23 May 2021. Day 46. 15.9 Miles + 556.8 Miles = 572.7 Miles. Palmerton to Leroy Smith Shelter. The Climb from Lehigh Gap.

08:16. The Gift of Water

There has been no rain for a couple of weeks and it has been very telling on the springs. You obviously have to develop a trust of mankind to trust random gifts of water at access points. I took my share.

08:17. Choices

As soon as I got back on the trail at Lehigh Gap there was a decision to make. The AT trail here is so steep (especially carrying a 30 pound pack) that an alternate route with switchbacks has been built. It is especially used during rain spells and winter. The difference can be seen right from the beginning at the directional sign.

08:29. The Climb out of Lehigh Gap

I did a short video along this route. I was a bit winded when I did it and noticed afterward that I misspoke a couple of times. The AT is always painted white and any spur or alternate is painted blue. In this case the blue trail was the alternate with switchbacks. I took the white.

The climb was strenuous but doable. In a couple of spots you had to find a toe hold in the rock and a lip in the rock above you to grab with your fingers before pulling yourself up and over. But for the most part it was just a wicked climb for 1.1 miles.

08:42. Looking North Toward Palmerton

Once you reached the first peak you got a view into Palmerton. I was halfway across the rock on the second picture and having a difficult time negotiating the weight and balance when a runner suddenly ran past me on my left. It startled the you know what out of me since he had remained silent. The thought of tossing him off of the mountain came to mind.

09:17. Frozo, Mule and Aunt Patricia

As it turned out the young couple that I had met back at Eckville was the niece of the couple who packed the lasagna up the mountain the day before. They all spent the evening in yesterday’s shelter and today Patricia (the aunt) slack packed with her niece about five miles. Her husband Mike drove with the backpacks ahead. Needless to say they passed me. It counts…. they walked the AT even if it was without packs. From left to right: Frozo, Mule(because he carries all the gear) and Patricia.

09:27. A Scouting We Will Go

I one point I was talking with Frozo and Mule and a boys scout came hiking by. They were about to turn onto the blue winter trail in order to bypass the steep descent. It was a very good scoutmaster decision.

10:38. North to Palmerton

Palmerton had once been a thriving town because of a large zinc factory in the area. Now walking along the ridge above the city you could see the fossil which is all that remains of the industry.

11:25. No Tree Large Enough to Mark

The area has now gone through reforestation. Much of it is scrub pine so rocks have been placed erect so that trail markers can be painted,

11:19. Need Your Boots Cleaned?

Here was the first piece of trash that I’ve seen that wasn’t hiking gear oriented. More than likely someone’s sense of humor in play. Why else would a shoe cleaner be placed along the trail. I guess so you could feel good about your appearance as you “hiked on”.

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