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View Full Version : PA Swatara Gap to Delaware Water Gap; April 6-17, 2013; on the A.T.



Rain Man
04-01-2013, 10:04
PA Swatara Gap to Delaware Water Gap; April 6-17, 2013; on the Appalachian Trail

I am hoping to tag along with a Nashville group heading to the Shenandoah National Park, drop them off this Saturday, and then head on up to Pennsylvania on my own to pick up my A.T. section-hiking where I left off at Swatara Gap last year. I'll hike until the 16th or 17th, then go back to pick up the other group (in Harper's Ferry) and head home to Nashville.

Anyone want to tag along? Meet on the trail? Hike a few days with me? Do some shuttling for me or trail magic? I'm flexible and easy! :-? I've hiked alone many times, but it's fun to meet and/or hike with new friends too. The weather forecast is looking pretty darn good. I was concerned about ice, but so far it's not supposed to be freezing, even at night. If things change, I'll bail out if necessary. Don't want to hike alone on ice.

I hope to average about 12 miles a day (if the rocks don't slow me down too much), including perhaps a zero day, and reach Delaware Water Gap taking it easy. But if not, I'll stop wherever I get to and is convenient. I've heard and read about lots of features along this section of trail, and look forward to seeing them with my own eyes and setting foot on some of them with my own feet.

I have the list of shuttlers from the ATC, but if anyone has recommendations or would like to lend a hand, please speak up. Usually I'm splitting the cost with others, but this time may be footing the cost alone. I'd love to have my vehicle shuttled to the end if at all possible.

Rain Man

P.S. I have to say this trip is contingent on some factors beyond my control (client emergencies) falling into place, but which I expect will happen.

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G...Hawk
04-01-2013, 10:49
Rain Man,

Would love to hike some of the AT with you.
Have hiked Lehigh Gap / Palmerton section to the Delaware ( and North ).
Swatara Gap to Lehigh Gap sounds good.
Will have to do some figuring tonight.

( Some thinking and checking with my husband; have AMC Wilderness First Aid 16hr class April14&21. )

Hiked this last weekend, a small 3mile patch in rocky NY ( a gap in two longer sections ), with some hikers who felt it was a rocky-slower-miles hike than flat, path trails.

I only know rocky PA-NJ-NY. May not be up to much more than a nine mile day.

The greening of the woods is such a splendid time on the trail.




G

JollyGreen
04-01-2013, 10:59
I'll PM you later, I would be interested in one of the weekends, probably the second.

G.L.P.
04-01-2013, 13:25
wish i could join you ... but i'm not getting out till the weekend after you finish up :(
be ready for Rocks,Rocks,Rocks .. and More Rocks LOL
coming up out of the Gap can kick your butt but once your up it's not too bad but it is rocky the first 5-6 miles ... but from about a mile from william penn till about 2.5-3 miles after it's easy hiking
then you will run into more rocks
501 shelter is really cool so make sure you check it out... also the william penn has a loft too ;)
you can order pizza at the 501 if you don't feel like cooking
if i remember there is a campsite in between 501 and 183 ... it should be on the map but i never stayed there so i can't really tell you much about it
from 183 it's easy hiking again .. some rocks but not too bad
be careful coming in to Port Clinton ... it is steep and rocky ;)
then you will go up another Mnt LOL ... pretty much like that till you hit the delaware water gap LOL .. if you get a chance and want a side trip Hawk Mnt is nice ;)
and the food in port clinton is good :D (i live 10 min away)
Have fun and be safe ;)

Black Foot
04-01-2013, 16:01
if i remember there is a campsite in between 501 and 183 ... it should be on the map but i never stayed there so i can't really tell you much about it

Hertline campsite - good water and a nice picnic table :)

you'll enjoy the hike up (keyword here is up) out of Lehigh Gap

the pinnacle is an excellent place to hang and watch the sunrise if you get a chance

G.L.P.
04-01-2013, 19:22
Hertline campsite - good water and a nice picnic table :)

you'll enjoy the hike up (keyword here is up) out of Lehigh Gap

the pinnacle is an excellent place to hang and watch the sunrise if you get a chance

thanks BF i couldn't remember it there is water there or not it has been a while since i been on that section
yeah lots of hills and rocks to be ready and have good hiking shoes ;)
also this time of year it likes to rain out of the blue :rolleyes: so bring rain gear

the pinnacle is a Must Hang for sure .... the view is fantastic ;)

G...Hawk
04-02-2013, 08:35
Rain Man,

Looked at the AT Guide : would like to do the whole 75miles from Swatara Gap to Lehigh Gap.
Yet I am realistic.

At this moment : thinking 3, 4 days and see how it works for you.
Perhaps more. ( Fri would head home, Sunday AMC Wilderness First Aid 16hr class April14&21 )


G

biggcarl
04-02-2013, 09:01
When in Port Clinton, the trail runs between the Port Clinton Hotel and Port Clinton Peanut Shop. The Hotel has a great bar and bar food. The peanut shop is way more than peanuts and a must stop, you'll see.

Rain Man
04-02-2013, 09:13
Rain Man,

Looked at the AT Guide : would like to do the whole 75miles from Swatara Gap to Lehigh Gap. ... At this moment : thinking 3, 4 days and see how it works for you.

Hey GHawk... sent you a reply to your PM before I read this thread. Would be happy to chat with you about hiking a portion with me. Give a shout or PM your phone number and we'll talk.

Rain Man

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Rain Man
04-02-2013, 09:21
When in Port Clinton, the trail runs between the Port Clinton Hotel and Port Clinton Peanut Shop. The Hotel has a great bar and bar food. The peanut shop is way more than peanuts and a must stop, you'll see.

Thanks for the recommendations! Tentatively, I've marked Port Clinton as an over-night stop, so eating there would save me two meals.

I've been to Port Clinton once before. In '04 when my middle daughter thru-hiked the AT, I drove to Maine to pick her up. On the way back to Tennessee, she wanted to stop at several places. Port Clinton was one. We didn't stay, but did stop and visit with a couple who gave her water, and I saw the Pavilion. Everything else is a blur there.

If this trips happens (it is tentative still), I'll look forward to my own hike through Port Clinton.

Rain Man

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Rain Man
04-02-2013, 09:30
Hertline campsite - good water and a nice picnic table :) ... you'll enjoy the hike up (keyword here is up) out of Lehigh Gap ... the pinnacle is an excellent place to hang and watch the sunrise if you get a chance


the pinnacle is a Must Hang for sure .... the view is fantastic ;)

Thanks! I had tentatively marked a short 8-mile day out of Port Clinton to Pulpit Rock or so, but now think I'll hike the 12 miles to the Pinnacle and hang there for the night. Would not have known if you guys had not told me.

Good to know about Hertline. I tentatively plan a night at 501 (another meal I don't have to carry if I order pizza there), but might stop at Hertline for an early lunch and to get water.

I've got photos of my daughter's climb out of Lehigh Gap! I think I'll be glad I did most of NH last August, once I get to that PA climb. :D

What about water or campsite out of Lehigh Gap? I plan to allow for a zero day in Palmerton, so possibly will do that climb early morning and hope to camp at about 12 miles.

Rain Man

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doogie
04-02-2013, 10:10
Sounds like a good hike. I have done the Swatara to Eagles Nest shelter section and the long loop to the pinnacle (officially you are not allowed to camp at the pinnacle, but there are a few rogue sites there, the first official site North bound is not too far though).

I am taking my scout troop on an overnight starting at 501 and camping at Hertlein and heading out to 183 the next morning on the 13th and 14th.

As I recall there is a spring just as you start out up from Swatara Gap, at the William Penn Shelter, at 501 shelter, at Hertlein, just before 183 (near the fort monument), a few miles after 183 and at Eagles Nest.

biggcarl
04-02-2013, 11:35
Let me know what night you'll be in Port Clinton, I might be able to swing by for a beer.

Rain Man
04-04-2013, 08:56
Let me know what night you'll be in Port Clinton, I might be able to swing by for a beer.

My tentative schedule puts us there in Port Clinton on Tuesday night. Would love to have you come join me/us!

Rain Man

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jerzybears
04-04-2013, 10:44
wish i could join you ... but i'm not getting out till the weekend after you finish up :(
be ready for Rocks,Rocks,Rocks .. and More Rocks LOL
coming up out of the Gap can kick your butt but once your up it's not too bad but it is rocky the first 5-6 miles ... but from about a mile from william penn till about 2.5-3 miles after it's easy hiking
then you will run into more rocks
501 shelter is really cool so make sure you check it out... also the william penn has a loft too ;)
you can order pizza at the 501 if you don't feel like cooking
if i remember there is a campsite in between 501 and 183 ... it should be on the map but i never stayed there so i can't really tell you much about it
from 183 it's easy hiking again .. some rocks but not too bad
be careful coming in to Port Clinton ... it is steep and rocky ;)
then you will go up another Mnt LOL ... pretty much like that till you hit the delaware water gap LOL .. if you get a chance and want a side trip Hawk Mnt is nice ;)
and the food in port clinton is good :D (i live 10 min away)
Have fun and be safe ;)

Rocksylvania...take pictures of your boots before and after...:scared:

Black Foot
04-04-2013, 12:27
What about water or campsite out of Lehigh Gap? I plan to allow for a zero day in Palmerton, so possibly will do that climb early morning and hope to camp at about 12 miles.

