The weekend was cold and clear. We all met at the parking lot, with a mix of new and familiar faces, our hike began! The group quickly spread out along the trail, pausing only to shed layers on the first gentle climb. Spirits were up as we all enjoyed the fresh winter air and snowy scenery.
We regrouped at Quarry Gap Shelter for lunch. There we met the “Innkeeper”, he is Quarry Gap’s overseer. This shelter is the best in Pennsylvania, and one of the best on the AT. The shelter is always decorated for the season, fresh potted flowers in the summer and wreaths in the winter.
We followed the AT north to the top of the ridge and turned right on the Hossack Run trail. The trail descended into a tight hollow filled with laurel, rhododendrons, and conifers. We followed Hossack Run down to the reservoir. Everyone met up on a sunny beach for another break. It was difficult to give up our little slice of paradise, but our trip had to continue.
The hike up the Rocky Knob trail was a bit of a slog because the afternoon sun had softened the snow. We made our way back to the top of the ridge to reconnect with the AT, there we ran into the Yetimen…
It turns out that the Yetimen are real, and they were having their annual campout! There was a short walk to Birch Run shelter and it was PACKED! It felt like we were out on 4th of July. Our group carved out a spot and warmed up around a fire for the evening. After an evening of conversation people slowly went off to bed. The nighttime temp dipped down to the low 20’s.
We enjoyed the cold morning with a hot cup of coffee and light breakfast. Everyone was on the trail by 8am. Our route back to the cars was the AT south. Its miles are mellow and wander through pine and hardwood forest. Easy, just like Sunday morning!