Palmerton, PA

The ridge I’ve been hiking on is called Blue Mountain. Other than the challenge of negotiating the rocky terrain, it is quite beautiful.

I dropped into Lehigh Gap and crossed the Lehigh River

On the other side of town is the Palmerton anthracite coal mine. Zinc was also processed in Palmerton.

It is a Superfund site and the ridge is a hodgepodge of rocks with few living things due to toxins produced in the mining process.


There is a process going on now to “remediate” the mess and grow plants and trees on the barren ridge. It was disheartening to hike through such a disturbed place.

Earlier in the day, some nice things came my way.

Wintergreen

This stalked mushroom was growing 3 feet up the side of this tree

Red maple

I came upon this scene. Anyone want to speculate on what happened here?

Glad I’m not that junco,

Junco

Games people play

I’ve recently taken to lining up the white blazes to catch more than one in a photo.

In this next photo the two blazed trees are 50 feet apart

Today, I had the good fortune to capture 3 blazes on two separate occasions (zoom in on the first blaze to see the other two that follow)@


Sometimes things get slow on the trail…

These PA rocks continue to torture me

The Knife’s Edge was particularly treacherous

Other parts of the day were more routine

A healthy beech tree arching over the trail

The photo below reminds me that if the trail maintainers blaze an unhealthy tree, they can still salvage the critical portion of bark

Trying to love rocky trails,

Junco

A chilly morning

Woke up to a still, cool morning in the high 30’s


Saw a very interesting salamander early in today’s walk



I ran across two more chestnut trees that were over 20 feet tall and had dropped chestnuts


Here’s some more from yesterday and today


Chugging along,

Junco

Thursday – a character building day

Spent last night in a shelter (which I rarely do) because the weather report was worrisome

Here’s what I woke up to



Managed to make it to the town of Port Clinton, where the local barber shop is where hikers and local townspeople meet


I was very warmly welcomed with a hot drink and some donuts.

Frank, the barber, is a hiker and a very kind man.


 The barber shop has about ten chairs in it, and I chatted with some very nice folks waiting to get their hair cut. What a cool place!!

(I did not get my hair cut)

Make sure to pick a healthy tree when you paint your white blaze 


Making the best of a rough day,

Junco 

Wednesday – a dry fall day

Yesterday was a crisp fall day.

Hung out with my forest friends

Met another elephant

Two less clearly defined beasts

And had lunch with Jabba the Hutt


It had frosted the night before so the witchazel took a hit


I am perfecting the art of “reading the oak leaves”


Trying to pick out the rocks, which tend to be whiter


Sometimes it’s easy


Each morning I head out just before dawn and head northeast, with the sun coming in from the east


Some pretty views


Some less pretty


Another mountain laurel cluster


And a single one


A  really old historical site


An interesting birch tree that branched out and then the branch rejoined the trunk???


A few more

See the rope swing?


Enjoyed a nice fall day,

Junco

Mostly Rocky

Well, I can’t say that every step is rocky, but pretty close


To be fair to the state of Pennsylvania, there have been some non-rocky sections


Saw some more “creatures” that Pat calls “forest friends”

One with a blowhole

One looking stern

T Rex?

One about to devour a log

A piranha?


Some seem kind of fiendish!!

As I my have mentioned, it’s hunting season and people in Pennsylvania love to hunt.

When I ran into Robey-Dobey heading south, I knew she wasn’t going to be mistaken for a deer.


Got a few views today:


And saw some nice stuff along the way:

Long shadows heading northeast in the evening:

Interstate 81

Tulip poplars sure are tall and straight


It is supposed to drop below 32 degrees tonight, and the only thing still in bloom in the forest is witch hazel


Trucking thru PA,

Junco

Rocksylvania

Pennsylvania is a series of moderately tall ridges with valleys in between. The ridge tops are forested and they are very rocky with rocks that are not flat.

For me, the secret has been to slow down my pace and keep my eyes on the ground.

I do occasionally look up and found some nice tree images that you can look at and come up with own description.


I think this one is either a Sesame Street character or a baby walrus waiting for his tusks


I think this little elephant is my favorite.


I did stop and smell the roses a few times and found these interesting things.

Found this pretty fresh snake skin, but no snake.


I really liked this image which reminds me how beautiful Pennsylvania is.


Loving PA, rocks and all,

Junco

Duncannon, PA

It was a gray day yesterday with blustery winds.

I had camped on top of a ridge

The trail wound through some forested areas and some farmland

As I crested a second ridge, I came to know something of the dreaded “rocks of Pennsylvania”. For about 3 miles I walked on this uneven surface

In some places, almost a foot of dried leaves covered the rocks

This is going to take some getting used to.

Saw some nice things along the way (when I could take my eyes off the rocks)

Some took on forms I could recognize, like this horned beast


Or this alligator

Towards evening , I caught a glimpse of Duncannon PA below.

Sadly,  Duncannon is a very economically depressed little trail town.

I stayed at the famed and tragically run down Doyle Hotel

I had a great fried Mississippi catfish dinner served at the bar. 

Then I heard the big news that the annual Halloween parade was starting in an hour and was passing in front of the hotel. So I got a milkshake, pulled up a chair and watched the pre-parade festivities from the second floor balcony of the Doyle

And here’s a shot of one of the floats

Not sure I’ve ever seen an event quite like that.

Got a few more shots from today that I liked 

I’ve been trying to make a photograph that adequately portrays the beauty of the mountain laurel tree. The trunk and branches bend and curve into very attractive forms. Here are a couple nice ones I saw today

Enjoying small town America,

Junco 

The Cumberland Valley

Hiked across the valley today. It was flat and not too rocky.

Lots of beautiful farms

Poison ivy looks nice this time of year

Climbing out of the valley, we finally got some views 

Along the way:

Walnuts for sale (still in the green husk)

Crossed some big highways

Pennsylvania Turnpike

Interstate 81 (again)

US Route 11 (goes from the Canadian border in NY to New Orleans)

Out of the valley – back up in the hills,

Junco

 Boiling Springs, PA

Just rolled in to Boiling Springs after a long, hot day. Rain expected tonight and tomorrow then dramatically cooler weather. I’m finally glad that I’m lugging around all this cold weather gear. 

Boiling Springs is a very old village which is the former site of a big spring, which was dammed up to form a lake to power a grist mill, then an iron works furnace. Now it’s just a cool little town with a great fishing stream, the Yellow Breeches – famous as fly fishing trophy waters.

As I entered the town, I crossed a bridge and looked into the clear waters below to see very large trout lined up, facing upstream. See if you can see them below.

There were fly fishermen everywhere 

On the left is the lake that feeds the stream

Prior to entering Boiling Springs, I entered the Cumberland Valley 


Earlier in the day, I met Eloise, trail name “Bear Spray”. She works in Washington DC and loves to hike the AT colorfully dressed. Her orange outfit was helpful today as hunters were out. She loves Sedona, a town close to my home in Flagstaff.

Here are a few more shots from today.

I posed this acorn


Witch hazel trees are in bloom now – very interesting

Getting ready for cooler weather,

Junco