No ropes needed but they sure would have been nice

What a fantastic climb to start the day.  Lehigh Mountain in Slatington, PA is a rocky steep deforested ridge due to zinc smelting from 1898-1980 from the Palmerton Superfund site. 

Lehigh summit 1429ft

   It’s getting closer. 

Break time before the real work begins

  I stopped to rest and took a photo of hikers who passed me. Not because I was tired but because I needed a self pep-talk to calm my nerves. I just scaled a short section that I literally had 1 inch finger and toe holds to lift me up over a rock that was taller than myself. This is a class III climb. I didn’t know what that meant so I consulted my outdoor enthusiast niece, Stephanie last night and she replied, ” It means it’s steep, hand over foot scrambling, but rope not required. 

Class IV= rope may be needed (high risk of falls)

Class V = technical climbing.”

Ropes may not have been needed but they sure would have been nice. 

Climbing up the next section I couldn’t see where the trail went. It was just blue sky. It was the top so once there I bellied over it too chicken to stand up and began my descent. 



  It really was a great climb. It wouldn’t have been hard if it were not for the 30 pound pack strapped to my back. Once done I realized I didn’t look for snakes, not that it would have helped, the shaking of my nerves would have deafened any warning rattle from a viper sunning on the rocks. 

I lost one of my bandannas today. I heard a rattle in my pack and realized that should not be happening because I use one of my bandannas to quiet that. I stopped and it was gone. I dropped my poles and unloaded my pack from my shoulders leaving both on the trail side and headed back up the rocky trail until I found it. 

  There it was just a few feet from my last resting spot. So glad I found it. It was the one Mrs. Gilman’s class signed. Thank you St. Anthony, patron saint of lost items. 

I hiked into a blueberry patch loaded with succulent ripe wild small berries like the ones we have in Maine. I stopped and was so excited to take the time to indulge in nature’s treat. A hiker went by and I invited him to share in my stash and he politely refused reminding me that this area is contaminated due to the zinc. Shucks, I had forgotten that minor detail. I emptied my cup and proceeded hiking so disappointed. I felt like a kid in a candy store who had to put back all his chosen treats. 

The day ended with, you guest it, rocks most of the day. A 12.5 mile day took me 10 hrs. That just shows how bad the rocks have been. The morning’s climb was fun and fabulous but these other trail rocks are just agonizingly slow and painful. If it were easy though everyone would be hiking the A.T. 

I met Peter today. That was fun. He is from Germany. We hiked about 7 miles together

  He just started about 3 weeks ago headed to Katahdin then will flip flop and do the southern section afterwards. He said when he first saw me he knew I was nice. I was like his trail angel and provided trail magic. I asked how he was on food and he was low on snacks so I was more than happy to give him all my extra. 

We saw a beautiful doe and her spotted lamb. I never get tired of seeing deer, which is almost a daily experience. 

Pappa Bear picked me up at 5. I get a hot shower and sheets tonight. He brought extra water to share with hikers. Some stuck around until he arrived so they could fill up. A wonderful way to end another tough day. 

Happy Hiking

Emily M. Leonard

About Emily M. Leonard

I am a 50 year old Maine native and lover of the outdoors. Former Physical Education teacher and soccer coach. I am Married to the best husband ever and gave up teaching and coaching to raise our two wonderful sons. I have always enjoyed being outside and on the go.