AT 10: Rocksylvania Isn’t So Rocky After All
Don’t forget to check the end of this update for spectacular photos and another compilation video!
What can I say. The entire time I have been on the Appalachian Trail, a little over 8 months at this point in time, I have feared the moment I would enter Pennsylvania. The stories I read and tales I heard all pointed to one “truth.” That Pennsylvania was a rocky nightmare. Especially, the area between Delaware Water Gap and Port Clinton. An ankle breaking, slow going, foot aching nightmare. A trail littered with big rocks and little ones alike. The smaller ones being pointy little demon rocks.
Well, it turns out that Rocksylvania wasn’t so bad after all. It’s flat… in terms of the Appalachian Trail. Sometimes we would travel upwards of 10-15 miles without more than a 100 maybe 200 foot climb. That’s pretty darn flat for the Appalachian trail! Not to mention the sections of big rocks typically lasted less than half a mile. Sure the smaller rocks were annoying, but come on people. Have you seen Maine and New Hampshire? What we found in PA seems like a joke compared to those two states. If you think Pennsylvania is bad you’re going to have a rough time in New England.
In fact, I will go as far as to say that Pennsylvania has been the easiest part of the entire trail. We averaged roughly 8-12 miles per hiking day in GA, NC, TN, Southern VA, ME and NH… 11-13 miles per hiking day through VT, MA, CT, NY, and NJ. We walked into the heart of “Rocksylvania” and boom! We hit our first 20 mile day. We averaged 15-20 miles a day everyday until we hit southern PA.
If you thought I was done with Pennsylvania you were mistaken. The second most common statement we heard about PA is that Southern PA is flat farmland. Let me correct this “myth.” This flat farmland that we were told about was only 14 miles. It lasted 6 hours and it was over. .. the other 80-100 miles have been somewhat hilly. In the end, Southern PA has been nice as well. We averaged 17-22 miles a day on the southern half. For people who couldn’t break 11-13 miles a day for a long time we are stoked.
If the mileage doesn’t make since remember they are “per hiking day.” We have 66 zero days or days we did not hike. So yeah… we’ve been out here a while
So, let’s recap!
Myth #1: Northen PA is a rocky nightmare
% Truth: 50% – it is in fact not a nightmare and very manageable. It’s more of an annoyance than anything.
Myth #2: Southern PA is flat farmland
% Truth: 14% – 14 miles out of roughly 100 does not constitute “all”
I think I made my point… Northern Pennsylvania isn’t as bad as it’s made out to be. So, go out and conquer Pennsylvania… for it is but a stepping stone.
205.3 miles remain
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