AT – Days 34 to 36 – Malto

DATE:  Nov. 19 to 2120121123-142256.jpg

START:  Leroy A. Smith Shelter, PA

FINISH:  PA 325 Clark Creek

DISTANCE:  108.5 miles (174.6 km)

DAILY AVERAGE:  36.2 miles (58.2 km)

TOTAL DISTANCE:  1024.4 miles (1648.3 km)

Malto: During this section I was joined periodically by Greg “Malto” Gressel (see photo below). A PCT veteran, class of 2011, Malto is one of the most enthusiastic, knowledgable and strongest hikers I have met during the course of the 12 Long Walks. A big thanks to Greg for his company on trail and his wonderful hospitality off of it. Best of luck for your future calendar year Triple Crown attempt!

Pennsylvania Rocks: I’m speaking geologically more than metaphorically. There is no denying that the 230 mile stretch through PA is quite rocky, however, it’s nowhere near as bad as many hikers would have you believe (see Hiker Hype below). For much of PA, the trail follows a relatively flat, fire pit strewn and, yes, rocky ridge, which at this time of year affords almost continuous vistas of the surrounding countryside. Who knew there were so many farms in PA?

Hiker Hype: Long distance hikers are like fishermen. Generally speaking, an exaggeration factor of between 25 and 30% needs to be taken into account whenever you hear them talk about how difficult a certain section either was, is or will be. Well known Triple Crown examples of this phenomena include: the rocks of PA, the 100 mile wilderness in ME, Sierra snow levels on the PCT and pretty much the entire CDT. As a general rule of thumb, the difficulty of any given section is relative to the experience of the person telling the story. In other words, for those in the planning stages of an upcoming thru hike, don’t worry yourself too much about what lies ahead as chances are it’s not as bad as others have made out. Be as prepared as you possibly can be mentally, physically and logistically and then simply hit the trail.













4 Replies to “AT – Days 34 to 36 – Malto”

  1. He writes, “and pretty much the entire CDT.” SPEAK FOR YOURSELF! (I am not offended here in the slightest bit, I just had to take a crack at your witty writing, which I absolutely love by the way). I will say the CDT was significantly more challenging that in needed to be. Overall I would say I was 70% mentally prepared, 90% physically prepared and 30% logistically prepared. Navigationally I was lucky to be 15% prepared in those early weeks. I simply DID hit the trail. In seemed to work out fine and I feel I have come along way as a hiker.


    1. My Dear Speed stick,
      In your particular case an iron will, an open mind and a deep love of being out in the wilderness more than compensated until your map/compass/route finding skills began to improve in leaps and bounds!
      There are indeed many paths which lead to the same place.

  2. Cam,
    Glad to see you added a down jacket to your pack! Is that the Mont-Bell U.L. parka. I love that piece. I bought those Dynamo wind pants you were sporting when we met. They are great and I almost never leave home without them when venturing into the backcountry. Hope to hear from you soon. Take care my friend!

    -Joseph French

    1. Hey Joe
      Great to hear from you!
      The down jacket (courtesy of Bamboo Bob) was indeed a welcome addition. A lot of warmth packed into 9 ounces.
      Good to hear the wind pants are going well. My only advice is to never glissade in them………I tore the ass out of my first pair and was almost arrested for public indecency during my next town stop (the perils of not carrying underwear).

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