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June 27, 2004

Slithering along... they're in NJ

Check out Dad's almostshithispants snake story.

June 248519.1 miles1
8625.9 miles2
8727 miles!!3
June 278820.4 miles4
8923.6 miles5

Day 85 - June 24 - Port Clinton

Port Clinton was a little disappointing. There was only the Port Clinton hotel, and that was - well, sort of hiker tolerant, but not really hiker-welcoming.

There was also only one outfitter, but they were not even well stocked. The only good thing in town was The Peanut Shoppe - a nice sweet shop that had lots of goodies in it.

They called me from their stop at the Port Clinton hotel, but with the weird attitude, they changed their mind, so they headed out again to Windsor Furnace Shelter1 - they tented right next to the shelter, which was empty!

Day 86 - June 25

They were going to go to Palmerton for an overdue resupply trip, but they'd been having such rotten luck with these towns, they did some extra checking and thought that Slatington might be a better bet. They called ahead, to Fine Lodging Boarding House, to see if they could slack into Slatington2.

Had some nice overlooks during the day, and they stopped at Blue Mountain Summit - a (Thu-Sun) restaurant and B&B that had really good food. Ruth and Dad had two meals there - they were hungry enough, and the food was so good, they decided to sample the lunch and dinner menus and the beer, of course (lunch: R had a chef salad , Dad had a portebello mushroom sandwich; dinner: R had a grilled chicken sandwich with Bacon and cheese and other stuff on it, and Dad had chicken germaine on linguine with a basil and wine reduction sauce.. NUMMY!).

They were tempted to stay, but they'd made arrangements to stay at these "Fine Lodgings"! So they called their ride, and he came to pick them up at Bake Oven Knob Road (what a name!!!) - and took them to their Fine Lodgings in Slatington.

Their are three towns smooshed together in that area, and Slatington looks to be the most depressed of the three. The whole area is a superfund cleanup site - zinc smelting stuff. Ruth said she got some very depressed looking pictures: trees and nice, and then these odd patches of bare rock. The hiking was pretty, but she said it was eerily so.

The Fine Lodging was a 4 story boarding house - Dad and Ruth stayed in room 317. There were at least 20 rooms per floor, with 2 bathroom PER FLOOR. The room was maybe 7×10, it had a twin bed, and a small refrigerator tucked away, something that might be considered a computer desk, a smallish TV cabinet with a tiny 10" TV, and a big metal cabinet/wardrobe thingie. There was a spare mattress in the hall, which they horked and threw on the floor. Ruth said it was comfortable once they settled in.

It rained a little that night, but the room had two windows, and they had a fan - so they ended up with a fairly comfortable stay. They got all their laundry done, and got showers, and everything they needed.

Day 87 - June 26

In the morning, they had breakfast at a diner, and were on their way to the convenience store to resupply, when they crossed paths with an old couple that were going to go hike themselves after they had breakfast. Dad stopped to ask them where the trailhead was, and boom! They had a ride. ;-)

They weren't short of supplies, REALLY, they were just out of fruit, and managed not to NEED water (they hadn't registered that you probably want to get water from right under a superfund site) until later in the day, when they did finally run out.

While hiking out of Slatington, they met a couple with their 11-month old child up on the ridge - taking their break. Dad and Ruth had stopped later to get some water, and the family caught up with them again. The mom was still nursing, and they're using cloth diapers, and they just make it work. They said the baby likes being in the pack, and the carrier as a screen-like cover, so the tyke doesn't feed the mosquitos, and there is a sun-shade and a little rain cover... They said the only trouble was that sometimes it was a little hard to keep the baby boy clean. Their trail names are: Cervesa, Siesta, and Little Sultan. Dad and Ruth took pictures (see, Chris and Erin! you can do this too!)

They stopped at Wind Gap3, another town, and spent the night at the Travel Inn (a motel). They finally managed to walk to the grocery store to restock on fruit.

Day 88 - June 27 - Today

They went across Wolf Rocks, which thankfully wasn't as tough as it sounded - some bouldering involved, but nothing too difficult. They did have some nice views, too. They had a break there, and gave us a call (this stop got us the Snake story below, but then we were busy trying to figure out where to leave Dad's car.. ).

