Carey Kish is thru-hiking the 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine. He is currently in Pennsylvania. Entries from Carey’s trail journal are presented here. You can also follow his journey on Facebook.
July 5, 2015: Bake Oven Knob Shelter to campsite at Delps Trail intersection, 17.5 miles, 10:30am to 8:15pm.
Woke up around 3am to find a pesky porcupine chewing the crap out of the side of the shelter. What a racket the little SOB made. Took a good half hour to get rid of the persistent varmint and get back to sleep.
Slept till 8 and then relaxed with coffee and cocoa at the picnic table out front. Around 9, Walking Home blasts into camp, a big surprise. He pulls out two cans of Yuengling and we have a good laugh. Bryan sticks them in the spring to chill and we chew the fat. Soon enough we’re having beer for breakfast. What’s not to love about that?!
We blast off late over the rocky terrain, bucking up at GW Outerbridge Shelter for lunch. Three day hikers showed up all dressed the same in checked long sleeve shirts and zip-off trail pants. Said LL Bean had a limited selection for insect repellent clothing. I said my mom used to dress me and my bro alike on vacations as a kid. We had some good laughs.
Down we went to the Lehigh River, crossing it via PA248 bridge. Trundling across we could see the Superfund mountain as I call it, steep and rocky and offering a stiff 1000-foot climb in the hot afternoon sun. We thought about detouring into town for a beer, but decided against it. Good thing.
We attacked the climb, which got to be a bit of a hand over hand scramble the last quarter mile. Great views over the river valley made the effort worthwhile. The entire mountain is a Superfund site, and much of it is in active remediation.
Once the ridge line proper was gained–we’re still on Blue Mountain and have been for about a week now–we hiked along the west face of the mountain, looking down on Palmerton and the old zinc plant that caused all the environmental damage. Much of the mountain was denuded of vegetation, but is now coming back. It was certainly an ugly site on my 1977 hike.
Enjoyed lots of fat blackberries high on the mountain, as well as great views and even some breeze. Bonus: Found a good patch of blueberries in a power line cut before descending to Little Gap.
The climb out of the gap was rough and stayed that way for most of the 5 miles to camp. Exhausting going for the three of us, me, Walking Home, and Freebyrd, who caught us high on the mountain.
The spring at the campsite at the Delps a Trail intersection was dry, dashing our hopes of rehydrating after this long and hit day. Thanks to other hikers for the updated note at the trail intersection informing us of the spring’s status. It saved us a 0.8-mile round-trip that would’ve been for nothing.
We pitched camp in the marginal campsite, then sat around eating dinner until well after dark. Good guys these are, I really enjoy their company.