July 12th 2018
Allentown hiking club shelter – tentsite (mile 1265.3)
24.2 miles

Total miles: 1284.3


After my little meltdown last night I slept well. It was a little chilly last night and when I unzipped my tent it was amazing how much heat it kept in as I felt the cooler air rush in. I packed up quickly and started hiking at 7am, before the others. I was feeling a little better but I still wasn’t feeling much like hanging around for conversation. 

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I went to the stream, no water for the next 16 miles so I carried 1.75litres and that would have to be ok for the day. I was pleasantly surprised with the first 10 miles of the trail today, which I did without stopping. It was much flatter and much less rocky than I was expecting. A lot of the time the trail follows an old forest road and it was easy walking. I think I did the first 6 miles at a 3 mile an hour pace. I put on an audiobook to focus my mind on that and not let it think about crappy stuff. It worked around 90% of the time. There were a few moments where I felt the prickle of tears behind my eyes but I managed to wipe it away. 

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There were a few sections, none of them very long, where the rocks became a thing. The little pointy ones and the wobbly ones and then a patch of really big ones. There was a guy slightly ahead of me and when I took a tumble, my ankle gave out and I just sat down, he turned around and checked to make sure I was ok which was nice. Later on when I saw him again he showed me a big gash on his shin where he said his leg slipped between two rocks. The rocks can be really dangerous!

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But these rocky sections weren’t that bad and they didn’t last for long and the trail in between went back to being a nice smooth trial. There were a couple of trail magic coolers along the way but they were both just full of trash. I hope someone is going to come back and collect all this trash…

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I made my way up to Bake Oven Knob, a very small climb with a few rocks near the top. There were some nice views up there by sadly all the rocks were covered on graffiti and there was so much trash about which really ruined it. The graffiti was really bad and so pointless, but it’s so close to a road so it’s easily accessible. 

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I had in my mind that I would take a break there and I was a bit put off by all the trash and graffiti but I was really hungry at this point so I stopped there for a few minutes and ate a guac pot and some crisps. Peaches came up and carried on. Bryce came up and sat and had a break. I moved on leaving him there and moved down the trail to another big pile of rocks. These were big boulders and slanty rocks, which are probably my least favourite, but I made it up, over and down without a problem. Other than now I was moving quite slowly. 

I saw another porcupine, as it was trying to waddle away quickly through the forest, and as I was walking along staring down at the trail, trying to avoid death-by-rock I saw a huge black snake lying completely straight down the trail. It’s head was nearest me and by the time I saw it I was only a couple of paces away. The snake raised its head up high until it was around the height of my chest and then launched itself sideways into the forest. It all happened so quickly! As I saw it I reared backwards too so it’s like we saw each other and both freaked out. 

The trail continued to alternate between small pointy rock sections and nice flat fern lines section. By the time I got the the shelter at 16 miles my legs were sore and I was tired. Temperature wise it hadn’t been a bad day. The sun was in and out of the clouds and although it was still warm, in the 30s, it didn’t feel stupidly hot. I had drunk .75l over the course of the day so I carried that one litre of water all that way when I didn’t have to, so I drank the whole thing when I got to the shelter. I knew I hadn’t drunk enough today as I had only had one wee. 

I ate some more guac and crisps and then Bryce and Peaches caught up. It was kinda nice to be out front for a change because a lot of the time I feel like I’m in a race, and I hate feeling like that. I don’t really want to be answerable to anyone. I want to be hiking my own hike! Setting my own pace and not having anyone wait for me or having to wait for anyone else. But I have found myself in a group and in some ways I like it and in other ways I just want to do my own thing. 

A short distance form the shelter is the last water for about 20 miles. So, we filled up our water bottles, I am now carrying 2.75 litres, which was so heavy. My pack felt like it weighed a tonne and I think back to that first day on the PCT when I was carrying all my stuff and 6 lites of water and I wonder how I actually did that. My bag can’t possibly be any near as heavy as it was on that day and yet it feels like I can hardly lift it. 

A small downhill took us to a road crossing that takes you into the town of Palmerton, we had no need to go into this town, but I think a lot of the people we had crossed paths with today were heading into town. Instead we crossed the road and then walked across the bridge and up the road to rejoin the AT for a big uphill climb. We had been hearing stories about this climb. Mostly about how rocky and exposed it is. 

