Friday, November 23, 2012

Lehigh Gap

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....

Palmerton below...

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.


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Delaware Water Gap - Dunnfield Creek Trail to Sunfish Pond

This weekend brought some unseasonably warm temperatures, perfect weather for a hike in Delaware Water Gap to experience the beauty of this area and witness the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

Trees are mostly all bare by now. The air smelled like pine, and our hiking was accompanied by the sounds of flowing water from Dunnfield Creek and the crunch of leaves underneath our hiking boots.

For the most part, the path was unobstructed, with a few exceptions when we had to crawl over fallen tree trunks or pick our way through a tumble of branches across the trail.

Evidence of Hurricane Sandy was everywhere.

We saw many huge fallen trees, their roots torn right out of the ground.

Sunfish Pond on a grey November day.

View of Mount Tammany

Hikers viewing the river below

A waterfall in Dunnfield Creek

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