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PA Section of the AT in July/August??
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Mark Ryan

Locale: Somewhere. Probably lost.
PA Section of the AT in July/August?? on 12/10/2010 12:28:50 MST Print View

Planning on doing some section hiking this summer in PA. Not sure if it's July or August. Anyone out there been there; done that? Any suggestions on Gear, water filtration, and such?

Experiences with "Rocks"ylvania? I will Port Clinton north to Wind Gap or so. Still in the planning/wish phase.


b s
(smyth) - F
Re: PA Section of the AT in July/August?? on 12/10/2010 14:23:49 MST Print View

Expect hot and humid with occasional t-storms during that time period. Since you won't be at any significant elevation, these are some thing that I would consider leaving at home: rain pants, rain jacket, insulation, beanie, gloves. You won't need much of a sleeping bag either as night time temps probably won't be much below 55-60F if even that cool. I slept in a clean tee and shorts and some nights barely had my bag draped over me.

I'd probably pack my houdini for combo light rain/bug protection, and take along some deet, a headnet, and some sunscreen. I used aquamira drops through that section without any issues.

Yes, there are plenty of rocks. Some stretches you'll be more rock-hopping than hiking but overall I thought it wasn't as bad as was described. If you're feet are unconditioned though, you might expect some soreness.

And as with most Mid-Atlantic/NE hiking, check yourself for ticks nightly.

Matthew Zion
(mzion) - F

Locale: Boulder, CO
Re: PA on 12/10/2010 16:13:10 MST Print View

Id tell you to hike something other than PA~!

But of the sections in PA that was my favorite. Lehigh is a blast. I don't think you need to treat in that section. The water doesn't seem to get skunky until after the Water Gap. But... the water sources from Lehigh to Wind Gap are far apart and pretty far off trail. And as long as its not a super dry year they will be flowing and beautiful tasting.

Joe Geib
(joegeib) - F

Locale: Delaware & Lehigh Valleys
Re: PA Section of the AT in July/August?? on 12/10/2010 16:53:28 MST Print View

The PA AT is pretty much all ridge. Knowing that, many of the water sources are down off the ridge, and ever further if it is a hot, dry summer (like this one). Be prepared to climb an extra 1000' or so in a day to get water from off-ridge sources. Yes, the rocks hurt, and will tenderize your feet pretty bad, so high miles in some sections will hurt.

Tom Clark
(TomClark) - MLife

Locale: East Coast
Re: PA Section of the AT in July/August?? on 12/10/2010 17:21:58 MST Print View

I live 20 min south of Wind Gap, so please give me a call when the time gets closer. This section of PA is really just 10-20 mile ridges with the gaps that are 900-1100 ft descents/ascents. It can be dry up on the ridges, with springs seasonal and a few hundred feet down from shelters, which are regularly spaced. The springs could be muddy seeps, so plan for that. There are occassional campsites off the AT, but don't expect springs at those sites. The gaps usually have towns where you can resupply.

A hammock would give you more flexibility, but you probably want some protection from skeeters and ticks. They won't be terrible, but still there. The ground will be rocky if you're at a campsite, so a comfortable pad would be good.

There is a Cabelas at Port Clinton if you have any last minute needs.


josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
copperheads on 12/10/2010 18:24:31 MST Print View

be on the lookout for copperheads and the occasional rattler in that stretch. that's the heart of snake country.

it is mostly ridgewalking yes. you can put in some big miles there - however, when you do hit gaps they are usually straight downhill. poles are good for knees. get a burger at the port clinton hotel when you pass through. Trail Burger with gravy fries mmmmmmmmm

tip* don't be the 1st guy to leave camp (a great rule of thumb for avoiding 100s of spiderwebs in the face as well :D

Patrick S
(xpatrickxad) - F

Locale: Upper East TN
RE PA AT on 12/10/2010 20:16:43 MST Print View

Some of the best advice for PA I can give you is when you're in Port Clinton don't order the country fried steak at the diner. I've never had food that was so bad I was personally offended before that moment. And this was coming from a thru-hiker that would eat anything and everything.

