Days 3 and 4: 10 miles and out for a day

The day started well.  Once again it was a cold morning but my puffy jacket and rain jacket kept me from being too cold.   I had my standard oatmeal and coffee breakfast, packed up and was on the trail at 7:50.

I started about 5 miles from the Lehigh river gap, so the first half of the day was spent approaching and crossing the gap.  The trail approaching (north of)  the gap has been greatly improved in the last few years.  It now goes along the south side of the summit with great views to the south.

The southbound descent to the Lehigh River is one of the most challenging segments of the entire trail.  The picture below is the steepest part which was after I traversed a challenging rock slide in the rain.  The picture below, looking back upslope, doesn’t convey how challenging this stretch was in the rain.

After the gap I filled my water bottles at a spring near the George Outerbridge shelter and filtered 2 liters at the shelter as well as lunching on trail mix and beef jerky.

After the Outerbridge shelter the trail has been recently rerouted to follow the very exposed north side of the summit for 2 miles. This part of the hike was spectacular, looking down at towns along the Lehigh river, and very very windy.  This was one of the few times where wind has made me stumble sideways.

After meeting all these challenges, while walking on one of the easiest parts of the trail, I caught a toe on a small rock and stumbled into a faceplant on some small sharp rocks.  I partially got my hands out but my head still bounced off the ground.  The result was blood everywhere.  I used direct pressure from my pack cloth to staunch the flow over the next few minutes.  I had blood running down my arms, running down my face a splashing on my clothes.  My pack cloth was saturated.  I estimate that I lost between a quarter and a half cup.  I used about a liter of water cleaning up as best as I could.  I spent about a half hour  fully stopping the flow and putting a dressing with neosporin on my forehead.

About a quarter mile further on I was able to fully rinse my pack cloth in a stream running down the middle of the trail.  I initially planned to tough it out and make it to the Bake Oven Knob shelter 2.5 miles ahead.  However after letting my mind run away about concussion possibilities I opted to call my wife and have her make the 90 minute drive to pick me up on a dirt road I had passed after my injury.  After hiking over ten miles, I was off the trail for a day.  I got home, showered, ate, dressed my wounds, washed my clothes, and rested well in my own bed.  After a good nights sleep with no pain, I’m feeling much better and ready to continue.  I’ll be back on the trail tomorrow morning for day 5.

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Comments 7

  • Linda : Apr 7th

    Yikes! Good recovery though. Certainly warranted a day off-trail.

    All the best
    Linda in Upstate NY

  • Wanda Hale : Apr 8th

    That’s the danger hiking alone, no one to help you but lucky for you that you were close enough to call your wife for assistance. Happy, safe hiking. Enjoying your blogs.

  • Marls : Apr 8th

    Wow, I’m glad you are okay. Just a reminder that anything can happen anytime any day to anyone… and it will, no matter how cautious or experienced or fit we are and especially if we’re top-heavy with packs. The only thing we can do is be prepared, and have a plan. I’m glad you had someone to call. Take good care.

  • Tyler k : Apr 8th

    Dang! Those sharp rocks got you good!
    Good thing your okay.
    That’s a knarly gash on your nose!

  • Scott : Apr 8th

    Griff! Ouch! Glad you took the day to rest. I’m rooting for you.

  • Nat : Apr 9th

    That’s a scary injury, especially while hiking solo! Hope you have been able to make your way southward with no further incidents!

  • Sharon : Apr 12th

    Sounds like you and Kim make a great team. Let us know if you need our help when you’re hiking in PA. Please take care of yourself, Mark.


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