Last week I returned to the Mid-State trail with my brother. We intended to follow it from the Jo Hays vista trailhead to Laurel Run Road. Since I had previously hiked a few miles of this before and the trail had run more or less along the ridge and since both trailheads are located along the ridge I reasoned that the trail must follow the ridge for the whole distance. That's basically the hike we took but when I returned home I found that my copy of the Mid-State Trail guide had arrived and a quick perusal showed me that we had actually done a combination of the Mid-State trail and the Jackson trail. The Jackson trail ends at Jo Hays vista on PA26 near where the Mid-State trailhead is so I guess it's an easy mistake to make.
The Jackson trail is extremely rocky. It follows the ridge of the mountain even when that ridge becomes very sharp and so rocky that no trees will grow. But this means that there are spectacular views of the surrounding valleys. Here are some photos to give you an idea.
There was very little elevation gain or loss on this trip. But as you can imagine the hiking was hard because the ground was so rocky. Afterward my ankles were sore from being twisted at each step.
It was a beautiful hike and we really enjoyed it. When it got dark we stopped for dinner. I was reminded how much I enjoy my DIY woodgas stove. If you haven't made one yet then you really should. You can follow the directions I give in the link above. This time of year it's one of my favorite pieces of gear. It's just so simple and reliable. A full load (about a handful) of twigs boil about 2.5 to 3 cups of water just perfectly. We fired it up three times that evening. The first time was to make some chili mac for dinner and then later (since we were still hungry) we made some Ramen. Then as it got late we made a big batch of hot cocoa. I didn't use a lighter or matches this time. I found that vaseline soaked cotton ball could be easily lit with a firesteel striker.
Since I hadn't been out for a while I was really struck with how much I enjoy being out in the woods. The beauty of nature is soothing to the soul.
Great Hikes in the Whites: The Red Ridge Loop
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