4/3/16 The second day was a chance to explore a small seciton of the Appalachian Trail just outside of NJ in Pennsylvania along the Kittatinny Ridge. Freezing temps, heavy wind, and a light snow made for an interesting morning.
1 On the Appalachanian Trail for my first time! There had been a light snow the night before, which made the morning a little more interesitng. The winds were howling 30-40 mph, and temps were in the teens, which definitely made things more fun.
2 Trail winding through the forest.
3 The Appalachian Trail is marked with white blazes.
4 I actually saw a tree fall live for the first time. It was pretty cool, though it was a little unnerving walking through all these trees as they're bending in the wind and wondering which one would be the next to go.
5 I tried to get a video of the forest swaying in the wind. I didn't get a really good wind gust, but you can get some idea.
6 Corridor through the trees.
7 Evidently the Pennsylvania section of the AT is notorious for being brutal on the ankles. The section I hiked was like this the entire way, non-stop jagged rocks. Your foot never lands the same way twice. What's interesting is that the trail is often rockier than the area on either side. It's almost like they built it this way intentionally!
8 Blaze patterns have special meaning along the AT. I learned later what 2 blazes mean, but I'm not sure what 3 blazes mean.
9 My turnaround spot for the day was pretty uneventful. I didn't have time to reach a particular destination, I mostly just wanted to set foot on the AT. And I had to be back in Philly for a flight home in just a few hours, so I didn't want to push my luck.
10 Heading back.
11 Almost back to the trailhead and the snow has mostly melted off. I got lost for a bit here earlier when the trail dissapeared in the snow. I didn't realize at the time that the two blazes on that tree mean to watch for an expected turn or hard to follow area of trail. And the offset in the blazes indicates the direction the trail goes (you can see another blaze in that direction). I completely missed that earlier.
12 Back to the trailhead and a cool sign along the road where the AT crosses the highway. End to another great trail adventure.