Yesterday I set out to hike the 23 mile loop Pinchot Trail in Lackawanna State Forest in Pennsylvania. A couple of VTS guys came with me for a day hike of the northern section but they eventually broke off to head back to the trailhead and I continued on alone. It was sunny for most of the day, and very warm. I was in short sleeves and could have happily worn shorts too if not for wanting to keep my pant legs and gaiters on. There was a surprising amount of snow still on the ground, but not fresh powder which is easier to walk on: it was old, heavy, wet snow. The trail ended up being about one half snow, one quarter mud or giant puddles, and one quarter dry-ish. My favorite sections were when my feet broke through a couple inches of snow to the couple inches of water underneath. I was wearing waterproof trail runners, which kept my feet dry for maybe a mile longer than non-waterproof ones would have.
The trail itself is very narrow but there are many campsites throughout the loop where a little more space is available. I stopped about 13 miles in for the night, next to a creek with beavers swimming around. I heard them plopping into the water so I went over to watch and one beaver kept swimming in circles so he could watch me too. I made dinner just as the sun was going down and read for a little bit before sleeping. It’s the first time I’ve used my one man tent in a few months and I missed it. It was home for seven months last year so I am very familiar with the small space and where all my things fit into it.
The whole hike reminded me very much of the Appalachian Trail. There were the snow covered rhododendron tunnels of Georgia, the rocks of Pennsylvania (of course), and the faint taste of beaver in the water of Maine. In the morning, there was the daily debate of “I’m awake early, shouldn’t I just get up and hike?” The answer is always no, by the way. I love laying in my sleeping bag for an hour or more just listening to what’s going on. And then the question of “Do I put dry socks on when my shoes are already wet?” The answer to that is a little more complex, depending on what the forecast for the current day is and when I’ll next reach a town. In my case, I’d be home later so putting on dry socks was the thing to do.
I hiked out the final 10 or so miles and reached the trailhead in early afternoon. It was overcast for the most part but I did get some sun at the very end to enjoy.