Posts Tagged With: Palmerton

Congratulations Beaker!

Today’s post is a tribute to Rusty Miller, a chemist from West Virginia, and his thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. He began his journey on February 26, 2017 and crossed his finish line on September 12, 2017 for a total of 189 days.  Many of you have followed my blog and his adventures over the past seven months. This post will be a photo diary of this man’s trip across 14 states and his 5 million steps to the finish line. All of these pictures come from Beaker’s online journal found at:

He began at Springer Mountain, Georgia with red shirt and kilt.

North Carolina brought the Smoky Mountains and cold weather.

Tennessee included a bike ride in Erwin to do some laundry and a lovely waterfall with hiking buddy, 1st Sgt.

There’s always a possibility of snow in April in Virginia, but the wild ponies of Grayson Highlands are always a highlight of a thru-hike.

Becker actually sold his home in WV and bought a new one in Knoxville while on the trail. He took three weeks off trail to move his home from West Virginia to Tennessee. This gave him an opportunity to change his trail persona.

Harpers Ferry, WV is the home of the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the emotional half-way point of the trail. The true, linear, half way point is in Pine Grove Furnace State Park in Pennsylvania.

The month of June brought the rocky trails of PA, NJ, and NY.

July led Beaker above tree-line in New Hampshire.

August 12 was the day for Mount Katahdin, Maine, the northern terminus of the AT.

20. Mount K

Beaker on lower left

After Katahdin, Beaker went home to Tennessee for two weeks before completing a section of Virginia that he skipped on his NOBO journey to Maine. He returned to the trail on August 27 to complete his 2,200 mile trek of the Appalachian Trail. Moving SOBO, he was dropped off in Waynesboro, VA. by his son, Zack, hiked 315 miles in 19 days, and finished his adventure in Adkins, Virginia at The Barn Restaurant.

What a great journey! I give Beaker a standing ovation and two thumbs up.

Categories: Adkins, Appalachian Trail, Appalachian Trail Conservancy, Beaker, Dover Oak, Erwin, Georgia, Grayson Highlands, Harpers Ferry, Maine, McAfee Knob, Mount Katahdin, Mount Moosilauke, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Palmerton, Pine Grove Furnace, Springer Mountain, Tennessee, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Jail House Hostel

George OuterbridgeOn day eighty-three of my thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail in 2014, I decided to call it a day at George W. Outerbridge Shelter just south of Palmerton, PA. It was a small shelter that was designed to sleep six but when I arrived I was alone in the hut. I had just taken off my backpack and removed my food bag when a fellow thru-hiker showed up. I had met this drummer with dreadlocks the night before at the Allentown Hiking Club Shelter. He was a very quiet young man and our conversation was little more than an introduction.

As I was opening my food bag to select a delectable delight for dinner, I asked the drummer if he was planning on spending the night in the shelter. No, he said he was just grabbing a quick bite to eat and then he was headed to a free hostel in Palmerton (1.2 miles ahead). Free! Hostel! I immediately started to pack up and asked if I could tag along.

Within an hour we were in downtown Palmerton and standing at the door of Jail House Hostel. Located at 443 Delaware Avenue is the city’s town hall and in the basJailhouse hostelement of this municipal building is a hostel with free showers and a bunkroom for tired pilgrims like us. It has a tile floor, block walls and six bunk-beds situated along the walls. It is not fancy but all I was looking for was a warm place to sleep and a restaurant nearby to satisfy my hunger. And the cost was perfect!

From time to time, the hostel, run by volunteers from the town itself, would put together little “gift baskets” for the hikers with shampoo and soaps and toothpaste. I had not timed my visit to coincide with the welcome basket but I thought the idea was more than just thoughtful. Being city property, there were some common sense rules: no alcohol, no dogs inside, and leave the place as clean as you found it – pretty easy, pretty simple.

I had an enjoyable to stay in the hostel, but my new found hiking friend did not. About 10:00 pm, the typical time for “lights out” for hikers, a half-hysterical, half-enraged female hiker came into the bunk-room claiming a peeping tom had watched her take her shower. Within minutes the authorities arrived and escorted my now ex-buddy out of town. He was a bit odd, but most people who consider hiking 2,200 miles are. I felt badly for the young lady, who ended up getting off the trail for a while but managed to return and complete her thru-hike. It was a negative experience and I couldn’t help but think that behavior like this gives thru-hikers a bad name.

Evidently the town agreed with me. My acquaintance, it appears, was not the only idiot who demonstrated poor judgment in Palmerton, because after 40 years of ministry to thru-hikers, Jail House Hostel closed its doors due to the misbehavior taking place at the facility. There are no other comparable places to stay in Palmerton so this closing will cause a significant shift in strategy for many hikers. The town is not pointing to any single incident, rather just years of accumulated frustration and expenses. I find this sad news…. sad for the hiking community, sad for Palmerton, and sad for the reputation of many fine men and women who travel from Georgia to Maine.

Hostel Photo found at

Categories: Appalachian Trail, Georgia, Hiking, Jail House Hostel, Maine, Palmerton, Pennsylvania, Shelter, Thru-Hike, Trail Etiquette | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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