Our seventh hike started mildly, with warm dry weather. Since the
forecast was for nice weather, we could pack less heavy clothes and we planned
to complete the full remaining 50 miles in about 5 days.
We got started August 31, 2002 at about 3:12 pm in our shorts and smiles.
We made pretty good time even though we started kind of late and got to the Bake
Oven Knob overlook and shelter before dark.
The girls slept in as usual in the shelter and we got started. We passed
several nice overlooks under the cloudy sky.
It wasn't long though till the rain started.
The only place along the entire Pennsylvania section that we commonly passed in
our non-hiking lives was the trail where it passes along the top of the mountain
that the Pennsylvania Turnpike's tunnel goes through. I had been telling
the girls for a couple years, "Soon we will be crossing along that ridge up
there." Well, we finally crossed over that ridge and the rain and clouds
were so thick we could hear, but not see, the turnpike below. That was
sad. The photo above is looking to the north at where the turnpike is
supposed to be down below.
We kept hiking and by late afternoon, we were soaked and cold. The
forecast was for continued rain and possible thunder storms. The next
several miles of the hike after Lehigh Gap was to pass over a burned out Super
Fund site with no cover. For safety sake, I decided to cut this hike short
and not attempt to climb the East side of the Lehigh Gap rock wall in rain with
likely lightning. I called in the choppers (Cheryl) to meet us early at
Route 145 at the Lehigh Gap.
While hiking to the pick up spot, we stopped for a while at the George W.
Overbridge shelter to try to dry out some of out clothes. It didn't work.
When we got to the bottom of Blue Mountain at Lehigh Gap, we could see the
ominous peak we were to climb next, shrouded in clouds and rain.