Hello. We are Robert and Candice Fox. We created this blog for people who want to follow us as we thru-hike the Appalachian Trail. If you don't know what the Appalachian Trail is, we will let our favorite online resources tell you most anything you need to know. Just click on the blue stuff.

*** As this blog is a couple of years old, please follow our latest adventures via our new and infinitely more awesome blog here: ***

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Legend of the Beer Stein

If I came across a little depressed in the previous blog, that's because I was. We had read once that when a vagabond loses something they use while traveling, it's a big deal because every item you have with you is extremely valuable. Double that with the fact that the item had captured memories on a trip of a lifetime and it is a very sentimental loss. Triple that with pounding feet because of these damn rocks and, well, it's like walking onto a flaming bag of poo on your front porch in middle of the might. Stupid Pennsylvania. Or so I thought...

The day didn't seem like it was going to get much better. We left the strange town of Slatington, PA and had to tackle the difficult climb out of Lehigh Gap. It was the most straight-up rock climbing we have had to do yet. Rob is pretty good with heights. I, on the other hand, have a tendency to get sweaty-palmed and freeze up. At one point, I had to stop what I was doing, take a deep breath, and get myself mentally okay. If we were just out for a jaunt up the hill, that would be one thing. It's a whole other thing to climb with a 25-30 pound backpack on that throws your weight around. After completing this challenge, we both agreed that it was one of the most fun stretches of trail yet. While I was scared out of my mind at parts, it's something about the adrenaline rush that made me want to do it again. Maybe without a pack though.
The climb up Lehigh Gap
 The crappy part came when we ran out of water. PA is really dry this time of year so many springs aren't flowing. Not that we would have wanted to fill up here as this whole mountain is a superfund site (meaning that the government is trying to revitalize the habitat since it was destroyed from zinc smelting from 1890 to 1980). Not good. We had to night hike to the next water source 5 miles away. I think that the dehydration we were feeling was all mental. We (or maybe just me) felt like a mental patient with half a brain. Either way, we were completely exhausted going to bed at 11:30 pm once we finally filled up and regained our sanity.

That was the bad part. Things were on the up-and-up upon arrival to Wind Gap, PA. After starting a load of laundry, Rob, Sap, Vice Grip, and I went over to this place called "The Beer Stein". The name in itself should be an indicator of the good times shared at this place. But oh no. It wasn't because of the beer. It was because of the AMAZING owner, Kerry. Not only did he let us camp in the flat, grassy backyard (grass=cushion), he opened the kitchen up to us in the morning and let us cook ANYTHING we wanted. Anything including filet mignon, fresh clams, shrimp, eggs, and every single vegetable you can think of. His philosophy was simply that after walking 1200+ miles, our bodies are lacking nutrition and should let our eyes decide what we need to regain our health. Oh... I forgot only the most important part of this all. This amazing service was provided to us for... waaait for it... for FREE. He stated that if we wanted him to cook for us, he would charge us. If we cooked it ourselves, he wouldn't. The only stipulation was that HE had to do the dishes. What nonsense! So we did just this as he left us alone in his restaurant for three hours eating and watching movies on TV. This place was worth hiking over the hellacious rocks to get to and was perhaps the best trail magic yet.

PA rocks. Literally and figuratively.

That morning, er afternoon, we headed on to Delaware Water Gap. The last town in PA before crossing into New Jersey. Conversation between the four of us helped time fly by a little faster even though we had to, once again, hike into the night. We did see some awesome hang gliders on the way.

Our next adventure?

Delaware Water Gap was a cute town. We did a quick resupply and purchased a new camera. The town wasn't really given much attention though as we hurried onto New Jersey in hopes that the rocks would slowly subside.

They did.


Upon arriving to Culver Lake, our bodies and minds were drained. We enjoyed a near-o day at an overpriced motel to boost our spirits. We enjoyed watching the Olympics for the first time (we're so sadly out of touch) and a great dinner with Sap and Vice Grip that Vice Grip so kindly grilled for us all.

New Jersey was only 72 miles long so it went by quickly. Before reaching NJ, all I thought of was busy cities and "Jersey Shore". We were glad to see that it was so much more than that. The countryside was surprisingly beautiful and there were many boardwalks through marshy areas. There were also many trail angels who wanted us to know that "Not all people from Joisey are assholes".

New Jersey's Boardwalks

Eager to get another state out of the way, we crossed out of NJ today and into the great state of New York. Some of the Southbounders that we have been meeting along the way were telling us that you feel like you are in a scene straight out of "The Last of the Mohicans". They were right. We even hum the theme song while we hike and pretend our trekking poles are rifles. We get a little bored sometimes.

The trail brings to us so many highs and so many lows. Such as life I suppose. I guess what we're learning is that the views at the top are what makes the climb up to them so worthwhile.

- Candice -

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