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.



At 5:34 PM, Blogger Racn4acure said...

Happy Thanksgiving, Anne. Looks like a great hike. How cool to run into an old teacher, especially one who has continued to make a difference. The environmental damage is pretty stark. Art

At 5:45 PM, Blogger Anne said...

Hi Art, Thank you! Happy Thanksgiving! Yes, it was a treat to see a favorite teacher of mine! He has been very active in restoring that area...

At 8:56 PM, Blogger Racn4acure said...

I wonder sometimes if all the eurphoria over "fracking" in your part of the world will lead to long term environmental damage, just as the zinc smelting did. We need energy but I wonder if they are taking it too fast and really thinking about some of the negative consequences.

Yes - Anne CAN rock scramble! If you are ever down in Shenandoah NP again and want to do some really fun rock scrambling, try the Old Rag hike.

Have a great week, Anne. Art

At 9:01 PM, Blogger Anne said...

Hi Art,
Yes, I fear that fracking does a lot of damage. I saw a documentary about it a while ago (Gaslands). Old Rag looks beautiful, I've heard it's a challenging hike!

At 9:02 AM, Blogger Racn4acure said...

Hi Anne - yep, Old Rag is definitely challenging. The final mile to the top took me about an hour the last time I did it. But it is unique for this part of the world and very much worth the effort.

I'll have to look up that documentary.

Happy trails to you. Art

At 7:49 PM, Blogger Anne said...

I'll put it on the bucket list!!! Enjoy the week!

At 9:38 AM, Anonymous Greg White said...

Adventure and losing weight at the same time. 2 thumbs up!

At 8:55 PM, Blogger Anne said...

Thanks Greg for stopping by! I wasn't really going for weight loss, more for "healthy living"!


At 3:12 PM, Blogger Racn4acure said...

Hey Anne - I just wanted to say hello and wish you a belated very happy Christmas. I hope that the holidays were great and that the year ahead will be amazing for you. Art

At 5:44 PM, Blogger Anne said...

Thank you so much Art! Hope you had a very Merry Christmas and best wishes for health and happiness in the New Year!

At 11:03 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Awesome pics! Forgot google password but known as David Emme-daveme7


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