I passed my friends today. I really enjoyed having companionship for a few days but I cannot afford to hike their pace.
So I am at the shelter alone again, nice fire rolling.
Today I hiked up on a lifeless ridgeline which was contaminated by a heavy metal processing plant just down the mountain. Now declared and EPA Superfund site, zinc and cadmium and other metals I guess made it nearly impossible for life to grow up here. Since the plant ran for nearly a century, the damage is pretty significant. The ridgeline is just a grassy plain with a few evergreen trees growing. Lifeless stumps scatter the plain, evidence that a forest did grow here some 100 years ago.
I dropped down into Lehigh gap to cross the Lehigh river. This descent is said to be one of the hardest sections south of New Hampshire but I don’t think I recall anything quite that insane anywhere. If I ever meet the guy who decided it would be a good idea to put a trail going down that 60 degree boulder field with crumbling scree, first I would shake his hand. I would say “Sir, that was so much fun. I really enjoyed myself, you gave me quite a challenge, mix things up a bit.” Then seconds later I would slap him across the face as hard as I could. ” Are you insane?! I could have died up there! One misstep and my leg is lodged in two boulders, me dangling, sheer cliff beneath me, my spot satellite messenger with its 911 button a mere foot away from the furthest reach of my hand. Seriously man! Get real. The Appalachian trail conservancy gives you 10 miles of trail to establish and maintain and look where you put it!”