Rain Man

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There is reliable water from a piped spring at the George Outerbridge Shelter which is located as you start down into the Lehigh Gap. You can also stop at the Lehigh Gap Nature Center - if it's open they have a bathroom and water as well as a porch with rocking chairs for a break and also a soda machine - very hiker friendly to us when we stopped there.

Coming out of the Lehigh Gap (distances are from the Lehigh River):

Leroy Smith ~ 16.0 miles - water down the hill from a spring not great and a fair walk down and then back up hill from the shelter

Wind Gap (PA 33) ~ 21.0 miles motel near the AT sells sodas, ice cream etc. - they also let us fill our water from their tap

Kirkridge Shelter ~ 30 miles - no spring but a tap at the religious retreat center right near there. The spigot was turned off last year early in the year but people at the retreat center gave us water (and cookies)

Delaware Water Gap ~ 36 miles - nice spot to eat there offers a hot dog and a slice of homemade apple pie for $2 or 3

In general you just need to be mindful of the water and make sure you have enough. Generally this is a ridge walk so when there are springs they tend to be down off the ridge - which is just a pain in the butt when you are tired. This is a much bigger problem for the thru hikers because the bulk of them are in this section in late June - early July and if the weather is dry some of the springs get unreliable.

Also to GLPs excellent advice concerning rocks - just a bother really because you have to be watching where your putting your feet constantly but I would advise to adjust your expected milage accordingly as it will tend to slow you down a little bit. The good news is that except for coming in and out of the gaps there is little elevation gain/loss while your on the ridge. Where you do have come in and out of the gaps the change tends to be moderate ~ 1500 ft.

Hope this helps and looking forward to the trip report.

Rain Man
04-05-2013, 10:33
Thanks to ALL who replied with trail and food info, etc!!! Also, I have two or three now who want to hike some portion with me, and others who simply want to meet. What a great place Hammock Forums is!

Here is my TENTATIVE itinerary. Comments and suggestions still welcome! I leave tomorrow and still have many loose ends to finish, not the least of which is my first-ever DIY Under Quilt, which is drying in the sun as I type. I wet the down to put it in the baffles by hand, so it wouldn't fly all over. :D Learned how hard it is to get down to absorb water!!!

PA Swatara Gap to Delaware Water Gap; April 6-17, 2013; on the A.T.

ITINERARY (subject to change):

Sat 4/6 - drive from Nashville, TN to Shenandoah National Park, drop off hikers and then drive up to Iceman's home in Lancaster, PA, arrive around midnight.

Sun 4/7 - Iceman keeps my vehicle and drives me to Swatara Gap, where I meet G.Hawk (aka Distracted By Stone). We hike 11.4 miles to 501 Shelter. To meet G.L.P. and perhaps Dutch and others there.

Mon 4/8 - 15.5 miles to Eagles Nest Shelter (or alternative of 12.2 miles (more or less) and camp along the trail somewhere)

Tue 4/9 - 9.0 miles to Port Clinton (or the alternative would be 12.2 miles to Port Clinton)

Wed 4/10 - 9.5 miles to The Pinnacle and camp out. Meet One Sock somewhere along from Wed to Sat?

Thur 4/11 - 12.7 miles to Allentown Hiking Club Shelter

Fri 4/12 - 10.0 miles to Bake Oven Knob Shelter

Sat 4/13 - 8.0 mile to Leghigh Gap/Palmerton (spend night in jail?!) Meet Jolly Green?

Sun 4/14 - 15.5 miles to Leroy A. Smith Shelter (or alternative of 9.5 miles to an "overlook" said to be great place to camp - have to haul water)

Mon 4/15 - 13.8 miles to Kirkridge Shelter (or alternative would be 17.6 to campsite)

Tue 4/16 - 6.7 miles to Delaware Water Gap (or alternative would be 10.1 miles to DWG) Meet Iceman and/or my car will be there?