Also I've heard nothing but horror stories regarding the Port Clinton Hotel. It sounds like the owner doesn't want any business.

I think most everyone else covered the basics. As mentioned before the water can be a little bit off the trail so you make want to have a large capacity just for camp so you don't have to go out of your way both at night and then again in the morning, but it depends on how lazy you are.

The stories of Rocksylvania are a bit over exaggerated. Yeah its rocky, but its some of the easiest hiking on the entire AT.

Mark Ryan

Locale: Somewhere. Probably lost.
Info? on 12/11/2010 14:49:21 MST Print View

Thanks everyone. Please keep it coming.

Patrick S
(xpatrickxad) - F

Locale: Upper East TN
Re: PA Section of the AT in July/August?? on 12/11/2010 16:21:37 MST Print View

I suggest doing the old AT right after Lehigh Gap instead of the new relocation. I think its only a mile or two thats been relocated (if I remember right). Its where a bunch of pollution pretty much wiped out most living things up top on the ridge and its pretty crazy walking through something like that in PA.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
keep it coming? on 12/12/2010 11:21:22 MST Print View

"Please keep it coming."

Really? I thought the prior responses were plenty, but okay ---

when I finished walking through Pennsylvania this year my overall reaction was "yes there are rocks but ...": there are rocks other places too, and roots and other trail hazards, and while PA might be somewhat rockier than overall average I thought the rocks thing was a bit overhyped. And that what folks don't tell you is that PA is relatively flat, less hill climbing overall. My only 30+ mile day on the trail this year was in PA, FWIW (Peters Mt. to William Penn shelter).

What sort of worked for me when the trail was particularly rocky (in PA or elsewhere) was to sort of drunkenly lurch my way along. Difficult to describe, but a sort of loose approach where you mildly dance along on top of and between the rocks and basically just keep your legs moving at a decent pace. Somehow you get on, and can end up doing decent mileage. Perhaps using two trekking poles helped with this approach (dunno, I'm a confirmed two-stick man, so can't compare to a no-stick process).

Sam .
(samurai) - F

Locale: NEPA
Re: PA Section of the AT in July/August?? on 12/27/2010 19:25:23 MST Print View

"Experiences with "Rocks"ylvania?"

I live here. This spot is just up from "Dan's Pulpit" maybe ten miles from Port Clinton. Note the blaze on the tree to the left of center. This IS the trail and there's plenty more like it. It's not as bad as it looks, but ...

Tank up on H2O at Hawk Mountain. Springs will probably be dry until you get to the Allentown shelter. In July and August you will probably still need to climb down for the springs there. I'm thinking 1,000 ft or so? Don't remember for sure. Bear activity is high in this area too. Be careful.


Edit to clarify distance to the lower spring. What I mean when I say 1,000 feet down, I mean trail distance is somewhere around 1k. Too lazy to look it up.

Edited by samurai on 12/29/2010 20:05:30 MST.

josh wagner
(StainlessSteel) - F
nice on 12/29/2010 16:59:04 MST Print View

i was there just a few weeks ago. i remember that spot b/c i was running and jumping from rock to rock

Sam .
(samurai) - F

Locale: NEPA
Re: PA Section of the AT in July/August?? on 12/29/2010 20:31:45 MST Print View

"Experiences with "Rocks"ylvania?"

My son and I call this the Flintstone camp. About two miles up from Hawk Mountain Road. Nice creek nearby, again.. tank up!



Sam .
(samurai) - F

Locale: NEPA
Re: nice on 12/29/2010 20:36:41 MST Print View

"i was running and jumping from rock to rock"

Josh, at my age I would need a cape to hop rock to rock here ;)

"Old Guy". Ya know?

Edited by samurai on 01/02/2011 09:48:02 MST.