Day 74 – New Tripoli Campsite to Leroy A. Smith Shelter

27.5 miles, 70,273 steps, 383 stories climbed

1282.0/916.0 miles/left, 3,297,685 steps, 29,216 stories climbed
Trail Magic Moments: 32
Wow that was a brutal day.  I knew it would be a long day so I woke up early to get a head start.  My legs were already spent from the past week and my feet were sore, my boots shredded from the rocks but I had to strap them on and keep walking but Pennsylvania was not done unleashing its torrent of punishment on meI started my hike dealing with the inch worms again.

 

   They are literally raining down from the trees, you can hear them falling on the dead leaves on the forest floor all around you.  They fall on you and you constantly walk through their webs which get caught all over you and most annoyingly on your face and eyes. All you can do is continue to hike.
   

 

The rocks littered the trail destroying both my boots and my feet.  My legs were aching and as I pushed up the trail my pace continued to slow even as I pushed as hard as I could.
There was a brief break from the rocks as someone was kind enough to leave a box of trail magic (unfortunately, empty by the time I reached it) then it was back to the rocks.
  
Now, I’ve done some crazy things in my life but there haven’t been too many times when I’ve come across something that I have to stare at and just say out loud “What the fuck?”…today was that day.
 
My WTF face
 
Lehigh Gap.  There is an insane uphill climb from there.  It’s about 1000′ of uphill at an 80% grade uphill over nothing but rocks and boulders.  The rocks are sharp and with each step you are taking a leap of faith.  No matter how big or small the rock you choose you have no idea if it’ll move and if so which way.  If you make one wrong step, choose one wrong rock you’ll be taking a nasty tumble.  Even after making the climb the rocks continue to threaten with each step and even as you somehow manage to make it through the gauntlet a toll has been paid with the soles of your boots and the aches in your bones.
It wasn’t my longest day as far as miles but it was as far as time.  I hiked for around 13 hours without a break and when I finally made it to the shelter I was exhausted.  I quickly made my dinners (yes, plural) and fell a sleep to hopefully give my legs and feet enough time to recover and be ready for tomorrow’s hike.
   

 

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