Once again, the Quest continuesAfter another 16 zeros in which many side-quests and mini-adventures ensued, culminating with attending the Tom Petty concert in Philly, I was back on the trail.
|Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers|
LoGear had decided to sit this one out and instead acted as transportation to the trail up in PA and home support.
When we finished Push 14 (Shenandoah), back in early July we had come to a point on the trail where both LoGear and I had already hiked. Back a few years ago, we did a 30 some mile sobo hike over a few days. LoGear's miles from there weren't as extensive as mine, but for me, my miles stretched from that point on the forest road outside Front Royal, VA all the way to Lehigh Gap in PA.
This year's Quest had evolved into just hiking all of the trail. Direction, duration or date of the hiking didn't matter. I had decided to hike as much new trail as I could this year, minimizing re-hiking trail that I have already travel. So, that is why I jumped back onto the trail up in PA, with only two more days of PA rocks to endure.
|After climbing out of Lehigh Gap|
The memory of the rest of the state that so many hikers complain about was still fresh in my mind, even though it had been around 2 years since I hiked the other Pushes of the state. I was happy to be able to start near the end and see how far I could get up into New England.
The vague plan was to just start hiking north for at least three weeks and see where I could get to. My schedule was open and my goals potentially numerous. There was even the possibility of continuing on into the last three states or even jumping up to Monson and doing the last 100 miles of the trail. Options were open.
With that freedom in my mind, I kissed LoGear bye, threw on my pack and started down the road to where the trail crossed the highway and up into the Super Fund site outside Palmerton, PA.
The Pushes of Phase II-bDown south, the division of the Pushes was pretty simple. Resupply points were more defined with a whole lot of nothing in between. You knew it was going to be three or four days until you were at a point where you could get some resupply or even a meal or two.
Up here, in the more densely populated Mid-Atlantic the potential to grab a meal, resupply and yes, even a beer or three was high. Deli's close to the trail pull you in like a magnet with their promise of fresh, hot food that you didn't have to cook and cold stuff to drink too. So, the four days of food I started out with, ended up lasting much longer than that. Some stuff I carried the whole hike, like two little tubs of peanut butter.
I still managed to defined the Pushes into 17b, 18, 19 and 20. Their borders changed along the way as my plans changed to fit my current situation and what was available. For instance, I had planned the end of a Push and a major resupply in Vernon, NJ, but ended up crossing the border into NY a day earlier and staying in the Park in Unionville, NY. Resupplying in the morning and calling Push 18 complete.
|A misty morning somewhere in NY|
Push 17b - Lehigh Gap, PA to beyond Delaware Water Gap, PA (actually to backpack campsite in NJ) - 41.1 Miles - 3 Days. Push 17 was split into two parts as it originally goes from Duncannon to DWG. The Push officially ended and Push 18 started when I left DWG on my way into NJ.
Here are the Pushes of Phase II-b as they worked out:
Push 18 - DWG to Unionville, NY - 46.2 Miles - 3 Days. Changed end of Push from Vernon, NJ to Unionville, NY. About 12 miles less than original plan.
Push 19 - Unionville, NY to beyond Kent, CT (actually shelter 7 miles from Kent) - 129.2 Miles - 10 Days. This Push included a zero day to give my feet a break and many small resupplies and Deli visits.
Push 20 - Kent, CT to Williamstown, MA - 117.9 Miles - 9 Days. This Push included a Hostel stay along with my first time slack packing.
In my next post, I will tell the story that each Push became as I walked my way north into New England, completing another 334 miles of trail in Pamola's Quest.
|War memorial on Mt Greylock|
EarthTone and LoGear