Monday, October 6, 2008

BirdCouple Walked Across PA!

Cute Husband and I were really looking forward to finishing Pennsylvania.

Not that we don't love our neighbor to the North.

We are just not crazy about the rock pile that is the AT in PA.

The foot bruising, punishing rock pile that is PA.

A good chunk of PA would have been impossible without the help of our shuttle, Scott of Ye Olde Backpacker .

His shop is full of hiker goodies if you are in the Port Clinton area.

And, if you need a ride and good laugh, he is dependable for both.

Ask him to tell you the story of his chicken farm...Warren and I had perfect weather with the first signs of fall in the air for our 2 day 25 mile hike.

We started hiking North from Fox Gap with six miles left to reach the New Jersey border.

Ha! Goodbye sharp pointy Pennsylvania rocks!

It felt like we were running to the border, the anticipation was so great!

The white blaze led us over the Delaware River where if you looked to the right you saw this:

And, if you looked left: After a scenic mile of diesel fumes it was time to celebrate!
New Jersey! A new state!
And, as odd as it sounds, the trail did change drastically as we headed over the border. Cascading streams welcomed us as we made our way up to the Backpacker's site. Views of the Delaware Water Gap. And, I quick shout out to my gal pal Vencka who grew up near this wonderous area!Bears are plentiful in NJ.
That added a bit of drama to each turn in the trail and each noise off the trail.

But, when we landed at the backpacker's site, we found pure luxury.

Most of the tent sites have spectacular views. Bear safes and poles for hanging are throughout the area.

And... there was actual grass instead of rocks to sleep on!

We found the perfect spot and had a few minutes to lounge and watch a warbler feasting above us.

Then, what looked to be a Merlin, swooped in missing our almost identified warbler by millimeters.

What a show!

Cute Husband sets up the traveling LoveNest on the soft grass at the ridge of the mountain. Cute Husband filters water. Cute Husband prepares dinner. I honestly have no idea what I did during this whole period of time.

We slept like babies, despite a non-forecasted rain shower and woke to fog and clouds breaking.

On to Sunfish Pond!Sigh.
Praying Mantis.
Middle of the trail.
Stood his ground with dukes up as we passed.

To add to the perfection of the hike, we randomly came across a hawk watch in the middle of the AT!
This is the view from the Raccoon Ridge Watch and the dedicated counters were just getting started as the day heated up. The owl decoy allows for some up close raptor sightings as the passing hawks will dive bomb the owl as they migrate through.

Oh, it was hard to tear away from the clear views off the mountain, the constant bird talk and bins everywhere.... But we needed to keep moving ...10 miles remained before sunset. New Jersey is gorgeous!

Bogs and ponds and lakes and clear vistas with views of forest canopy for as far as the eye can see.
Tasty berry waiting for Mr. Bear.

Warren got a quick glimpse of a bear on the run.

It is such a treat to see one of these amazing animals. The habitat and miles of woodland along the trail in NJ gives these creatures some much needed elbow room.
Catfish Mountain Fire Tower.

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