2000 Fall Hike

October 19, 2000

Dream Weaver and I had been talking about and hoping for a fall hike.  Each season has its own beauties, but autumn stands out in my mind, as probably the most beautiful time to be hiking.  Since the first leaf changed this fall, I experienced a longing to be hiking.

8:30AM  Dream Weaver arrived at my place.  We had the luxury of time, so we stopped first at Eat-n-Park for breakfast.  We then made a quick stop at a grocery store for supplies, and left Somerset at around 10AM.

 Me on the left, DreamWeaver on right.

Though it was a bit late in the season, the forest was still alive with color.  We found the bright reds of early fall were now given to decided golden yellow.

Not having far to go, we moved slowly and talked of our adventure in Massachusetts this spring.  The “Tom Leonard Incident” was discussed in hushed tones, but we convinced each other that we were better for the experience.

11:00AM  We began our hike after parking Dream Weaver’s Jeep at Ohio Pyle and my van at Rt. 381.  We also stopped at the Park Office to pay the camping fee.  It was a brisk 47 degrees as we entered the woods.

1:05PM, We reached the peak just out of Ohio Pyle that allows one to look down on the Youghiogheny River.  The river snakes slowly around the mountains and is enjoyable to watch from this height.  Running as a companion to the river are the train tracks that twist and turn along with the riverbanks.

It’s was very peaceful up here and in the warming sun, we found a nice place to enjoy our meal.  After lunch, being men of leisure today, we napped on the rocks.

2:30PM  We finally left the pinnacle.  With only several more miles to walk, we took our time and enjoyed the autumn colors.

4:38PM  We reached the Ohio Pyle Shelters.  Both of us have stayed at this shelter area before many times.  This shelter area is located at the bottom of a sharply descending valley, with a stream running nearby.  It’s a very nice spot, but certainly does require some good hiking to access.

We saw a man and woman getting water as we arrived.  They were camping at the other end of the shelter area and we didn’t speak with them at all.  After sitting down our things, we started the very tiring job of gathering firewood.  Although it is nice to know that the Park provides split firewood, we could never figure out why it is so far from the shelters.

Dream Weaver built the fire while I worked on my camping stove.  I was still having trouble with it from our last trip.  I ended up not being able to fire it, so we decided to make our supper on the fire.

After supper, we watched the sun continue to dip beneath the tree line, until our little valley was melted into darkness.  Neither of us was too tired, and so we talked the night away.  I didn’t bother to check the time anymore so I am not sure what time it was that we said goodnight.

October 20, 2000

Sometime around 5:30AM, we heard coyote’s moving through the area.   They were barking and howling in that very ominous, wonderful way.  I lay in my sleeping bag smiling as they continued their songs.  Then, as quickly as they began, they quit and we didn’t hear from them again.

8:23AM  We really slept in late.  However, both of us awoke complaining of a fitful night on the hard boards of the shelter floor.  We started up the fire and made breakfast while we gathered our things.  While doing this, we saw a mouse fall from a small hole in the stone chimney.  It stumbled around and crawled away as if it were sick.  I wondered if the smoke from the fire was invading its nest and that it was unable to breathe.  We later found it dead by the chimney, just a few feet away.

We eventually broke camp and started north.  The first three miles are a steep ascent, climbing over 1,000 feet.  We were both breathing pretty hard as we reached the top.

10:03AM  After the trail leveled off, we were treated to a wonderful view.  From the jutting rocks, we could see rolling valley all around us.  Fog was still laying thick on the valley floor, resembling a white river snaking through the hills.  I didn’t take a temperature reading, but it was very comfortable and a great day to be hiking!

11:30AM, lunch was shared at a stream along the trail.  Here the forest was very dense and picture perfect with glowing colors all around.  The stream bubbled past merrily, and we had a very comfortable and long stay at this place.

We continued northward after lunch.  I stopped making journal entries as I was beginning to become too tired.  Dream Weaver also seemed tired and by the time we made the 12 miles to my van, we were dragging our feet.

It felt good to get in the van.  We then drove back to Dream Weaver’s Jeep and we parted ways.  Both of us were glad to have been able to get out one last time this year and enjoy the fall colors.



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