today’s hike. It was short and I thought pretty easy. One big up and a few big rocky areas. Evidently we walked through poison ivy central, but we didn’t really notice. Outfitter knows he is not sensitive to it and we might safely assume neither am I considering how much I’ve blundered in the wild (In WI, FL, and here on the trail).

We had two options of how to get to Pine Grove. We hit the first one, PA 645 and found trail angels setting up the works (sodas, snack cakes, fruit, even sub sandwiches). Like all pro angels, they even have seats. Even though we just ate lunch, we manage sodas and snacks.

They are a little confused by our plans. To them, the brewery tour doesn’t seem worth the trouble we are going through. But they respect that we must Hike Our Own Hike.

Another hiker comes from the shelter before our campsite. He confirms that most of our friends stayed there last night. So when the wife offers to drive us into town, the husband asks her to bring back some more subs.

Amazing.

I kind of wanted to hike the last two miles to 501, but Outfitter was done. It was also getting late to see about renting a car. So off we went.

Our angel showed us the rental place, then the area around the hotels. One reason we had decided to stay here was that the deals seemed better here then the next few towns. The Comfort Inn offers a special “hiker rate” and staying at a chain also means we can accrue hotel points to hopefully redeem free rooms down the way. Not quite as free spirited as many hiker decisions, but financially sound. Ok, not as financially sound as staying out on the trail dirty, tired and stinky. But we all have our limits and needs. Like brewery tours.

The Comfort Inn also has free hot breakfast and Wifi. It is missing the trifecta however- no guest laundry. And Pine Grove is stretched out with most services 3+ miles from us. Luckily right down the street is a big Pilot gas station that has one coin laundry set for truckers.

We figured out the car, picking up on Monday morning. I wish we could have swung getting it today and then have more options for chores and possibly do some trail magic ourselves. But it wasn’t meant to be.

At least with knowing we are staying through the weekend we can take our leisure with town chores. So for today we do only the essentials- we shower and buy beer.

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We pass another milestone- less than 1,000 miles left!

Day 102

Start: Campsite at 1158.9
End: Campsite at 1177.3
Miles: 18.4
Total Miles: 1177.3

Outfitter was up at our usual 5:15 this morning but I just couldn’t budge. Maybe having less water last night, therefore not having to pee urgently this morning, allowed me to sleep in.

I finally rolled out of the tent and started packing up. Another water-saving technique we used was to hike to the .3 water source before breakfast. I know this isn’t ever my favorite idea but it worked for today.

We got started and MAN. That .3 lasted forever! WTF. When we get there, I look at the map again. It was 1.3 miles. Remember folks, I’m a trained physicist. Don’t try this complicated math on your own at home.

We saw Slim hike by as we breakfast. Besides a ridge runner and two southbounders, we don’t see any other hikers. It’s strange after days of leap frogging dozens. But we’ve put ourselves at weird miles with our camping. (Today is officially Hike Naked Day. So maybe I’m happy for solitude. And no, we did not participate.)

BTW, the campsite destinations are known acceptable sites in this area. Yesterday we entered PA game land and there are restrictions on camping. Although we could try and follow them and stealth camp elsewhere, it makes since to use sites already available and carved out of the small non-rocky niches along the trail. Because we’re on game land, our animal sightings go way down. We hear songbirds and see chipmunks. That’s it. Not even squirrel so I assume they too are hunted in this area.

We see the ridge runner early in the day and he warns of rattlesnakes. This is about our six billionth warning here in PA and I take them all seriously. I have only ever seen Pygmy rattlers from far away or the timber rattler which killed our dog. Venomous snakes (lots of copperheads out here too) are my number one fear on the trail. I’m happy Outfitter is leading now since he’s more aware and has experience with rattlesnakes.

We have a climb first thing, but it’s not that bad. We stopped for lunch at a huge campsite that has become a Cicada funeral home. Both molted husks and dead Cicadas litter the ground.

As we continue on, I have an issue to contemplate. I need to poop. Unlike Outfitter, I’m fine marching off into the woods with a sharp stick (to dig a hole) and some TP. But here in rocky PA, I’m concerned I won’t be able to dig a hole. I also don’t want to march off anywhere in this rattlesnake infested state. I especially don’t want to explain to anyone I got off trail due to a snake bite on my ass.

