Pennsylvania (7 states hiked 7 to go)

Pennsylvania also called “Rocksylvania” by many hikers was full of exciting days. We visited state parks, swam in lakes, rivers, creeks, and local pools, climbed many rock scrambles, saw plenty of snakes, and even found a side trail to a ski resort’s bar and grill. All this while making 20 mile days and moving strong. The girls hit their stride.

The girls ran between Caledonia and Pine Grove Furnace State park as they were excited to hit the half way ice cream challenge and the swimming lake at the other end. We were there over Memorial Day weekend and saw the summer crowds start to come out. So great to see so many families out enjoying the trail. In the parks, we had the opportunity to swim in the creeks and the lake. The sand was a welcome sight and the girls had an AT sand castle built as soon as we hit the beach!

20 years ago at the Boiling Springs AT Center, I sat on this swing with Earl Shafer! (The first official thru-hiker). What a treat to now have my whole family here.

Boiling Springs also had their local pool open and we arrived just in time for the last hour of swimming. The girls loved the water slides and hiked on in the evening to dry off!

Yes, the trail was rocky but we also enjoyed some great views and the rock scrambles and climbs (though often exhausting on the feet).

We walk right through towns, cross the roads and freeways sometimes even under the overpassed and over the bridges. Here we are crossing the Juanita River in Duncannon to be followed by three freeways meeting together and a railroad crossing. We had to grab the girls as the train was coming and though they have become very observant of the tiny wonders in nature they forget about the big cars and trains that could run us over. We are safer in the woods 😊.

In Pennsylvania we were hit with some of the crazy storms that have been passing through the country. We were fortunate to be slackpacking on one of the wettest days and missed a tornado by a few miles. We made it into town and sheltered in place at the Hershey’s Factory. There were so many people, it felt like a zoo and definitely overwhelmed us coming from the solidarity of the trail.

In Port Clinton we went swimming in the river. The girls even got a few fellow thru-hikers to take the plunge with them. So much fun after a long day hiking. We also enjoyed a great all you can eat pasta dinner at the firehouse’s annual fundraiser!

Pulpit Rock. Great view with more snakes! The girls saw 2 copperheads and a rattlesnake!

Sister Bunny lost her first tooth! Her sisters spent much time trying to pull it out. The Sparkle Machine finally pulled it on top of The Pinnacle. (We were right next to a rattlesnake and copper head. It was one exciting moment!!!). And the tooth fairy found us. She dusted her in fairy dust, brought a gold coin, and a small bunny to play with on the trail!

We have talked about US history, but there is also the geologic history. Here we are at Wolf Rocks. The southern terminus of the ice age, thus all the rocks of “Rocksylvania”.

Lehigh Gap provided one of the girls favorite rock climb/scrambles. We had to help each other up and over some of the rocks, but the girls ended asking for more and were surprised how fast they passed through all the rocks.

We “skied” down a side slope to the Blue Mountain Resort slope side bar and grill. What a treat!!

Can you read that? Well with great excitement the sign read less than 1000 miles to Katahdin, Maine!! We are on our way.

What a great state line experience… The girls had a blast trying to get all of the trucks and cars to honk and share in their excitement of passing into New Jersey!

… and for the here and now …. this week we did get full packs back on and have hiked into Vermont. Everyone is in good health.😊 …more to come. So grateful for everyone’s support, prayers, and well wishes. Northward now and can you believe the girls have started counting down the days until Maine!

We hike on!!

Author: Jamie “Sunshine”

To awaken to a beautiful dream one day become reality is the day millions of us wait and hope for. Setting goals and pushing ourselves to the limit, we have all challenged ourselves and our systems of life to see our goals in action. In March of 2019, waking a long envisioned dream, our family of 6 will set out on the 2000+ mile Appalachian Trail (AT). The trail covers 14 states and will take 6 months to complete. This dream began over 20 years ago, in 1999 when I set up the Awaking Dreams Fund with the National Brain Injury Association in my brother, Kyle’s name. I raised over $10,000 and set out and completed a thru-hike of the AT. Five years after that my husband, sister and I set out on a thru-paddle of the Connecticut River and raised money for Casa Colinas, a rehabilitation hospital that facilitated outdoor adventures for their patients. My brother, Kyle fought his battle for 20 years and passed away in February of 2017. We will continue to hike in his honor and his name attempting to complete the trail on his birthday. However, this adventure will be of a different caliber, as Chris and I will set out with our four daughters ages 5, 7, 10 &12. I have envisioned this hike since my thru-hike in 1999 when I traveled with a father and his two sons for a few days. The boys were ages 9 & 11. They were adventurous, excited, connected to nature and so curious and educated about the natural world around us. I have long hoped for such an amazing experience for my girls. We have done a great deal of planning, preparing, and talking . . Now is the Time!

One thought on “Pennsylvania (7 states hiked 7 to go)”

  1. It is an unbelievable experience for you all. You see more in a week than we see in a year. Happy Trails to you all.


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