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Saturday–July 17, 2021
Location–Smith Gap Road, then to Blue Mountain Dome Hostel, John Mechanical Man & Linda Crayon Lady Stempa, Kunkletown, AT Mile 1,272.5
I’d gotten a large egg and cheese sandwich at the Kunkletown Deli last evening and that goes in the microwave for breakfast this morning. After shuttling some other hikers, Mechanical Man gets St. Paul and me back to Lehigh Gap at eight.
The climb to the ridge is preparatory for what’s ahead in New England, steep hand-over-hand up through the maze of bluff-like rock. I remember this climb well from 1998. It was difficult for me then. I recall looking up at the white blazes above, reassuring myself, “The trail builders got up there with a brush and a bucket of paint; I can make it too!” St. Paul is climbing above me and I follow his path–looking up, never down. The climb takes half-an-hour, to reach ground I can actually stand up on again.
Once on the ridge, the trail follows an old woods road beside the near-vertical bluff with great views down and into Lehigh Valley. Raspberry bushes are loaded with ripe berries all along and I pick and eat my fill.
Leaving the old road, the trail immediately re-enters the rock-strewn ridge, and there it pretty much remains the rest of the day.
End of the hiking day, coming out of the woods at Smith Gap Road where Mechanical Man is waiting patiently for me–trail magic! The family and friends, and in memory of Kyle Blaze Coons who thru-hiked the AT in 2019 (kindred Hiker Trash). A pleasure meeting his loving family and friends, sitting with them a short while.
Great to be back at Blue Mountain Dome Hostel for the night. Thanks, Mechanical Man!
God will wipe away every tear from their eyes,
and death shall be no more,
neither shall there be mourning, nor crying,
nor pain anymore,
for the former things have passed away.