The next shelter is .3 miles off on a side trail. At first this doesn’t seem so bad. I’ll leave Outfitter with the packs and fly down to the privy. But as we get closer, I think of how disappointed I’ll be if I make a .6 side trip and the privy is nasty. Also, we’re hurting and moving slow but still making good miles. I don’t want to waste the energy.

At our next breakpoint, I head off slowly to find a log. I always sit on a log to do my business. So comfortable. I manage to find one where I can dig a little hole and, more importantly, it’s right in the middle of a bush so even if my hole isn’t big enough it’s unlikely someone will come walking through.

Some people carry small lightweight, even folding, spades. And I’ve decided I will get one for shorter hiking trips. Here though, I use the point of a trekking pole to make my hole. I then use sticks to cover things up when I’m done.

The whole reason I’m sharing all this is to tell you of something I really like carrying to keep things sanitary. After I do my business, I do a pass with some TP which I will bury in the hole. But then I get out an individually wrapped feminine sanitary wipe. With these, I can open the pouch carefully, fully open the wipe, then use some creative origami to get several clean swipes and end with a little ball I scrunch back in the pouch. Wipes are not biodegradable so they should be packed out. Lots of people buy baby wipes in the re-closable packets which saves a little weight/trash/money, but it means having the used wipe loose in a trash bag. (Or they just bury them…but I really, really hope not.)

Having the wipes individually wrapped has other benefits. The wipes don’t dry out like a re-closable packet can. And it makes them much easier to offer one to another hiker.

Here ends my sales pitch for individually wrapped feminine wipes. (This was not a sponsored post, although if Playtex or Summer’s Eve want to throw some freebies my way I’ll be glad to make it one.)

We continue on, taking a much longer break at the last creek before a 500 foot climb and a 700 foot descent. I have been dreading this all day but it ends up not that big a deal.

Except my feet hurt. A lot. It’s hard to say why. The rocks in PA definitely contribute. But I think back and realize it also escalated after I started trying to keep up with Outfitter. I slow waaaay down on the down and it feels good.

We plan to dry camp again so we hit one last river for water. There is only a 200 foot climb left but it nearly does Outfitter in. We’re very close to a town (Lickdale) but he doesn’t ask to go in and I forget to say something before we get set up. It’s just as well. He’s so tired he asks me to cook. Since “cooking” involves pouring water in a pot and flicking a lighter, you know he was whooped.

He was also mentally stretched. Ever since he heard about the brewery tour, he’s wanted to go. And he got the idea in his head we needed to do it Monday. But the brewery is fifteen miles away from the nearest trail town (Hamburg) and getting to Hamburg by Monday means two L-O-N-G days. Top it off, we have to go to Pine Grove tomorrow. At least just an in-n-out for resupply; we’re out of lunches.

I share all of that because it drove me crazy. This is not an easy detour like the Luray caverns right down the block. And we have planned miles/days/food/even clothing for a stop in Pine Grove.

But soon I realize two things. 1) This is Outfitter’s detour. All I have to do is say yes and let him figure out the rest. 2) I should say yes. This is a rule we try to live by in our marriage, and definitely on the trail. Whether its an extra hotel stay, a more expensive restaurant, less miles, more miles, more rest stops, new gear, a back rub, a break from chores…whatever we can allow/do for the other to have a more fun and comfortable hike.

So with my go ahead, Outfitter starts trying to figure out the logistics. He finally decides we will spend the night in Pine Grove and then if he can rent a car, we will also zero on Sunday then drive to the brewery from Pine Grove on Monday (no tours Sunday).

(We will also then return the car and hike Monday. As I’m writing this on Sunday, I have no idea how this has turned out.)

We have been talking about zeroing to rest our feet. I’m a little scared we’re doing it too early, that the rocks will get worse and we’ll need a break further on.

But I guess if that happens, it will be Outfitter’s turn to say yes.

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Stone from Cemetery in the middle of nowhere

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This little sign was far from any entrance or side trail. Made me smile.