This morning I set out to traverse the ridge of the sidewall of the East Rim of the Pine Creek Gorge from the Pine Creek Rail Trail to Snyder Point Vista. Today was my second attempt at this. My second attempt was a strategic success. I started at the Darling Run Access Area, walking south along the Rail Trail until I was directly below Snyder Point Vista. The ascent was challenging to say the least, especially considering the thin layer of ice that covered dirt as well as the trunks of many trees. After making it up the very steep slope mostly covered by small to medium-sized Eastern hemlock trees I came to a vertical rock layer. At the base there is a narrow path, worn down it seems, primarily by a porcupine who lives in the area. I followed the porcupine tracks along the trail maybe 30 yards to the south and then up the remainder of the steep slope between two boulders. Not much of a view from Snyder Point today; a thick fog filled the canyon providing zero visibility of West Rim. The temperature was 32 degrees F and a light misty rain had covered the branches of the exposed trees at the vista with a thick coating of ice. From there I traveled north, following the canyon rim on down to where Pinafore Run meets the Rail Trail. It was an easy walk back to the car at Darling Run Access Area from there.
My experience of today's saunter:
I long to take refuge in the thick of the hemlocks on the steep canyon ridge, where the goshawk hides out and the rattle of kingfisher echoes between canyon walls far below.
In the thick of the hemlocks, where porcupine lives, sauntering along side-hill trails from one tree to the next enjoying sweet needles and bark, and resting in the shelter of rocky crevasse between meals. As much as I enjoy the sweet needles I think the porcupine enjoys them more!
Not a sound here today, in the thick of the hemlocks from Snyder Point to Pinafore Run, except the gentlest breeze caressing ice covered branches, and the rush of cool waters from Pine Creek far below. The occasional note from the jays and the ravens reminds me that I'm drawn into community with all my wild neighbors in the thick of the hemlocks on East Rim today.
|Porcupine trail and tracks near the top.|
|Ice covered branches at Snyder Point Vista.|
|A foggy day at Snyder Point Vista.|
|Looking towards West Rim, but too much fog.|
|My scrambling-sauntering route from Pine Creek Rail Trail to Snyder Point.|
|My route from Snyder Point back down to the Pine Creek Rail Trail at Pinafore Run.|