Mohican Outdoor Center (Blairstown, NJ) to Mount Mohican
We had a week-long trip to the Poconos planned for the week of June 12 and decided to begin the adventure early by heading to the Delaware Water Gap vicinity to hike the Appalachian Trail.
We camped on Saturday, June 10 at Stokes State Forest in New Jersey. We got set up in a "primitive" campsite -- which meant it had a well pump and privy but no shower -- and headed out to explore. We drove to the top of Sunrise Mountain and took a quick little walk (maybe 0.5 mile) to the summit. The view was beautiful.
It was already pretty late in the day, so rather than start hiking, we set up our stuff and decided to head out for dinner at Gyp's Tavern. This little diamond is located a short distance from the AT and is right on Kittatinny Lake.
We ordered up burgers and wings (two burgers, an order of rings and wings for under $22) and hung out along the water with a bunch of through hikers. We didn't socialize, as groups were already formed and in full relax mode, but we took in the atmosphere. It was great.
We continued south on our adventure the next day with plans to traverse south from AMC's Mohican Outdoor Center to Sunfish Lake. We stopped in at the little store and got info on the area and then began our trek.
The weather was beautiful and we were psyched to be hiking the AT in another state. We saw a few other groups of hikers and took in the glorious views. We even stopped to text photos to our friends who were road-tripping from Wisconsin.
Wayward was leading, as is often the case (lest she straggles behind) and was dutifully scanning the trail for reptiles. Or so she thought...
Near the crest of Raccoon Ridge, a nanosecond before planting her right pole into the trail, Wayward came to a screeching halt then began back peddling at top speed, directly into Compass. It took a full 3 clicks for her conscious mind to realize what her very active brain had already seen: a timber rattlesnake.
Those 3 clicks were just enough time for the rattler to give a very loud and long warning sound and Tracy to let loose on a deep, guttural scream.
Poor Compass barely knew what hit him!
We were on the lookout for rattlers all along. The area is renowned as being their habitat and they are endangered and protected by law. This beautiful girl (said tongue in cheek) was laying right along the side of the trail sunning herself. All 5 feet of herself. Her girth was about 11" in circumference and her ~5" rattle had between 9-11 rows (one for each year).
The photo on the side of this post is not the snake we saw. We had the good fortune of our shy reptile headed into the grass before we could snap anything besides the bones in our jaws [from screaming].
After a few moments gathering our wits, we continued on and put in another 1.4 miles before deciding to head back so that we could shower and head on to our next adventure.
Trip length: 7.72 miles
Departure time: 9:10 am
Return time: 1:20 pm