Winter Walk In Pennsylvania

Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail
January 2 – 22, 2014

What a lovely walk John and I had for 6 days in the snowy mountains of Pennsylvania! Enjoy this 5-minute slide show featuring Barbara Hotz singing “Wild Wind” and a few words of explanation from me! Highlights of this walk included:

  • Super Trail Angel help from my sister, Betsy!
  • Fireplaces with split wood in every shelter!
  • Beautiful snow starting the second day!
  • Crisp, cold, fresh water from mountain streams
  • Moderate walking on a well-marked trail
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    Winter Walk Complete

    Well, we did it! Walked in the mountains of Pennsylvania for six days in snow, with temps down near zero a couple of nights. It’s strange how significant this rather short walk seems, even though I’ve walked so many other long walks in the past six years.

    Why is that, I wondered.

    Is it because the wintry conditions were challenging and this was a new trail for me?

    Is it because walking is my new lifestyle and that perhaps my walking has value not just for myself but for others too?  Is it because now, as I walk, I’m more keenly aware of the transformational qualities of the journey and I’m flooded with the metaphorical  qualities of my walking for other aspects of my life – my general way of being, my business? read more

    Journey to the Heart Land

    After a full week of walking along the Miami-Erie Canal Towpath, along country roads, and through small towns in rural Ohio along the Buckeye Trail, I’m convinced that walking is my calling. 

    • Walking as an exercise tones my body and gets my thoughts clear and my creativity flowing.
    • Walking in Nature connects me to Spirit and to the realm of infinite possibility and joy.
    • Walking through towns connects me with people.

    Meeting people used to be scary for me, but now that I am living my own favorite expression, meeting people is a delightful stream of magical encounters. This week, my hiking partner, John, and I have met over a dozen generous people just by doing our walk!

    Here are the stories of a few of them:

    Minnie walks for exercise regularly in St. John the Evangelist Church in Delphos, OH. “I walk for 30 minutes a few times a week. While I walk I say my rosary. If I get finished with one rosary, I just start over and say another one. “ read more

    Trail Journals Photos – 2013 Continental Divide Trail – Who is the tallest hiker?

    The Govt Shutdown changed my plan to send daily photos! Yesterday was my last day working at Yellowstone Park as a room attendant for the Xanterra concession company. Originally, my contract offered a job until Oct. 16. With the park closed and no tourists allowed, there’s no need for Old Faithful Inn, so we spent three days closing it down for winter. Closing for winter is a normal occurrence, but this year it happened a week early.

    With my Yellowstone stay over, my Wyoming Walk, in my mind, is officially complete! So, today’s installment of photos will give a sampling of the final five days of the journey! those days went quickly for me too (Well, except for the last one, in which that last 15 miles seemed to take forever!). read more

    Trail Journals Photos – 2013 Continental Divide Trail – Split Level House

    Wyoming Walk Day 16:Sheep, Swimming, and Cirque of the Towers.
    What a different walk today from our Pass Climbing of the past couple of days! This 16-mile day had no big climbs, just consistent miles of open plains, lakes, and views of majestic peaks.

    Just a handful of 5 photos for today that capture the highlights of the persistent awesome views of this wilderness walk.

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    Wild and White Blazing!

    For AT thru hike aspirants! Join Carla Robertson me and a list of AT experts to plan and prepare for your walk.
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    Trail Journals Photos – 2013 Continental Divide Trail – Forested Morning

    Wyoming Walk Day 14: Now this is backpacking at its best in the high passes of the Wind River Range!
    Here are 14 photos from the day:

    We got an early start today. Just as we were about to leave our campsite who should show up but Gary, our former companion who had taken a different route two days earlier! “Well, how was the high route?” we asked. “I lived,” was all he said, looking a tad haggard. “I came down Pixley Creek, and at one point, I was talking to the boulders asking them to show me the way. It was straight down from the Divide!”
    Just at that moment, two other CDT hikers came along. One of them, named Bluefoot, had taken another treacherous route down from the Divide. He and Gary bonded instantly, and the three of them took off on the trail, sharing stories of their adventures. John and I continued at our slower pace, thinking that Gary had found fast walking comrades for the rest of his walk.
    A turn-off sign indicated our route toward Vista Pass. The trail was getting rockier as it wound up the forested mountain side. Near here, we took a break to talk with a group of about a dozen women on a Sierra Club trip called Women in the Winds. Some of them were from Florida and were finding the altitude of nearly 10,000 feet quite an adjustment! I was feeling pretty good myself. My body must have been acclimated now.
    “What a beautiful place to get to camp and spend a whole day!” we marveled when we took a snack break at Vista Pass, a peaceful spot surrounded by jagged peaks. The Sierra Club group had done that midway through their weeklong trek. Captivating boulder piles and flowers graced the snowmelt lake area. Reluctantly, we moved on toward further passes.
    We walked on to Vista Pass, a steep, rocky ravine that rose several hundred feet in a notch between steep ridges. John and I had found a well- defined trail that made the climb moderately easy! To our surprise, about half way up the 1/2 mile climb, we saw Gary, Steve, and Bluefoot way down below scrambling over boulders as big as rooms. They had missed the trail while concluding that there was none to be found. When they saw us up above them, they were crestfallen with the extra effort they had endured! The CDT is so varied in that way. Sometimes it’s actually a good trail!
    At Cube Rock Pass, Steve, Gary, and Bluefoot joined us for a break. Steve talked about his life as a Community Supported Agriculture farmer at his farm called Prescott’s Patch in PA. Bluefoot was interested in what we were eating – hummus! They were heading for a route through Titcombe Pass, which would take them past some reportedly beautiful lakes not on the usual route. We had planned to stay on the main CDT route over Shannon Pass. Gary asked us if it would be ok if he walked with us again, admitting that his high route adventure had left him with strained leg muscles, and he would appreciate our slower pace while he recovered.
    “Stunning, simply stunning,” we cried when we topped Cube Rock Pass and saw a remote lake called Peak Lake caught within the steep sides of the mountains. This is the Wind River Range at its finest! The landscape up here was starkly awesome and vast.
    After winding up through the rocks for about an hour, we saw the mountain level off. The terrain is bare, jumbled rock, stretching out on all sides. Here and there, pioneer plants poke up through the rocks, ever so gradually breaking them down, finding their nourishment in the grainy new soil.
    At 11,200 ft, there was still a patch of snow!!
    Shannon Pass, with its challenging elevation and rocks gave way to Jean Lake, quite a bit lower and verdant. We looked back to the high peaks that had loomed just next to us on the Pass. Although we had already climbed three passes, we kept walking for another hour or so, past Jean Lakes, descending several hundred feet in elevation to Freemont Crossing. By contrast to the bare landscape of the high passes, the river valley was lush with plants that had filled in between the boulders and rocks.
    It wasn’t completely soft, though and finding a flat, smooth sleeping spot proved challenging. This is where the tarp proves its value being adaptable to marginal terrain like this. There was just enough flat ground for two among the boulders where we made our home for the night. Particularly challenging here, however, was locating a tree for hanging our food bag!
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