Day 101 – The Pennsylvania Take A Rock, Leave A Rock, Trail Maintenance Program.

Or the PTARLARTMP for short. This program comes from my desire (frustration) and I feel like we should institute in an official trail maintenance program in the state of Pennsylvania. If Pennsylvania volunteers won’t do it, it’s upon us is thru-hikers. The details of the Pennsylvania Take A Rock, Leave A Rock, Trail Maintenance Program are as follows:

Step 1: Pick up one rock a day from the trail.

Step 2: Relocate the rock, one or two feet off the trail.

That’s it. Over the course of years, the trail should get nicer and more walkable. Or at the very least (as Rabbit says) the trail will just move two feet to the right.

I woke up early to pee around 5:30 a.m. and caught a pretty neat sunrise. I then went back to sleep for a few more hours. When I got up around 7:00, everyone was packing up to get ready for our 22-mile day (early bird getting the worm and all). The hiking looked like it would be fairly flat and we might be out of this state and onto new lands in a day or two.

We were #blessed by overcast and cool weather on our climb out of Palmerton, PA. And climb indeed it was. One of the steepest sections since Albert Mountain, and much of it was hand-over-hand rock scrambles. The rock scrambles have actually been fun. Leaping from large boulder to large boulder is far more enjoyable than avoiding oddly shaped rocks sticking out of trail as sharp triangular points.

There were minor and inconsequential drips of rain for an hour or so early in the day, but anything to keep the sun at bay was welcome. We came across some trail magic at the halfway mark as well as some strategically places water caches. Springs were in short supply on today’s stretch of trail. Numerous water jugs were placed at road crossings 7 and 14 miles in to our 22-mile day.

With our early start we got into our destination at Wind Gap around 6:00 p.m. There we found a treat. At the Gateway Motel we found more of our bubble that we lost nearly two weeks ago for the 4th of July. We ran into “Highlight”, “PFT”, and “Karen.” It was a glorious reunion and I was “knighted” as the new holder of “Hector the 8-ball.”

Hector is a prophetic 8-ball who changes hands with a new hiker every eight days in his trek north to Katahdin, ME. I was bestowed the honor of hosting him and he will be included on my blogs for the next eight days as well. We took him with us into town for McDonalds which he gave his approval for.

We also got a small resupply at a Giant grocery store before heading back to the motel to tent (for free!) out front on the lawn. I’m ecstatic to be back around this fun group of people and to be out of this state and onto NJ tomorrow!

Stow away in my pack for day 102 of the Appalachian Trail.

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Comments 6

  • CB : Jul 25th

    Man! The pics of the views are terrific! Rabbit’s comment about the trail being moved 2 feet to the right is very funny.

    • Derek Witteman : Jul 25th

      He’s got some epic one liners!

  • Smitty : Jul 25th

    I was gonna mention in the last blog how well structured and thought out your photos are. You capture steepness and the colors, somebody knows how to use all those filter buttons on their phone

    • Derek Witteman : Jul 25th

      Haha I want to post #nofilter but it’s a bold face lie. Thanks for following!

  • TaffyUK : Jul 25th

    Funny that, I would do two large rocks a day, one in the morning one in the afternoon, pick them up and throw them a few feet away, started doing tht in Georgia.

    While hiking I would flick many smaller rocks on the trail off with my hikeing poles.

    • Derek Witteman : Jul 25th

      It takes a village. I do the same thing with my trek poles and branches!


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