5/13 13ish miles
So there was going to be a long water haul because mining in the next stretch poisoned the ground water and from what I read it could be more extensive than officially acknowledged. The rocks and uphill are slowing me down. Pozzi and Palladin planned on making it to the next shelter. I saw a place closer in that had tap water, and camping on the property or in the garage. New experience opportunity!
After a longish day, I got to the trailhead, texted, and John the hostel owner got me in minutes. He whisked me to his place, picked up a hiker new to me, Big Zoo, and dropped us at a delightful local pub for a burger and free Yuengling Lager. A guy played acoustic guitar and since he heard I was from Alaska, played a song that mentioned Inuit. John picked us up again and I pitched my tent on his garage floor and arranged all my stuff as usual around me. I slept great between creeping up the stairs to use the house bathroom. He does talk a lot but is so kind.
5/14 12.9 miles
Big Zoo and I got dropped off back at the trailhead a little later than we wanted but oh well. It wasn’t a bad day. Crossed some highways. Saw Eco Warrior again. His friend picked him up after 8 miles, due to the imminent, predicted storm. I debated with myself about getting an Uber to a motel, but kept going. Big Zoo and I picked up water and pitched our tents just as it started to rain, about 5 pm, for hours. We were kind of exultant that we managed to avoid walking in it.
5/15 10.3 miles
Big Zoo and I hiked into town and ran into hikers of course on the way to the hotel. The weird guy from before, whose name I edited out of the original post, trail name Anubis, was walking up the street with Ness. There is no way he hiked past me out of Palmerton, especially since he was the last one at the hostel and claimed to have an appointment with the VA later that day. He is “yellow blazing,” getting rides on roads (get it? Roads have yellow stripes) which is fine but lying about it irks me. It was nice I wasn’t solo this time but he did try the mom thing, saying it was his birthday and l should buy him beer later. Big Zoo said 3 of us already planned dinner together, so no.
I met Sprouts, we 3 did eat together. They’d hiked together quite a bit before foot infection made him stay in town to heal. Not many women on trail, so it’s really great to meet another. She’s from AZ, retired ER PA, and is super likeable. She’s nursing foot sores so is doing less miles than I want to do however. So I have to enjoy her while we’re in this town right now.
Big Zoo and I Ubered to Stroudsburg and each scored new shoes at the running store. Mine are shredded way ahead of schedule because of the f*ing rocks. We got our ride back to the Clarion just before a heavy, pounding rain mid afternoon. I’m not hiking in it, woohoo!
I waited for the rain to break and got some resupply, did some regular world paperwork and then had dinner with Big Zoo and Sprouts. Nobody celebrated Anubis’ birthday with him, poor guy.