On a cool, windy day I met up with Bryan to hike the eastern end of the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania, from PA 191 to the Delaware Water Gap, a distance of about 7 miles. After shuttling cars, we began the hike along the ridgeline of bare trees with mist, passing showers, and a persistent wind. We took a quick break at the Kirkridge shelter and passed a nice view at a meadow, but it was covered in clouds.
The trail became more rocky as we reached another vista from an outcrop. The clouds began to lift, offering more of a view of the ridges and farmlands. The trail featured rolling terrain with occasional rocks. Some of the forests were comprised of stunted oak trees, about 20 feet tall. We dropped into a rocky gap and climbed back out under a communication tower. The trail brought us back to the ridge where we followed a forest road, making the hiking easier.
As we neared the top of Mt. Minsi there was a fine view to the south. The clouds had now lifted, offering a fine view as the Delaware River looked like a shining silver ribbon stretching off into the distance.
The Appalachian Trail left the old road and descended into the Delaware Water Gap along a more rugged trail with thick rhododendron jungles. It was a beautiful hike. A ledge featured a fine view of the water gap, over a thousand feet deep, with tiers of cliffs on the New Jersey side. It is an impressive place and was once a popular vacation destination over a century ago.
The steep descent continued and there was another view of the gap. We crossed Eureka Creek with its cascade and pool in the rhododendron jungles. The roar of the small creek filled the forest and its series of small waterfalls appeared from within the rhododendrons. The trail left the rhododendrons and featured a more open forest with another view of the gap. Ledges rose over the trail. We veered onto an old road, passed a pond, and then soon reached the car.
This was a beautiful hike and the Delaware Water Gap has a great system of trails in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey.