I was warned about this state on a cold night in Georgia. We were sitting around a cozy fire and a section hiker told me that Pennsylvania would eat me alive. I remember brushing off the warning. Sure, it’s hard, but won’t I be a hiking machine by then?
Pennsylvania is rough. I have found it to be harder than any other state so far, even with its flat terrain. It’s hot, sunny, snake filled, rocky, and bug infested (they especially like to dive into my eyes).
I’m not really sure what keeps me going. Sometimes, it’s just little milestones. Pizza delivery at the 501 shelter, getting to sleep at the jailhouse hostel, and the constant yearning for the New Jersey border.
And there are some days, when even the milestones mean nothing.
On those days, I am only walking to be closer to Katahdin.
Every bead of sweat.
Brings me closer to you.
In a few hours, I push into my 8th state: New Jersey. Maybe I’ll have new things to complain about.. like bears. (Really! NJ has a lot of bears!)
You were a challenge. Thank you for making me stronger. You were an excellent training ground for the north and I’m proud to have hiked every mile.
A big thanks to all the trail angels in Pennsylvania! You helped me push through.