Next up in Boots & Backpacks, Darcy and Elizabeth end their visit with Marianne Dashwood and Chris Brandon, and climb back up from the Schuykill River Valley. The Appalachian Trail follows the ridge of the Blue Mountain for many miles, and there are many more boulder fields along the way.
Darcy and Elizabeth eventually need to stop for supplies and to do laundry. Where Interstate 81 and the Swatara Creek cross the trail, they hitchhike into Jonestown, Pennsylvania. The good Samaritans who pick up our backpackers happen to be siblings John and Isabella Thorpe! Hijinks ensue. But I won’t spoil any of the fun here. Let’s just say that Darcy and Elizabeth make a quick escape.
They head back onto the trail through Swatara State Park.
Now the Appalachian trail passes through the second largest roadless area in Pennsylvania, sometimes called St. Anthony’s Wilderness. But it wasn’t always so remote. The area is home to several ghost mining towns that went through a boom and bust in the 1800s. Ruins, cemeteries, and historical markers can be seen along the trail.
Darcy and Elizabeth emerge from St. Anthony’s Wilderness with a stronger partnership. The trail comes to the Susquehanna River, Pennsylvania’s largest. Hikers must cross the river via the Clark’s Ferry Bridge.
Next up on the trail: heading south from Duncannon.
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