Three Days on the Canyon Rim: Barbour Rock

Had to improvise a little with the hammock rig.
Had to improvise a little with the hammock rig.

I don’t remember when the rain started, but it didn’t last long and my hammock remained far dryer under two enormous pine trees.

But the wind blowing in off the mountain made for a cold night, even if my sleeping bag is rated for below freezing.

I drifted in and out of sleep. But the night was pleasant, and I looked forward to the day that was to be the most visually stimulating of Pine Creek Gorge’s West Rim Trail.

We would be snaking our way back up to the canyon rim,  running the gorge lip to Barbour Rock, and then back to the car at Pine Creek Outfitters.

But when I woke up, I needed a brief fire to start the morning. Nothing big, just something to warm up by while we ate oatmeal and packed up camp. A morning fire isn’t something I need, but on occasion a small one that’s easily extinguished is a nice way to start the day.

One thing the fire helped do was warm up my knees, which since the previous day had begun to ache quite consistently. That, breakfast, coffee and ibuprofen helped matters immensely.

IMG_1078
Pennsylvania Grand Canyon as seen from Barbour Rock looking south. Amazing.

We set out and made good time. We ran across a group of college students and a Boy Scout troop. But no sight of the Allentown Four and Pickle, aside from them passing our camp on their way up the mountain.

When we checked in at Pine Creek Outfitters, we inquired about some of the other groups we’d met along our trek. Here’s a brief overview of what we learned from the guys at PCO:

Young couple with two dogs on day 1 – The guy convinced his girlfriend to go backpacking, even though it’s not her bag. They never made it past mile 3. He proposed, she said yes, then apparently hiked out and called for PCO to pick them up. Congrats, but isn’t that an odd proposal if she’s not a backpacker?

Allentown Four, Pickle – These guys kicked butt on day 3, got up early and finished the trail before lunch. I reconnected with Pickle’s master and there could be another story in it … I’ll keep you posted.

College students – Apparently, this group were on some kind of time-trial hike of the West Rim Trail. Basically, a couple of people were shuttling their gear to the campsite, so they did the trail in two days. What do you think of this? It seems lazy and ridiculous to me. Have a little fortitude and carry your gear. It’s Pennsylvania Appalachia, not the Himalaya.

Read Part 1: “Rain, delays” and Part 2: “Views, critters & shortcuts.” For the West Rim Trail map click here.

Enjoy my photos from Day 3 on the Canyon Rim:

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