The day after Thanksgiving was a perfect day to be out of the mall and on to the trail! Hiking and spending time outdoors is a great way to continue to celebrate this beautiful time of year, give gratitude, and work off some of yesterday's calories!
And so our hike begins... Pennsylvania is known for having some of the rockiest sections of the Appalachian Trail.
We did a bit of rock scrambling to view the river below.
White blazes mark the Appalachian Trail.
I CAN rock scramble, I CAN rock scramble! (photo by Rich)
Still more rocks to traverse...
A beautiful view of the section of trail known as Devil's Pulpit.
The climb was worth it!
I ran into my high school biology teacher Dan Kunkle with a group of students learning about the mountain! I had not seen him since high school. Dan's work with the Lehigh Gap Nature Center
has been instrumental in protecting and restoring this area which has been so badly damaged by industrial pollution from zinc smelting. Huge sections of this area were completely barren before restoration projects began. (photo by Rich)
After our rock scramble, we are treated to a flat, beautiful section of trail beginning to recover from the pollution damage.
Fields of golden grasses....
Here you can see some of the damage: dead trees and barren landscapes.
Recovery is slow but certain.
Native trees are planted here and fenced in to protect them from deer.
Dead trees killed by zinc pollution. Many did not decay naturally because the environment was so barren.
Damaged areas with recovery projects in the background
Rows of tall grasses
I loved this view of the rolling mountains beyond.
I've often speculated about who lives in this house on the hill.
We're almost back! Trail is surrounded by grass fields.