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  1. #1
    NJdreamer's Avatar
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    Default Insight about PA to NJ Section Hike Wanted - Lehigh Gap to Millbrook-Blairstown Road

    I am planning a section hike for PA sections 1 & 2 and NJ section 5, Lehigh Gap to Millbrook-Blairstown Road. With this trip, I will complete PA and reach 500+ miles. It will probably be sometime late October to late December, when the weather has a mild period and my schedule is open. (When I have a tentative date, I will likely post a separate meetup note, to see if anyone wants to share shuttle costs.)

    From looking at the profile, it looks like northbound would be best. Can anyone comment on this? Lehigh Gap has a 1000 foot elevation change, as does Delaware Water Gap, though that one is more gradual. Also, how scary is Lehigh Gap (for those of us who don't particularly like heights) as compared to Knife Edge in PA and similar places? (I did complete Lehigh Gap south to parts of Virginia.)

    This looks like a 4 day 3 night or possibly 3 day 2 night trip. Any comments? I have Guthooks and a number of other resources to look into the shelters, Mohican and other camp spots, just haven't yet.

    Thanks.
    Just love being outside, not sure why. 765 AT miles done (2014-2018), many more to go.

  2. #2

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    Just got back from doing CT, NY and NJ as well as into PA for 31 miles stopping 6 miles short of Lehigh Gap.
    Water is scarce. only passed 1 water source in 31 miles of northern PA, and it was .5 mile off trail down the hill and Leroy Smith Shelter.

    Climb out of DWG: Not bad at all.
    Lehigh Gap: Reason we stopped at Little Gap was because it was storming, and we did not want to have to crawl down Lehigh on the wet rocks and weather if we did not have to.

    I would say overall your biggest concern should be water, and I personally would rather climb up Lehigh Gap then have to crawl down it. Just my preference though.

    Shuttle: Contact George Lightcap he is a top notch shuttle guy and about the only one in the area I know of in the New Jersey Area.
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    AT Map 1 Completion: 1818.9 Springer, GA - Franconia Notch, NH
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  3. #3
    Registered User Grunt's Avatar
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    Gambit is right on about the water.... AWOL's guide is accurate so plan accordingly. Just got home from doing DWG to Port Clinton and I can tell you that climbing up and down at Lehigh Gap is pretty intimidating and I thought I was 'hard core'. I've not experienced anything like it from Springer to there.... the rocks will be an extra burden on your feet so make sure you got footwear with a protective plate and good grip.

  4. #4
    Registered User Grunt's Avatar
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    Forgot to add that the camping is everywhere. There are a few mentioned in AWOL's but you can pick and choose between many many wonderful campsites.... just have water with you as they are ALL dry.

  5. #5
    Registered User QuietStorm's Avatar
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    I hiked PA from September to March last year, both Nobo and SOBO. I did Lehigh Gap Nobo. Climbing up looks easier. In NJ I stayed at Mohican, Mashipacong, and Wawayanda. Recommend all three.


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  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Grunt View Post
    Gambit is right on about the water.... AWOL's guide is accurate so plan accordingly. Just got home from doing DWG to Port Clinton and I can tell you that climbing up and down at Lehigh Gap is pretty intimidating and I thought I was 'hard core'. I've not experienced anything like it from Springer to there.... the rocks will be an extra burden on your feet so make sure you got footwear with a protective plate and good grip.
    Duncannon to Lehigh Gap is my last section south of goose pond...I am due for a new pair of walkin shoes after this 240 miles I got home from doing yesterday and after walking in Northern PA for 30 miles I will be looking very closely for a good rock plated, wide toe shoe for sure. I underestimated the rocks and I am sure I didn't hit the worst of them in the 30 miles south of DWG...
    Trail Miles: 3,715.9
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    AT Map 1 Completion: 1818.9 Springer, GA - Franconia Notch, NH
    AT Map 2 Completion: 263.8 Gaps From GA - PA

  7. #7

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    The climb out of Lehigh gap is a bit intimidating if your not used to steep, exposed rock scrambles. Or it can be a whole lot of fun. But only in good weather. In any case, you don't want to go down it. Up is always less scary. Stop and hold onto something if you want to look around and check out the view. There is a winter by-pass which can be used in bad weather. It brings you up the side of the ridge in a more gradual fashion and comes out a little south of the metalica spring.

    Some of the worst rocks are in this section, be sure to have sturdy shoes with a stiff sole or your feet will turn into hamburger. Lots of campsites? Not that I remember. Big rocks were scattered over the ground both sides of the trail everywhere. I was SO glad to be done with that section so that I could walk normal again, instead of staggering rock to rock like a drunken sailor.

    Looks like 50 miles, which might be hard to do in 4 days given the short hours of daylight. Of course, you can bail at the DWG or Wind Gap for that matter. The lack of water will be the real issue. These are dry ridges at the best of times. You will have to carry a lot of water and go out of your way to find it. The water source for Kirkridge will likely have been turned off for the winter. Having to watch where you step, every step of the way, slows you down too.

