Although a little anxious about the weather this weekend, since a chance of rain and/or snow along with high winds was predicted, Karen and I decided it was time for us to get back onto the Appalachian Trail and complete our trek through Pennsylvania. We were to begin at Wind Gap, PA, and finish across the Delaware Water Gap, in NJ. Since it now takes us over four hours to arrive at our commencement point and we wanted to get on the trail early in the morning, we spent the night in a motel.
As always, we brought two cars, one to be waiting for us at our hiking destination, and one to drop us off at our beginning point. Well, we were within 100 feet of the AT parking lot in NJ, where we were to drop off our first vehicle, when our two cars were involved in a collision. Both required to be towed away from the scene. Our backpacking plans were shot. Ultimately we got a rental car and made our way back home, but we were both in the dumps.
Our spirits needed reviving, so on Sunday we drove out (in our rental) to Shenandoah National Park. Because Karen’s wrist was swollen and sore, disabling her from putting much pressure on one of her trekking poles, we decided upon a comparatively gentle hike, the Rose River Loop, a four-and-a-half-mile walk. We’d hiked it before (and blogged about it in August 2014).
Unfortunately, winter’s peculiar beauty, particularly when all is wrapped in snow, is past and spring is yet struggling to manifest itself on the heights of Shenandoah. There were few leaves on the trees, and all was brown and grey, with little touches of green here and there. But we were able to get good views of the river through the branches, and a few birds had already returned.
For the most part, it was just good to be outdoors. We needed to get some cool air into our lungs and work up a little sweat in a climb, but mostly we just needed to be surrounded by nature. At one point, where the trail starts to ascend, we sat ourselves down on the dirt, took out our little stove, and made ourselves some coffee. What could be better than to break from a hike, kick back with a mug of steaming coffee, and take in the scenes and sounds of nature all around? It was a restorative experience.