The next morning, Bryson drives to Pennsylvania. Although he quickly realizes that the maps he bought are pure garbage (yummy), he begins his trek excitedly.
By the way, another famous murder happened in this neck of the woods. In 1988, two female lovers were shot by a bigoted hillbilly: only one survived. Needless to say, this makes Bryson miss Katz.
Bryson hears a noise "perhaps fifty feet into the woods" (2.14.11). He panics, assuming that it's Freddy Krueger or something, but is relieved to see a large buck emerge from the trees. Phew.
He spends the next day driving through Pennsylvania. He sees evidence everywhere of the state's once-profitable, but now environmentally catastrophic, coal mining industry.
Nowhere is that more evident than in Centralia. In 1962, a large fire spread to coal mines below the town and that fire still rages today. The city became a veritable wasteland since then, with large, smoking rifts erupting from the streets in a hellish fashion.
Bryson tries to find any stragglers who still live in the town, but comes up empty-handed.
Afterwards, he heads to Pemberton to see another amazing/heart-breaking sight—a mountain so contaminated by the local zinc mine that "it had been entirely stripped of vegetation" (2.14.35).
Bryson stops in a parking lot to look at the mountain. Suddenly, he's approached by a security guard who treats him rudely… and attempts to impound his car for zero reason.
After being saved by a nicer guard, Bryson high-tails it to the nearest entrance to the AT. This hike is a particularly big bummer, leading Bryson to vow to never hike the AT by car again.