Rock Me All Day Long, Pennsylvania

I have hiked little rocks, big rocks, wet rocks, rocks you had to climb on all fours, and knife-edge rocks in Pennsylvania, and now there is another day of rocks in New Jersey. It isn’t will you fall but when and how many times. So far it’s six for me with lots of minor dings but everything still works.

I had the scariest fall of my life coming off Wolf Rocks. It was straight down on boulders where you had to climb down facing the rocks in places. Somehow while facing downhill I lost my balance and lunged forward into the rocks. I ended up wedged between two rocks and it took awhile to get out and then find my hiking poles. First thing I do when I hit the ground is lay there a moment making sure nothing is broken, then work my way up with my backpack fighting me in the process. The thing about my falls is I would not have fallen five of those six times but the back packkind of takes you for a ride once it gets going a certain way. When you hit the ground a millisecond later the pack hits your back, pushing your face into said rocks. Am I having fun? Hell, yeah, I am but the falls have made me go slower in certain places.


Miles or Smiles


When I started I said that because I just had five months to finish the trail that I didn’t care. I just wanted to have fun. I said I would stay an extra day in a cool trail town or take that side trail to a view. Something has happened to me that only thru-hikers know about. The miles have become the smiles. I just want to do as many miles a day that I can. When we got to Bert’s bunkhouse in Palmerton everyone took a zero (day off) because it was going to rain all day and it was cold. I could not spend the day watching old movies when I could be walking. I was the only one to walk out into the cold, wet rain. And when I was wet, cold, and just taken a hard fall a guy runs by me in the wet rocks wearing shorts and a running shirt! I had to laugh at myself. I ended up having fun conquering the elements.


The Trail Provides


I stop and take a quick break, then pick up my poles and go. Twenty feet later I see Wally headed toward me saying, WTF, am I going the wrong way? Turns out I was! I stop in the fog and look around the rocks looking for the direction to go when I hear a voice say over here. It was Gandolf, sitting down on trail I was about to pass smoking a pipe  Now if those two guys hadn’t been where they were I would have lost time  Another time I am hiking late and worried about how much farther I have to go when I hear voices in the foggy woods  It was two women picking mushrooms and then I know I have to be close  Everything on the trail, good or bad, has been good for me. Yes, even the falls.


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