Phelps Trail, near Danielsville, PA Travel Blog› entry 30 of 83 › view all entries
Today was a hard day. Probably the hardest since we have been out here. For a while now, we have been hearing about the climb out of Lehigh Gap, and how difficult it is. So, we knocked out the 11 miles to the shelter before the climb with little incident. There, we met Hansel and Gretel for lunch (very good timing) and they told us alla bout the climb we were about to undertake.
The mountain we were about to climb - Dead Mountain as I call it - is directly down wind of a zinc smeltery. Word of the Day: smeltery. So everything on the mountain was dead, all that was left were rocks. I mean PA is rocky, but this was orders of magnitude worse. I mean a 1.5 mile rock scramble straight up isn't that bad, but you add the intense direct sunlight and 90+ degree temperatures, you have a mega climb.
This climb was weird. It was like the mars landscape in "Total Recall". Just red rocks everywhere. We took care of it with plenty of breaks and once we were at the top, just continued on a dirt/gravel road for what seemed like forever. This mountain was D-E-A-D. Almost no plant or animal life for like three miles. But we toughed it out and arrived at Little Gap, where we planned to camp. But there is no water. Uh-oh. This is bad news. Since no one has much, if any, water remaining. So the options are: 1) hitch into the grocery store in town and buy enough water for the night, OR 2) push on 5 more miles to a spring at the junction with the Phelps Trail. We decided to keep walking. 5:00p.m. was when we left, and it was a 2.5 hour walk that seemed to take F-O-R-E-V-E-R. But we finally arrived. Overjoyed. We grab out water bottles and pimp and head down the mountain to the spring... which is dry. Weird thing is that I had a feeling it would be dry. Who knew. So now the options are: 2 miles to another spring, or camp dry. We chose the latter. No water, no dinner, sleeping in the heat and waking up at first light to get our drink on.
Being dehydrated sucks. Add in the fact that I have on kidney (Uno) and I feel the effects even more quickly. So here I am, dizzy, discomboblated, about to yak, and VERy thristy. About to fall asleep.
Make sure to drink enough water...