The Pennsylvania AT is notorious for being rocky (in fact, our friend Rocky got his trail name just by admitting that he was from PA). In reality, the southwestern part of the state is some pretty nice walking: some rocks, but mostly smooth trail. The northeast part of the state, however, is truly rocky. And the rocks are varied. From small rocks studding the dirt path to large boulders covering the trail for miles, to large slabs at awkward angles. It is quite a workout for feet and ankles alike.
Don’t get me wrong, this part of the state has some beautiful vistas and fun scrambling (we all enjoyed, the Knife’s Edge, Balance Rocks, and Bears Rock), but the trouble is you have miles of rock walking in between the fun parts. Even the kids seemed to be getting tired of the rocks. Mix in the heat and humidity, and it can make for some sweat-soaked, ankle-banging hiking.
The kids did enjoy being able to lift up the stacked Balance Rocks as they pivoted on their fulcrum. And as the heat tapered off in the evening everyone’s moods improved. After dinner we even stumbled across some trail magic in the form of fresh fruit: oranges and bananas. It was the perfect end to a long day. Tomorrow we’re hoping for an early start to try to ascend a steep climb before the heat of the day sets in.