Weeks 13 & 14: Goodbye South, Goodbye Rocksylvania

Tomorrow I’ll reach Delaware Water Gap and say a fond farewell to the state of Pennsylvania, and by fond I mean I am very happy to say goodbye to Pennsylvania. Hiking north, you’re often warned of the rocks awaiting you in the great state of Pennsylvania. But you say, “Yeah, sure…” (or at least I did) and continue with whatever struggle your currently facing because those rocks are not currently the problem. However as you enter Rocksylvania, Northern Pennsylvania tricks you into believing that those former hikers are overexaggerating. It’s not really that rocky. Sure there are rocks, but it’s not the shoe eating, feet eating rocks that you’ve been warned. You’re lulled by the belief that this state won’t be as bad as warned and that works for awhile, but the rocks increase until you find yourself cursing the ground (or rocks) you walk on and remembering fondly the mountains of the south because while rocky, PA is flat.

Small rocks

Bigger rocks

Even bigger rocks

Biggest rocks. Have I mentioned large rocks scare me?

My feet thanks to the PA rocks (because you obviously need the visual)

I was warned that after Harper’s Ferry, hikers get down to business and life gets faster out here. In a way this is true, as I mentioned PA is flat and for most of the state easy going. You go faster because you can do big miles. In the time since my last post (Harper’s Ferry), I entered and left Maryland, crossed the Mason Dixon line, will have hiked PA (230 miles) in 13 days, crossed the halfway point, crossed the point where I have less than 1,000 miles left, visited the Yuengling Brewery in celebration and hiked my biggest day of 37 miles.

Thought I might hike this sign to Maine with me I was so enamored, but thought, “Nah, better not.”

The real halfway point

The much more cool halfway sign not at the halfway point

Celebrating our wondrous feats with Yuengling (pictured: Jingle, Princess Peach, me, & Mountain Goat)

I am by no means a slow hiker. I have friends that started with me that are a week or so behind and I’m hoping to wrap my journey up by the end of August. That being said, I fall into the “smiles not miles” category of thru hikers. Recently the April-ites (my title for hikers that started in April and are logging big miles) have caught up (and more often than not passed). There’s a pressure to hike more, but it’s made me think about what I want out of this journey. For me, it’s the experiences, the random town I got a ride into, chilling at trail magic, taking an afternoon to spend by a beautiful stream, rather than the miles. These are the things I want to take away from my hike. Sure you need to hike the miles to be able to get somewhere, but I want to remember the experiences and the people, not just brag about how I finished the trail in four months. I’m biased, but I feel like you miss something vital with that philosophy. I was told in a recent epic trail magic, “There’s no point in hiking through shit, to say you hiked through shit.” It’s stuck. There’s no point in saying you hiked big miles, just to say you’ve hiked big miles if you skip out on everything else that makes the trail great.

With that being said, I hiked a difficult (I’m tired) 5 miles to Wind Gap, PA. Several months ago my mother met Linda when she came into my parent’s antique store and offered to host me when I came through town. Skip forward several months, Linda offered not only to host me, but several of my friends as well. Cold cuts, brownies, ice cold Cokes and beer. We’re living the hiker dream. Thanks Linda!

Great P making the most of chilling at Linda's

Great P making the most of chilling at Linda’s

Well-fed and clean, I’m ready to ditch this state of Pennsylvania! One more day!

As always I’d like to send a huge thank you to my supporters, Phil and Steve (two section hikers I hiked with out of the Smokies into Hot Springs) who mailed me the dream care package of electrolytes, beer, dried fruit, and cookies.

Thanks for providing my first beer of the summer! (I may have made Jingle take like 20 pics to record this moment)

Thanks for providing my first beer of the summer! (I may have made Jingle take like 20 pics to record this moment)

(As a side note, if you leave cookies in your tent and head into town a mouse might chew a fist-sized hole in your tent to get to said cookies. Oops!) And Debi Mercer, who mailed a package I missed (double oops!)

Love can be mailed to:

Molly Bybee; General Delivery; Fort Montgomery, NY 10922; Please Hold for AT hiker; ETA 07/03


Molly Bybee; 154 E Rocks Rd; Norwalk, CT 06851; ETA 07/06

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Comments 4

  • Momma B : Jun 26th

    Linda, Linda, Linda!! Queen of off-the-trail Magic (including Gheradelli brownies), a million thanks to Linda for caring for my hiker girl and her friends!
    Also, I’m excited you’re anticipating an August completion date with the possibility of being home for my birthday!

    • Linda Kohl : Jul 1st

      Molly and friends were delightful houseguests. So much fun to hear of their experiences on the AT and see their enthusiasm for what’s ahead of them! Charlie and I have new insights and respect for the hikers.
      Looking forward to following Molly on her blog as she finishes her adventure. Linda and Charlie

  • Robert Barnes : Jun 27th

    Been following your post up the trail. I like being with you without the pain, bruses. Lol
    Keep up the good work

  • Gary Braxton : Jul 31st

    I talked to other hikers on this trip who saw several snakes among the rocks of PA, and I was always watchful, but never saw one myself. The fall colors were becoming quite spectacular. Locals said it wasn t a good year for the colors due to the lack of rain in previous weeks, but I was in awe every day. I loved hiking in the fall and this was one aspect of a southbound hike that I had been looking forward to before I started.


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