They later walked into Delaware Gap. The way into town was beautiful - great big tall pine trees with blooming rhododendrons below. They stopped in town to eat at the Deer Head Inn (right on the trail), and there was a jazz guitarist playing - they stayed there for a few hours, which was nice.

They crossed the Delaware River on the same bridge used by I-80. Ruth thought in hindsight that she should have taken pictures of the toll-booths. Welcome to New Jersey!! Official Bear Country!!

They think they're staying at the backpacker campsite right before Sunfish Pond4. They aren't completely sure... They do happen, though, to be camped in the middle of a blueberry field. We'll let you know if there are any bear incidents as a result.

It apparently says everywhere, "no swimming or camping on the pond" - but it's pretty apparent that a lot of people go there for exactly that. Ruth said it resembled the ponds you see up North, near Baxter - the water was clear, there wasn't even any lichen in it. Their bear bag is hung.. and it is HUGE - full of fruit (peaches - that were ripe and yummy! - and grapes and grapefruit and peppers and vanilla wafers and ritz crackers and wheat thins and pudding and and and.. ;-) all that on top of the stuff they've been carrying around ..).

Ruth saw a scarlet tanninger, today. They passed some bird watchers that apparently saw a prarie warbler - which has an interesting call that Ruth realized she'd heard. She's also seen lots of cardinals, and blue jays, and all kinds of things.

Day 89 - June 28 - Tomorrow

They'll probably hike tomorrow to Branchville, NJ5, which is about 20 miles away.

They plan to be at our house on Thursday (driving up from Greenwood Lake).


Trail Angel - Mary. Mary is not a hiker herself, but she goes out of her way to make trail magic, bringing lots of food and V8 Splash and gives rides, etc. for people near the various trail heads in the area. She slacked Dad and Ruth once. And on Sundays, she takes all the hikers she can round up to her house for dinner - Peanut Butter Soup (which was actually very good - a creamy kind of soup with lots of other nutty flavors, carrots, celery, onions), SeaShore soup (clams, some flavored sausage, white fish, etc). When Dad and Ruth were there, one of Mary's friends invited Mary to bring the hikers to THEIR house, and they had a pool.

Also in Duncannon, there was a store that had home-made ice cream. Ruth said she had a "small chocolate-marshmallow", which was pretty much a pint; Dad had a humongous banana split.

Dad's snake story

Dad was walking at good clip, down a trail that had really dark, peaty-like, soil, that was speckled with some grayish stones. And then, in the trail, was this well-camouflaged (black with a tan diamond pattern on its back), big ass rattle snake.

He planted one pole about 1 foot from the thing, and it started rattling like hell - Dad said in a split second he had to plant the other pole, and put on the brakes and do an about-face - which he managed when his foot was about 18 inches above it! He saw the head come up, and said that it looked about ready to take a piece out of his hiking pole (since it hit first and was nearest).

In any case, the thing finally started moving off the trail - Dad encouraged it with a very long stick - and Dad said it was absolutely HUGE - definitely the biggest snake he's seen so far.. over 2" dia and something like 7+' long. YUCK.

From Ruth's point of view:
I first heard the rattle only to look up and see Mike reeling back at such an angle and speed that I thought he HAD been bitten. Picture the Three Stoogies, and listen for the Curly "wubwubwub..."

[edited by mike on 7/1/2004]


  • Peanut Butter Soup: 1, 2, 3, 4
  • Eagles Nest Shelter, 1189.7 miles.
  • Port Clinton, PA is 1,202.7 miles.

1 Windsor Furnace Shelter, 1208.8 miles

2 Bake Oven Knob Rd 1234.7 miles
(Slatington, 1235.5 miles)

3 PA33-Wind Gap, PA is 1,263.4 miles.

4 Sunfish Pond Campsite, Backpacker campsite 1283.8 miles.

5 Branchville, NJ (Culvers Gap), 1307.4 miles

Posted by erin . Sunday, 27 Jun 2004 . 12:57 PM, MDT .


  1. No snake soup? or new boots? Congratulations on your progress. We're pulling for you to finish. Had you heard that Kevin and Tasha are engaged? the wedding is December 11; hope you'll be around. Please be careful as with the previous snake and continue in good health. Love, Trish

    Posted by Trish . Wednesday, 30 Jun 2004 . 02:42 PM, MDT . #