The 4th Season

Look what I came upon on the Trail in NJ today at the base of Rattlesnake Mountain! I’m hiking in the 4th Season with my three Season gear! That means WINTER. 

I climbed out of Culver Gap to find 5 inches of snow on the Kittatinny Ridge! It was beautiful, easy, and hard. Easy on my feet, like a rock cushion, but the occasional ice on the rocks under the snow, got a little hairy at times. Especially on this section:

Thankfully, the sun melted it to bare rock in enough places. The drop off is only 2 or 3 feet to the left in some places and the fall would be disastrous. 

The sky was not an Earth sky all day! Color like this is really odd between sunrise and sunset around here. The clouds were deep blues and grays with this yellow orange border. Magic. 

I hiked all day. 

And into the night to reach the campsite. 

I set up on snow for the first time. Two closed cell pads and my insulated Klymit mattress, kept me dry and warm underneath, but I had all my clothes on plus fleece balaclava, inside my 25 degree bag. Those temperature ratings are crap. I’m getting  a xero degree F bag.

I cooked dinner and slept a few hours. Oh yeah, it was New Year’s Eve! I could hear the fireworks from somewhere. It was too cold out there to look! Those concussions must really scare the wildlife. I could feel the explosions! I will never watch or defend the use of fireworks again. Ever. 

I got to sleep at maybe 1AM and slept until 3. Cook breakfasts at 4 and was on the Trail at 0530. 

Love morning light. 

Light coming in from stage right creates a very different mood. 

Just a couple more shots:

I arrived!

Only 800 feet left to my car. 

But miles left for me on the Trail. 

So, 12.2 to the campsite and 6.1 to the approach road leading to the Center. 

18.3  miles!   And lots of learning.

Oh!!! Thanks so much to George, my shuttle driver! For 20 years he has run hikers up and down the Trail for only a donation! He finished his Section Hike some years ago. George is a true Trail Angel. Thank you my new friend!  🌳

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