goodbye, Pennsylvania: days 74-75

Day 74: George W. Outerbridge Shelter to mile 1280.1, 23.3 miles
Day 75: mile 1280.1 to 1303.4, 23.3 miles

Waking-up at George W. Outerbridge I felt optimistic about the day; a forecast of sun tends to have that effect on me! We had a quick climb down to the valley, and then a steep rock scramble up to the ridge. A rock scramble is when you are hiking up rocks, and occasionally may need to use your hands to help pull you up over the particularly large ones. I really like climbs like these! Once atop, we walked an easy six miles on the grassy ridge, enjoying the break from the what have become typical rocks underfoot. 

Pennsylvania is known for its rocky terrain, and soon enough the little ones were under our feet again impeding our progress a bit. We stopped for lunch on a large smooth rock, and continued on down the trail towards water. This section of trail is uncharacteristically dry, and we still had six miles to go to get to our first water source since leaving the shelter. Normally water is at least every five miles, but today it was more like 16. We took a snack break at the water source, and ran into our friends Frodo & Nopol whom we hadn’t seen for a couple weeks. We caught-up, then started back on the trail. The rocks at the end of the day made things seem particularly slow, and when we got to the road we contemplated hitching the two miles into Windy Gap for dinner. While we were thinking about it, the ridge runner (a person paid to patrol the trail, educating hikers on leave no trace ethics, and to do some trail work) for the area offered us a ride in. Soon we were at a local bar having a beer and ordering food. It was a good break, and we got another quick ride out of town. Back at the trail we realized we’d made it in and out of town in an hour! We hiked a few more miles, and set-up camp in a small clearing on the side of the trail. Along the way we passed this sign, Katahdin in only 910 miles away! While that may seem far, it means we’ve hiked almost 1300 miles. The time has passed quickly, and soon we’ll be in New England (in about 200 miles!).

We broke camp down quickly the next morning, and hiked with purpose towards Delaware Water Gap. Along the way we rushed a bear out of the woods. He was fast; Garrett tried to take a picture, but all he managed to get was a black spot in the woods. We continued on bear free, and spotted the Delaware River down below. Delaware Water Gap is the last town in Pennsylvania heading north on the AT, and the Delaware River is the border between Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

The trail goes right through Delaware Water Gap, and we spent a three hours in town having lunch, getting some food for our hiked, and generally relaxing. Then we walked across the river, and just like that we said goodbye to Pennsylvania, and hello to New Jersey. 

FYI: Garrett is responsible for most of the photos on the blog! Here is his self-portrait.