Camping in January

January 28, 2010

Headed out to Ricketts Glen State Park w/ Joe Flats Today,http://www.dcnr.state.pa.us/stateparks/parks/RickettsGlen.aspx.

Weather was cool and clear on our way out and it was a pleasant drive heading out to western PA.    We stayed at Goods Campground for the evening.I nice guy with nicotine stains around his white beard checked us in and overcharged us for firewood, that was wet.  $10 to use the grounds, $15 for the wet wood.

Joe and I settled on a spot and set up camp.We got settled in and cracked a couple of coldies and explored around the ground till nightfall

We headed back to camp to get a fire going.  Started to build a fire in the pit but didn’t have much success because the ice that was in the pit turned to a puddle of water.  Luckily there was a pavillion right next to us with a dry pit and we had a blazing fire going in no time.  We made some dinner had some coldies then hit the deck to get some sleep.  We were both praying our bags would keep us warm enough because it was a bit cold out.

We made it through the night and woke up pretty warm except for some chilly feet.  Not bad. Time for some breakfast and then off to the trails.

We get to the trail head and can’t believe the difference in temperature and snow coverage from the elevation gain.  The trail is totally covered in ice and snow, good thing we brought crampons.  At this point our excursion almost ends because one of the sets of crampons we have is intended for mountaineering boots and we both have on hiking boots.  We tinker around a bit to get the bad set to work on we are on our way.  Good thing we got them to work because there was no way we were going 100 yards without them.  The warning signs are legit.  Don’t take them lightly. The main reason we wanted to come here was the Falls Trail.  It has a whole bunch of waterfalls around a 7 mile trail loop.  We didn’t know how many we would get to see today because the trail get pretty dicey in winter.  We get to the first fall but can’t go down because the only way to continue on the trail is by going down what I would call and ice slide.  Already I feel underprepared and we are only a mile or so into our trip.  We decided to go around the highland trail and access the waterfall loop from the other side.  Here is a pic from the midway crevasse.

We finally get around to the other entrance to the waterfall loop and this is the first one we see.

Pretty rad.    We continue on enjoying the scenery and walking cautiously.  Nothing like walking down 6″ wide stone steps w/ 3″ of ice on top of them next to a 30′ drop.  Good times.

We check out a couple of more falls then get to the big dog.  This fall is 94′ tall.  Looking from the top kind of makes me queasy.We walk around and start to descend to the bottom when we hit a section of trail that we are not equipped to traverse.

As you can see this girl was setting ice anchors and ropes to lead a tour through this section.  Joe and I did not have any of that gear so it was at this point we decided to turn around and enjoy some lunch.  Se set up at the top of the falls and I enjoyed a nice bag of beef STROGANOFF.    Camping food rules.

After lunch we started our hike out.  Here are some pics I took on our way back to the care

The whole hike was pretty surreal and felt like we were walking on a different planet.   Can’t wait to go back in the Summer and hike the whole trail.

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