Slack packing 72 miles in PA

Slack packing PA (Oct 19-23)

Meeting Mom

None of us in the hostel in Delaware Water Gap slept well that evening and I awoke to a headache and feeling as though I couldn’t move. I got my things together and started making my way up Mount Minsi very slowly. After finally reaching the ridge the hiking became more pleasant. I met my mom around two and traded in for a slack pack (book bag size) and bright orange garb due to hunting. She walked the first mile with me and had a good view before heading back to the car. I continued on through the increasingly rocky terrain and hiked the last bit of the trail into Wind Gap where my mother hiked up a bit to meet me in the dark and then we drove on to eat burgers and crash at a hotel with hot showers.

14721468_10157637269415300_3549726304364482386_nAn example of the “rocks”

Slacking on the Ridge

We headed to Wind Gap early the next morning and I began slack packing up to the ridge. The sky was threatening to rain all morning but slowly cleared. The leaves on the trees above me were all different colors and the trail was rocky for the most part but upon a ridge was flat and I felt slightly on top of the world. Towards lunch it became gentle and then I met my mother at the first road crossing. She was heating warm soup and I had company for thirty minutes before I returned to my hike. There were two professional photographers from Chicago packing up in the parking lot, but they were playing fine guitar tunes as we ate (my mom swears she asked them to wait for me so I could hear them jam). We also left a jug of water at this road (and more road crossings as trail magic since it was a dry stretch). The rest of the walk went by very smoothly until I encountered some super rocky stuff at the end. We ended up picking up a french section hiker and dropping him off at the end of the “Super-fund” stretch and then heading to another hotel. We microwaved some lasagna and I discovered there was a brewery one minute away: where we proceeded to drink delicious beer and eat amazing chili fries.

Superfund!14680781_10157637269620300_4539293549972098563_nFlat trail on top of the ridge looking over a land of dead factories.

14657313_10157637271025300_4775310793997794828_n-2Looking down to the Lehigh River


The next morning I was dropped off at the approach to the Superfund site near Palmertown. The trail followed an old road bed for the first few miles near the top of the ridge giving me almost constant views of Palmertown and the old mining factory below. The rocks started to intensify on the descent to the river below.14716280_10157637270565300_624006531630938061_nStarting descent down, over the river, and back up the next ridge of rocks.

There was a very steep rock scramble but soon I was at the bottom walking over the Lehigh River bridge to meet my mother on the other side. She found a superb salad and sandwich to split with me before I headed back to the trail. I also grabbed a few items for the night to fit in my daypack. The climb up from the gap was challenging. There were not many leaves and it was surprisingly hot. It was also a very steep and rocky ascent. Once on top I cruised for some time before it got rocky again and I slowed down a lot. When I arrived at the shelter to meet my mother for the night she wasn’t there. She was carrying sleeping bags, tent, food, beer etc from a road one mile south from the shelter. She appeared eventually, but she’d run into a quarter mile rocky scramble and inched along she said. There was an older gentleman at the shelter so we shared some beer and giant sandwiches she’d packed. We tried lighting a fire but it only lasted a minute before it started to drizzle. We were cold so we snuggled in our sleeping bags early and listened to the rain outside. Another guy showed up pretty late making it a full house. It was also my moms first time in a shelter!

14705823_10157637272445300_5754280426580721683_nMore of the rocks to navigate.

Chilly Miles

It was super windy and cold the next morning. Everything was slippery from the rain as we stumbled up over knob (a super rocky section requiring some scrambling). We got to the car where we turned the heat on and sat for awhile before I bravely went outside again to walk. There was some pleasant road walking and then a very slippery rock scramble that went on for nearly a mile. I made good time and met my mother in good timing at our lunch destination. She had a subway sandwich for me in the car and we blasted the heat once again so I could thaw. I changed into pants and continued on to gps coordinates I had given her for the next road crossing. The walking was a lot easier than earlier for the most part with the exception of the normal amount of rocks and a steep downhill. When I got to the road I discovered our car but no mom. I learned she’d accidentally went up the wrong way up the trail to meet me. The phone/texting not available there. She luckily realized her mistake after walking solidly up hill for a 3/4mile. We laughed about it and then went out to dinner where I got some of the best meat loaf I’ve ever had to celebrate doing 17 miles in pretty terrible weather. We were staying at a cute B&B that night very close to the trail and soon headed to sleep.

14731383_10157637272235300_590330369151573109_nAnother stretch of rocks.


Port Clinton

We had a delicious breakfast the next morning and chatted with the owners of the B&B and then drove back to the trail. It was a lovely day out and my mom and I walked together for an hour on the easy trail before she headed back to do a few chores before meeting me for lunch for the last time. The trail continued to be friendly until I got to the Pinnacle which had a lovely view and seemed to be an extremely popular day hike destination. I passed many groups of people on my way down until I met my mother at a parking lot a little off trial. We shared a subway sandwich again and then created a slack pack bag for me to carry into Port Clinton where she would leave my Pack on her way home. Somehow we made two straps out of medical wrap on a plastic bag and I was ready to go! We said goodbye and then I hit the trail again. It was awkward adjusting to the new “bag” but I did just fine and in a few hours I was at the Port Clinton Hotel. I asked for my pack and the bartender said, “surprise” and handed me keys to a room upstairs (Thanks Mom)! I ate a lovely dinner of wings, bisque, and liver. I followed that with some yuengling ice cream, because I’d never tried it before. The bar was a lovely setting of friendly folks from around the area who I chatted with for a few hours. I don’t think I’ve ever experienced a more friendly bar! Then I headed up to my room where I reuntied with my pack and had one more night of a luxurious bed!

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Comments 2

  • Hans : Oct 31st

    Love your descriptions…horrible rocks, awesome Mom helping and keeping you company and of course…the friendly bar !

  • Therese : Nov 1st

    What a truly wonderful mom!!! Will she slack pack with me next year?


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