Currently listening to : Just Another – Pete Yorn
So for all my wishing and pining for the woods and camping and hiking, I finally was able to make it happen in the last couple weeks. Two weeks ago, I ended up at Hickory Run, PA for a day-long hiking session, and the following week was jetting up to Rickett’s Glen for an overnight and another day of hiking.
Hickory Run was fabulous, and in a total of 4 trails was able to traverse about 14 1/2 miles. Total time (not counting breaks between trail hikes) was an unbelievable 4 1/2 hours. Pretty impressive. Hiked three miles out to a boulder field, where at 10:00 AM was able to sit and bask in the morning sunlight. Without a single cloud in the sky. And with the exception of a few children running over these rocks like they were running on air (quite unlike my own ungainly attempts at walking on unstable rocks and boulders, that’s for sure. I was much more concerned about twisting or breaking an ankle than those youngsters seemed to be!), it was quite.
Leaning against an angled rock still cool from the previous night’s air, the touch of the stone contrasted the warmth of the morning sun and the bright blue, cloudless sky. Butterflies appeared out of nowhere…seemingly drawn to that particular spot, smack in the middle of this gigantic field, and fluttered about in circles just above.
[The pathway from the wooded trail down to the boulder field]
[View from the end of the trail out onto the boulder field…notice the perfect sky]
After about an hour break, just laying on the rocks and relaxing, the trek back up the trail, 3 1/2 miles back, began. It only took an hour each way to hike that distance, despite the trail being strewn with rocks and roots and everything you could possibly trip over if you didn’t watch your feet the entire duration of the hike.
After a short break at the car, the next hike commenced. It was shorter than the first, and led to a waterfall. Because it was closer to the road, more “non-hikers” and small children were able to access the falls, and because of that, there was an increased in the amount of garbage that these same individuals left behind. What do they honestly think is going to happen to the Arizona Iced Tea cans and containers of Pringles that they leave sitting on the rocks? As if it won’t all somehow end up in the water. It’s these people who need to be slapped in the face. With my hiking boots.
Anyway, the waterfall was gorgeous, and freezing. And perfect for shoe-less rock climbing. Which, may I add, is quite fun. Though from time to time, I forget, and look down, and then can’t remember how I got as far up as I did, and completely forget how to get down. I did find myself unable to go up (really, I did need both longer legs and longer arms to propel myself to the next foothold), and having anxiety about slipping and falling the whole way back down. I made it (obviously), and then promptly was mad that I couldn’t get all the way from the bottom of the falls to the top. Phooey.
[the entire left side rocks are what were scaled barefoot. Well, almost the entire way to the top]
After this semi-hiking break to scale rocks and waterfalls, the next trail was a four-parter. It was a good hike, with the second trail leading up to a ridge with the Pocono mountains all in the distance. It was a semi-steep incline, which of course went back down into a little wooded valley where the trail abruptly cut off by the creek. It was fun trying to figure out where the actual trail was. And after finding it, quickly finding the next trail that led up steep switchbacks. Almost running up them was a work out. But I felt like I could go forever, despite the heaving chest and sweat dripping off my face.
[looking back down the trail leading to the ridge]
[Which way….? Such difficult decisions…]
[Top of the ridge….looking West]
All in all, it was a fantastic day…perfect weather, barely any people, and just being in the woods and out in the elements….it is quite invigorating and enlivening. I could stay forever…..