AT Days 71-73
Duncannon to Yellow Springs Campsite, 24.8 miles
I left the hostel by 7 AM and I continued following the trail through town for about a mile, before a long bridge walk across the Susquehanna River. From there, the AT climbs back up into the woods to the top of Peters Mountain. This climb actually had some switchbacks and was easier than previous climbs in this state.
The AT follows the ridgeline of Peters Mountain for the next 12 miles, not changing scenery throughout the entire way. Some parts were very rocky, but for the most part, it was relatively smooth terrain. This definitely wasn’t the most exciting day on trial, and for the first time in a while, I simply wasn’t enjoying hiking. It could’ve been a combination of the heat, and the lackluster monotonous scenery, but my motivation was low and I was hoping to arrive to camp as soon as possible. I’m never going to romanticize the trail when it shouldn’t be, and will be the first to admit when I’m not having a blast on trail. Not every day can be the best day of hiking on a thru-hike. Having these days is all part of the process.
The AT descends of Peters Mountain Ridge before climbing back up another ridge, where the scenery changes back into pine forests with mountain laurels surrounding the trail. This new change of scenery boosted my mood, but I still found myself constantly checking Guthook to see how far away I was from camp. The last two miles dragged on, and I finally arrived at Yellow Springs Campsites just at 5:00. I felt a lot better when I was able to lie down and eat a big meal, and sleep came very easily that night.
I noticed I was the only hiker who camped at Yellow Springs Campsites; I’ve definitely recognized a decrease in the number of thru-hikers I’ve seen around on trail. The other thru-hikers I’ve met recently agree with me as well that once we crossed into Pennsylvania the trail definitely seemed to thin out. I’m sure it’ll only continue to thin out more as I make my way north.
It was to be the second 90 degree day in a row, but today with much more humidity. I walked about 6 flat miles through Pines and Mountain Laurels until I arrived at a swamped-out beaver dam crossing. There I met Aquaman, who was methodically making his way across the logs on the swampy water. I retraced his footsteps and thankfully didn’t slip in. We introduced ourselves and continued to chat down the trail. I decided I didn’t mind hiking the day’s mileage with Aquaman. He had lots of interesting stories to tell, and I felt as if I was listening to a podcast.
After a steep climb, the remainder of the day was spent in the shaded canopy on the ridge; mostly flat and smooth trail but with the occasional boulder field to cross. The miles weren’t exciting miles by any means but chatting with Aquaman made the miles tick by. We reached the 501 shelter road access, where Aquaman was headed for the night. It was still early and I wanted to get as close to Port Clinton as possible, so we said our farewells as I pushed on down the trail three more miles to a stealth site near a viewpoint. One thing I’ve been loving about PA is the abundance of large, open tent spaces right off trail, most of which are very nice.
I was awake early and hiking by 6:30, headed towards my next resupply point of Port Clinton, 20 miles down trail. The entire day I remained on the same ridge that I climbed up to the previous day, under the shade of the thick green canopy all of the hike. It was another day of flat terrain, and definitely not the most exciting or scenic miles. The most interesting thing that happened during my hike was coming upon a huge rattlesnake hanging out in the middle of the trail. He kindly moved and let me pass, and we both headed our separate ways.
On my lunch break 15 miles in, I met another thru-hiker my age I haven’t seen before named Jackrabbit. We chatted for a bit and agreed to meet back up at the Port Clinton Pavilion, where we were both planning on staying the night. Right after my lunch break, the number of rocks on trail increased significantly; the last four miles my feet barely touched dirt and were constantly maneuvering my way through the rocks. Large, small, pointy, round, flat, you name it; the trail was littered with every shape and size of rocks. It felt like I was now in Rocksylvania; a name thru-hikers have given Pennsylvania due to its very rocky terrain, especially the northern half.
As I was making my way through the rocks I heard thunder in the distance, and it was only coming closer to me by the minute. Just as I began my descent down into town, the rain started to fall, increasing intensity every second. The descent into town was very steep and slow going; sketchy enough to do without the torrential rainfall.
Just as I arrived to town the rain stopped and I made my way to the Pavilion, which is owned by the church in town and allows hikers to stay there for night. The Pavilion is huge and is a good spot to post up for the night. I meet up with Jackrabbit there and we got shuttled into the nearby town of Hamburg to resupply and get some dinner. 4 other hikers were camping at the Pavilion, all new hikers I’ve never met before. We all chatted and swapped stories before calling it a night.
This website contains affiliate links, which means The Trek may receive a percentage of any product or service you purchase using the links in the articles or advertisements. The buyer pays the same price as they would otherwise, and your purchase helps to support The Trek's ongoing goal to serve you quality backpacking advice and information. Thanks for your support!
To learn more, please visit the About This Site page.