Palmerton, PA

I’m writing from the library in Palmerton, PA.  I haven’t done very many miles in the past few days.  This is partly due to terrain, weather, and lack of energy.  On the evening of the 31st I reached an old, but functional AT shelter (will update with the name later) around 8pm.

About two miles before the shelter, there was a break in the dense foliage where powerlines crossed, and gave me a pretty expansive view of my surroundings.  I saw clouds and rain rolling in fast, and crossed the opening quickly.  Soon I was ridge running, though under treeline, and the first booms of thunder echoed across the mountains.  As I descended from the ridge towards town, the rain caught me.

The shelter was worn, but the steel roof appeared to be brand new.  I had already eaten dinner, and was asleep by 9pm.  I woke at 10:30am the next day, making this the latest morning I’ve ever had on the AT.  Sleepily, I packed my gear and headed the rest of the way down the mountain.

I’ve quite literally been dreaming of Italian food for the past few days, and decided to hit Palmerton, which has two pizzerias.  I got to the roadway easily enough, but noticed there was no shoulder to walk on, and that I had missed the side trail into town.  Five minutes with my thumb out got me an easy ride into town.

The next thing I knew, I had devoured four slices of quality pepperoni pizza.  I sat back in the booth, partially dazed by the massive carb intake.  I listened to the Italians behind the counter bantering and yelling at each other as more orders came in, the lunch rush in full swing now.  I staggered out and made it to the town square, where I tried to get my bearings.  The hitch into town was easy enough, but getting back to the trail was going to be a challenge.

“Dirty Girl?!”  It was Casey Jones.  I’ve tried to write about Casey in the past, but took up five pages before I knew it.  Suffice to say, there is nothing simple or succinct about Casey Jones.  Her and her now boyfriend Rev, were on a mission for donuts, and I decided to join their endeavor.

A few minutes later I had coffee in hand, watching my comrades devour breakfast pastries in a manner that would be cause for an organized intervention, had they not been thru-hikers.  A man walked past and told us the whole area was under a flash flood warning.  As near as we could tell, the trail would be skirting the river for a while, and staying in town seemed like a good idea.

A town local named Mary Beth sat with us, and talked to us for a long while.  She told us seemingly everything there was to know about the history of this small, but charming little town.  One gem of information she had, was a place to stay for the night.  It wasn’t glamorous, but a two-car garage behind a restaurant is pretty luxurious for hiker trash.  We ventured over to Bert’s Restaurant, and spoke with owner, Tracy.

For ten bucks we had a bunk room, and access to a shower, oddly placed within an alleyway.  Let me tell you, the water pressure and heat of that wondrous contraption far made up for its strange location!

I spent the night hanging out and playing pool with Rev and Casey, finally turning in around midnight.  Here are a few pictures:


It was nice to get away from the bugs and dry our gear for a night!

We’re aiming for a shelter about fifteen miles out of town, and should reach the Delaware Water Gap tomorrow or the next morning.  We’re all ready for New Jersey.

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