Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Appalachian Trail

We recently ventured out onto the Appalachian Trail! For the adults, it was super exciting to be on the famous footpath. The kids were excited that it was not as straight up as our hikes in the German Alps so all in all a great day. Many thanks to friends in Hong Kong for setting us up with the hiking itinerary and the post hike eating plan!
We drove up the Interstate 80, pulled off into a parking lot and immediately were at a spot to get on the Appalachian Trail. Accessibility to the trail head was a bit of a shock but there it was. We were also surprised that dogs on leashes were allowed. The path is not a National Park. In fact, the whole idea was conceived by private citizens in 1921 and completed by them in 1937. And is now maintained by a number of different agencies as the path passes through different states. We will definitely bring our puppy along next time, making this an even better day trip.
Spanning 2,185 miles, the public footpath goes from Springer Mountain in Georgia to Mount Katahdin in Maine. Our point of entry was the Delaware Water Gap, where the Delaware River divides New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The area formed by a glacier roughly 500 million years ago and is 300 meters across at the river and 1,400 meters across at the top of the ridge. When we were coming back to our car, we came across some college boys getting a late start on the hike. It was almost dark when they asked how far up. I said a couple of hours to the top. They said they would run up to catch the view. Ah youth.
While we were hiking, another family was near us. We were all hiking to the illusive Sunfish Pond. Signage was sparse and eventually the other family turned back. Our kids were also thinking of turning around but somehow Phil convinced them to go another ten seconds, and just around the bend there was Sunfish Pond. One of those rare moments when ten more seconds actually makes the difference.  We ran up to the pond and read the sign that the pond was slightly acidic and one of New Jersey’s seven natural wonders. We immediately committed to seeking out the other six wonders but have yet to make progress on that.
In Germany, there is always food at the top of the mountain. There was nothing at Sunfish Pond but we urged the kids onward to hot dogs on the drive home. At Johnny’s in Butzville, an institution serving hot dogs and birch beer for decades. We walked in and asked for the menu. They said there wasn’t one. We could order hot dogs with or without mustard and ketchup. We did and Adam ate five.  An American ending to an American day.


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