    Personally, I'd wait until spring to hike that section.
    The AT - It has it's ups and downs...

  8. #8
    NJdreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slo-go'en View Post
    The climb out of Lehigh gap is a bit intimidating if your not used to steep, exposed rock scrambles. Or it can be a whole lot of fun. But only in good weather. In any case, you don't want to go down it. Up is always less scary. Stop and hold onto something if you want to look around and check out the view. There is a winter by-pass which can be used in bad weather. It brings you up the side of the ridge in a more gradual fashion and comes out a little south of the metalica spring.

    Some of the worst rocks are in this section, be sure to have sturdy shoes with a stiff sole or your feet will turn into hamburger. Lots of campsites? Not that I remember. Big rocks were scattered over the ground both sides of the trail everywhere. I was SO glad to be done with that section so that I could walk normal again, instead of staggering rock to rock like a drunken sailor.

    Looks like 50 miles, which might be hard to do in 4 days given the short hours of daylight. Of course, you can bail at the DWG or Wind Gap for that matter. The lack of water will be the real issue. These are dry ridges at the best of times. You will have to carry a lot of water and go out of your way to find it. The water source for Kirkridge will likely have been turned off for the winter. Having to watch where you step, every step of the way, slows you down too.

    Personally, I'd wait until spring to hike that section.
    Seems like a good idea, to wait. If I manage to get time, unless the weather is very warm again, I will finish up some miles in Virginia, and complete my PA miles in the spring. I would likely day pack up Lehigh Gap, then backpack the rest with plenty of water.
    Thanks everyone for the input. It is very helpful.
    Just love being outside, not sure why. 765 AT miles done (2014-2018), many more to go.

  9. #9
    Registered User ldsailor's Avatar
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    I hiked from Harper's Ferry to Wind Gap in September as part of an overall 750 mile NOBO section hike this year. Of the 1,278 mile total I've done, Lehigh Gap is ingrained as the most dangerous part of my hike so far (I'm sure the Whites will supplant that).

    My encounter with Lehigh Gap started as follows. I got a shuttle from Bob at Bert's Restaurant in Palmerton to Wind Gap. Although my hike has been all NOBO up to this point, I changed the direction to SOBO so I could finish in Palmerton where I was staying at Bert's. I started the 20 mile hike at 9:00 AM. The hike was relatively easy, but true to Pennsylvania's reputation, it was rocky.

    I had hoped to finish before dark, but I hit the Lehigh Gap boulder scramble at 7:30 PM. As it got dark, I lost the trail on the boulders. Long story short, I guessed the trail went down the stack of boulders when it actually went up to the ridge line and over the ridge. After pulling out my head lamp and navigation tools, I figured out what I did wrong and climbed hand over hand to the ridge where I found the white blazes. I thought I was home free but not so. It was almost a vertical climb down to the more desire rocky dirt path. I made it out of there and to Bob's waiting truck a little after 8:30 PM.

    The moral of the story is two fold. I'm told it's easier going NOBO and I believe the hikers who have said that. Second, you don't want to be caught on those boulders at night!
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  10. #10
    NJdreamer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ldsailor View Post
    I hiked from Harper's Ferry to Wind Gap in September as part of an overall 750 mile NOBO section hike this year. Of the 1,278 mile total I've done, Lehigh Gap is ingrained as the most dangerous part of my hike so far (I'm sure the Whites will supplant that).

    My encounter with Lehigh Gap started as follows. I got a shuttle from Bob at Bert's Restaurant in Palmerton to Wind Gap. Although my hike has been all NOBO up to this point, I changed the direction to SOBO so I could finish in Palmerton where I was staying at Bert's. I started the 20 mile hike at 9:00 AM. The hike was relatively easy, but true to Pennsylvania's reputation, it was rocky.

    I had hoped to finish before dark, but I hit the Lehigh Gap boulder scramble at 7:30 PM. As it got dark, I lost the trail on the boulders. Long story short, I guessed the trail went down the stack of boulders when it actually went up to the ridge line and over the ridge. After pulling out my head lamp and navigation tools, I figured out what I did wrong and climbed hand over hand to the ridge where I found the white blazes. I thought I was home free but not so. It was almost a vertical climb down to the more desire rocky dirt path. I made it out of there and to Bob's waiting truck a little after 8:30 PM.

    The moral of the story is two fold. I'm told it's easier going NOBO and I believe the hikers who have said that. Second, you don't want to be caught on those boulders at night!
    So glad you had a happy ending. I appreciate the advice.

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    Just love being outside, not sure why. 765 AT miles done (2014-2018), many more to go.

  11. #11

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    If you can handle the rocks, the good news is it is a lot of flat ridge walking. My backyard, so rocks don't bother me.

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