So Baked Oven Knob was pretty gross, even for low hiker standards.
Wore my fleece to bed, even though i was hot, because I was convinced
things were going to crawl on me. And we didnt even know about the
snakes (duh, if we had, we would have made the effort to tent - found
out about the snakes later through other hikers, who had crazy photos
wrangling the snake out). In fact, the last couple PA shelters were
crappy. All had trash and looked like the clubs taking care of them
didnt give a damn. The club members probably didnt like hiking that
part of the trail any more than we did to get to the shelters....ha.
Anway, Lehigh Gap. When we hiked down into the gap, you could see the
rocky mountain in front of you, across a bridge. I didnt even read
ahead to see what was in store, but knowing PA, Iknew immediately that
these bastards were going to make us climb that.
But first, food. The trail leads you within a mile of three towns,
something must be close by. Out come the smart phones....Nope.
Nothing. Not even a taco stand (I really kept saying that to
Adam...."not even a taco stand??? They'd make a killing out here").
While debating hitching for food, another hiker appears from a car -
Lone Wolf McQuaid...a character and story all in himself. Was a self
proclaimed moocher who sustained off of cash given to him from other
hikers and the drivers who give him a lift. So when he offered to go
with us to town to get food, the decision to just keep hiking was
So we started. First bit was in the shade of the trees, not too bad.
Then we reach the exposed rocks and we cant believe what they're
asking us to do with full packs on (not sure who exactly "they" are
but i yell at "them" a lot, regardless). And then I run out of water,
and so does Adam. I'd like to say we were so distracted by Lone Wolf,
but really we were just idiots. We both had a little reserve water but
this looked like a long climb in the sun, in the hottest part of the
day....so we keep going and keep scrambling. Hopefully the photos give
some context, because this shit was steep. It might have been fun for
a day hike, but when you have a 35 pound pack trying to pull you down,
it gets less fun. But finally, we reach the top of the ridge! We can
see Palmerton on the other side, a random american flag grafitti that
no one from the bottom could possibly see, and a really ridiculous
path that we're supposed to keep following. In fact, you cant call it
a path. We had to stop every other rock to make sure we were still ON
the path. But finally, we reach the real top of the mountain. And it
Apparently this mountain was mined for zinc for a century and was so
incredibly destroyed that the EPA put it on its Superfund List. Not
exactly sure what that means beyond that the mountain has been in
"recovery" mode ever since. For 30 years. Looking at the current state
of devastion made you wonder what it looked like when they started the
This all also means the water sources were iffy, and there wasn't much
of anything anyway, so we were still SOL. A road to a town was 3 miles
Longest 3 miles ever. It was like PA had something to prove, like
someone had challenged their "rockiness" at some point. Except at one
point, where the trail followed old mining roads. No rocks, but i
think we stopped every 5 min to pull off ticks. That road also
happened to be on the edge of the mountain, overlooking all the towns
we could have been in, with water....
So by the time we got to the road, neither one of us were too happy.
Adam probably would have gotten on a plane to the nearest beach if it
was possible. But instead we hitched to a nearby restaurant, with the
nicest guy, Colemanwho offered us a ride back to the trail later, on
his way back from picking up his kids from day care. He also said he
would put us up at his house but his wife was "weird about those kinds
of things." Ha
Its amazing how food, water, and really cool interactions with nice
people can change everything. Well, we still weren't super excited
about hiking the rest of the day, but it definitely helped.