111.7 total miles (some days have obvious alternatives; I noted two of them)

Tuesday - drive down to Harpers Ferry and spend night with my SNP hikers.
Wednesday - drive home to Nashville.

Have I left anyone out?

I'll be checking in later today and then from the trail via my smartphone. Shoot me a message and/or cell number if anyone would like to reach me after late tonight.

Rain Man

G...Hawk
04-15-2013, 18:04
I hiked with Rain Man sun.april7-tue.april9 on the AT in PA, Swatara to Port Clinton.
A wonderful hiking partner; one might say : almost perfect. Very encouraging with positive energy.

He is photoman and has numerous pictures / images; expect he will post upon his return.
He gets off the trail Tues April16.
Here are some images of him.

It was my experiment to see how many miles I could hike per day.
Rain Man HHOH and schedule; I would show up at the end of the day.
Pushed myself hard, harder than if alone and that was the point.
Second Half / Guy joined us for 2 days. Another fine hiking partner.

How many miles was I capable of ? 12 hard Rocksylvania miles; 14 hard miles ( with few gravel road alternative miles );
9 rocky miles. It was wonderful.
Did not have time to be distracted by stone or other forms of nature. That is for another time.


G

Rain Man at Swatara Creek / Rain Man doing his photo thing / Guy and Rain Man / Guy and Rain Man's hats in the dark at Eagles Nest shelter

Rain Man
04-18-2013, 19:54
How many miles was I capable of ? 12 hard Rocksylvania miles; 14 hard miles ( with few gravel road alternative miles );
9 rocky miles. It was wonderful.

Yes, it was wonderful, G...Hawk! And so were you. And you sure hike with some handsome men!!! :lol:

Rain Man

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Rain Man
04-18-2013, 19:59
Have not had time to start on the photo album yet, but did summarize my daily start/stop points, which were:

Day 1, Sun, 4-7 - 11.4 miles from Swatara Gap to 501 Shelter
Day 2, Mon, 4-8 - 15.1 miles to Eagles Nest Shelter
Day 3, Tue, 4-9 - 9.0 miles to Port Clinton Hotel
Day 4, Wed, 4-10 - 14.8 miles to Eckville Shelter
Day 5, Thu, 4-11 - 11.5 miles to Blue Mtn Summit Restaurant and B&B
Day 6, Fri, 4-12 - 13.9 miles to the Palmerton "Jail"
Day 7, Sat, 4-13 - 8.3 miles to powerline/overlook/campsite
Day 8, Sun, 4-14 - 14.1 miles (more or less) to a campsite along trail north of Wind Gap
Day 9, Mon, 4-15 - 13.6 miles (more or less) to Delaware Water Gap/PA-NJ State Line
111.7 miles total trail miles

The first three days I hiked with G...Hawk and Second Half, WONDERFUL folks. The middle three days I hiked alone. The last three days I hiked with Rocketsocks (formerly One Sock), also a GREAT hiking companion.

I hung about half the time and used the brand new DIY UQ that I finished the night before the trip. Thanks to G.L.P. for coming out to 501 Shelter. He "tuned" the UQ for me as I lay in the hammock. That was a great help!

At DWG, Rocketsocks and I visited the Edge of the Woods Outfitter and ate DELICIOUS chicken pot pie at a local spot. Then I showered at the Presbyterian Church of the Mountain and changed into clean, dry clothes and drove to Washington, DC to visit my oldest daughter and her hubby to see their new home, arriving after midnight. Next morning, I drove to Harpers Ferry and was there at the Shenandoah River bridge when my other hiking party of 3 guys walked out of the West Virginia woods. This was actually their trip to finish the SNP and hike to HF. I merely tagged along to springboard up to finish PA. We spent the rest of the day in HF on R&R, spent the night at the Town's Inn (where my wife and I stayed last year when I hiked Maryland) and drove home to Nashville the next day (yesterday).

Today I napped a lot! LOL

I can't forget to thank Iceman, aka "Angle" on WB, and his lovely wife, Barb, for allowing me to stay in their home in Lancaster before the hike and shuttling me and G.Hawk to Swatara Gap and then my vehicle to DWG on Sunday. HFers and WBers are the best!!!

Rain Man

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Rain Man
04-21-2013, 20:01
Photo Album of trip. (http://www.meetup.com/NashvilleBackpacker/photos/all_photos/?photoAlbumId=14427972)

I posted 172 photos, each with a caption, which constitute the bulk of my trip report. I have not yet proofed them, so feel free to shoot me corrections.

Enjoy!

Rain Man

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