Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Hikers Get a Sneak Preview of the Pennsylvania Highlands Trail Network

Marie, Thalia, and Miriam crawling under a downed tree.
This Sunday, December 2nd, 2012, ten hikers joined John Brunner, AMC's Mid-Atlantic Recreation Planner, and me for a hike from Ringing Rocks County Park down to and along the towpath of the Delaware Canal State Park to explore the future route of the eastern portion of the Pennsylvania Highlands Trail Network
We met at the parking lot for the Reigelsville Municipal Office and carpooled up to Ringing Rocks, where the hike began.  After everyone was layered up for the cool and foggy weather, we formed a circle and John told us a little more about the plans to connect Ringing Rocks to the canal path.  From Ringing Rocks, John led us down the rocky hills along the proposed trail route.  The dozens of large trees toppled by Hurricane Sandy created some challenges, but all twelve of us scrambled over or around them and made it out to the canal path for the second part of our hike, which was about six miles.
Karen, Chris, Pam, Marie and me near a Mid-Atlantic Highlands interpretive Kiosk
Sarah Berg, an Environmental Education Specialist with DCNR, co-led the trip and described the history of the canal and the park.  She also pointed out two spectacular bald eagle nests, whose residents had migrated for the winter.  Although the towpath was flatter and less challenging than the Ringing Rocks section, a chorus of kingfishers, white-throated sparrows, and dark-eyed juncos kept us entertained along our way.
Afterwards, a handful of us warmed up with excellent food, drinks, and conversation at the Indian Rock Inn, one of many wonderful local businesses partners that support the mission of the trail network. 

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