Thursday, December 24, 2009

Peters Mountain

My visit home for the holidays included a lovely walk in the woods with my dad. We set out this afternoon to hike up the snowy north face of Peters Mountain, which cradles the mighty Susquehanna and provides glimpses of the rolling Pennsylvania countryside and busy transportation routes that hug the shores of the river. The few miles that we hiked were icy and spectacular, and the peak of Peters was abuzz with avian activity. We saw numerous Eastern Bluebirds, Chickadees, and even a lone Hairy Woodpecker—all unexpected rewards for reaching the top.

The Susquehanna
BBBFB at home in the hills
View from the south face
Up with the birds
Blending in

This stretch of trail, which I've ascended only once before, is part of the great Appalachian Trail. The AT is a fixture of wonderment for me, as I've long dreamt of trading the stability of a day job and cozy house for costly hiking gear and nights spent with strangers in the trail's famed lean-tos. The romance of walking from Maine to Georgia is a real draw, making it easy to overlook the tales of agony and burden on the trail told by both friends and writers. I credit Bill Bryson with nearly extinguishing my fire for hiking the AT. I'm certain that just one more read of his adventures on the trail would keep me at home for eternity. At least I can always return to Peters Mountain.

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