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Well the stories were correct. It was super rocky and totally exposed. I struggled right from the start. As soon as we started going uphill, and the first little bit was in the trees, I felt very hot to the point where my head felt like a little bomb that was about to explode. I was sweating buckets, more sweat in five minutes than I had sweated all day. My arms were sweaty. My legs were sweaty. Not a good sign for me. 

The clouds that we had earlier in the day seemed to have parted and were just hanging out around the sun, so when the trees came to an end and the real rocks began the sun was beating down relentlessly. 

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Not only was it hot from above but the rocks were really hot too so it felt like I was being baked in an oven. The trail basically goes straight up and I had to stop and store my poles in my pack because I needed my hands to literally climb up the rocks. It was fun. It would have been more fun if my pack wasn’t so heavy and it wasn’t so hot. 

When I got to the halfway point, Bryce and Peaches were there taking photos. I wasn’t feeling good. I had come over lightheaded and I knew I was overheating. I’ve passed out several times and all in situations where I have been too hot so I knew the feelings and what to do. If my ears started to ring I would sit down immediately. Ideally I would have something cold to put on the back of my neck but I didn’t have anything. Water was too precious to pour on myself. I bent over and put my head low and I felt ok. I carried on, the trail now crossing up through the contours over hot rocks with no shade. 

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I felt terrible. I had intense pain in my hips – where had that come from?! My pack felt like I was  carrying lead weights and it was hard to just put one foot in front of the other. I felt really faint and a bit nauseous. I had to sit down so I made it to a small patch of shade and put my head down again. Once I thought I was ok I carried on again and didn’t make it far before having to sit down again. This time I felt a bit worse and I ended up lying in the trail with my head going downhill trying to make this feeling pass. I drank water. I ate a couple of fruit chews. I sat in this tiny bit of shade until I felt ok to move. Another reason I fey really ill is because all that guacamole had given me really bad wind and really stinky wind. It smelt so gross it was making me feel sick. 

All day the sun had been going behind the clouds. Now it was just out there on its own. I carried on slowly until I made it out of the rocks. I didn’t get back into the trees but it was definitely cooler out of the rocks. As I got to the top of the climb the sun went behind a cloud. Someone hates me today! Advice to future thrus – do this climb in the morning when it is in the shade!

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Next was a really nice walk along the ridge with views over Palmerton. It was still hot so I got the umbrella out, now I wasn’t having to use my hands to scramble on the rocks it was easier. The ridge line had so many black raspberry bushes along the edges, with so many ripe raspberries to eat. I ate loads, stopping at nearly every bush. This was slowing me down but I didn’t care, I had plenty of time. The ridge walk was nice. The bush thickened and a bunch of pine trees appeared which are really pokey as you walk past them. 

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I found the others waiting for me. They said it was to make sure I was ok after I said I felt faint, but they were a good 3 miles on from the climb. There would have been a lot they could do if I hadn’t been ok! They were more concerned about where the campsite was as I am the only one with Guthook – they are both using the AWOL guide. The thing with the book is that it’s out of date as soon as you buy it. With Guthook it is updated in real time. For me there is no question of which one is better. 

Anyway, we hiked the last three miles mostly together, with me lagging behind as we went up a cheeky hill which looked insignificant on the map but turned out to be really steep and rocky. We crossed a road and there were a few bottles of water labelled for thru hikers. It beat the many trail-magic-which-turned-out-to-be-garbage we had seen today! 

We found the camp spot at 7pm so it had been a solid 12 hour day. I was done. I had no desire to take another step. We set up camp and I ate some more guacamole and crisps. I’m not sure how much more guac I will be able to take. My mouth feels gross form eating so much garlic, every time I eat it I feel like I’m eating a couple of raw cloves of garlic, and my stomach is blowing up from all the gas inside me. It’s a good job I’m the only one in my tent tonight because anyone else would be gassed out. I think I’m gassing myslef out. 

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In my tent I rub my head and wonder why it feels bruised and then I remember I walked into a tree branch today. What a dipstick. By 8pm I was ready to lie down, and now it’s 10:30pm and I am beyond ready to go to sleep. 


Watch the video!

For this trip I made a daily video diary which you can watch here: DAY 65

 

 


 

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