Trekking Jordan

trekking-jordan

Wednesday, November 16, 2022, @ 7:30 PM at Illicks Mill

Monthly program meeting AMC -Lehigh Valley Group. This meeting will take place in person at Illick’s Mill in Bethlehem and via Zoom for those unable to attend in person. If attending on Zoom, you must register in advance at https://outdoors.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZclcO-hqj0sHN352jnTBnghX_A65UAQXZm3 to receive the Zoom login info.

The program will be “Trekking Jordan” presented by Paula Uhrin: A journey from Amman through the ancient city of Petra and the desert of Wadi Rum to the shores of the Red Sea, Jordan is a country of unexpected beauty. Walking in the footsteps of the Nabataeans who inhabited the region in the 4th Century BC is an experience like no other, but there is much more to see in Jordan as it transformed from an ancient wonder to modern nation. The friendly people, the amazing food, and the stunningly beautiful landscapes will draw you in and keep you mesmerized.

If attending on Zoom, you must register in advance. Please use the button below to register

trekking-jordan

No Meeting in October 2022

AMC Delaware Valley Logo

There will be no monthly meeting of the AMC-Lehigh Valley Group in October 2022 because most of the organizers will be out of the country enjoying new adventures.

The next LVG meeting will take place on Weds, Nov 16th. The program will be “Trekking Jordan“, presented by Paula Uhrin, and judging from the photos she sent for publicity purposes, it should be a most interesting program.

AMC Delaware Valley Logo

AT Ridge Runner program completes its 30th year

AMC Delaware Valley Logo

Our ridge runner this year was Maggie Gardner and she did a great job! Maggie and her husband Alex thru-hiked the trail in 2019. He was on track to being a ridge runner in 2020, but the pandemic interrupted those plans. He is currently employed as a botanist so could not now pursue ridge running, but Maggie, a nurse by profession, decided to take a break and to become a ridge runner for a season to give back and to reconnect with the trail experience that had been so important to both of them.

AMC Delaware Valley Logo

She seems to have succeeded in those goals while again rediscovering some of the solitude and the wilderness experience so intrinsic to the trail, while connecting with a variety of trail users. She also said that she learned through her involvement and work with volunteers from several maintaining clubs about the work that goes into preserving and protecting that experience for current and future users of the trail. She has now returned to South Carolina to be with her husband. She will be missed.

A ridge runner is a seasonal paid five day a week position to help educate users of the Appalachian Trail about Leave No Trace while helping to care for and protect the trail in partnership with the local maintaining clubs including our chapter.

Ridge runners have been deployed along many sections of the AT from Maine to Georgia in areas of higher impact and usage. A 42-mile section of trail above the Lehigh Valley included in this program may have increased usage due to its proximity to the population centers in Lehigh Valley, easy access from the New York and New Jersey areas, along with many road access points including the Delaware Water Gap.

This program has continued since 1992 with continuing grants from the Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, plus our chapter and trails volunteers working in partnership with the Appalachian Trail Conservancy and the trails staff of AMC.

The DV Chapter has been proud to continue supporting this program along with other trail clubs with volunteer time, work and with financial support.

article by, Bill Steinmetz

Pitch in and Help! DV Chapter takes over maintenance on additional 7 miles of AT

trail-maintenance-work-bridge

Chapter trail work also includes building new trails at Nockamixon and Ringing Rocks parks

AMC’s Delaware Valley Chapter has taken over maintenance responsibilities for a seven mile section of the Appalachian Trail from Fox Gap (PA route 191) to the western end of the I-80 bridge across the Delaware River. This section was formerly maintained by the Wilmington Trail Club, that could no longer get sufficient volunteers to do the work.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy (ATC), that oversees maintenance of the trail, may try to get another club to take on this section, but for the foreseeable future this us our chapter’s responsibility.

trail-workers-national-public-lands-tryptograph
photo credit: Lennie Steinmetz

Trails Chair Greg Bernet noted that some of this section goes through the village of Delaware Water Gap, PA, and some is on a dirt road, so that actual trail maintenance is less than six miles.

He also noted that the Kirkridge Shelter and privy are located on this section and will be our responsibility to maintain. The shelter is in good condition, but the privy needs repair or replacement

The DV Chapter’s Appalachian Trail Crew, headed by Dan Schwartz, has long done regular maintenance on our adopted 15-mile section of the famed hiking trail from Wind Gap south to Little Gap on the Northampton-Monroe county line. We also maintain and watch the Leroy Smith Shelter and privy on that section.

DV chapter is also involved in building a new trail at Nockamixon State Park, and in the spring will begin work on a new trail section at Ringing Rocks County Park, both in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. We also do regular trail work at French Creek State Park.

nockamixon-national-public-lands-day-trail-work-group-volunteers
photo credit: Lennie Steinmetz

Trail Volunteers: many kinds, many skill levels. What is right for you?

  • Trail work involves manual labor from easy to strenuous, from pruning bushes and painting blazes to moving rocks and building steps. Tools and training are provided.
  • AT corridor monitors hike the edge of the AT’s designated land and report any intrusions such as illegal structures or tree cutting. They blaze the boundary and locate surveyor monuments.
  • Shelter watchers hike a few miles and periodically visit the shelters and privies to check on them. Several watchers take turns on a schedule.

Don‘t just hike the trails! Help! Volunteer for a day or for more

Contact trails@amcdv.org or check the activities calendar.

2022 Chapter Annual Meeting and Dinner

Celebrating DV Chapter’s 60th Anniversary

Saturday, November 5 from 5:00 to 9:00 PM
Central Bucks Senior Activity Center,
700 N. Shady Retreat Road, Doylestown, PA

Central Bucks Senior Activity Center,
700 N. Shady Retreat Road, Doylestown, PA

Featured presentation: Delaware Canal history, Susan Taylor
Susan Taylor, now retired, served for 30 years as Executive Director at the Friends of the Delaware Canal

5 PM happy hour, BYOB
6 PM dinner, all inclusive buffet
7 PM election of new officers for 2023
plus service and 25-50 year membership recognition
7:30 regional updates by Mark Zakutansky
7:45 Presentation on Delaware Canal history and views, Susan Taylor;
Cost is still just $25
payable by credit card or check at amcdv.org/dinnerpay.html

AMC Delaware Valley Logo

2023 Executive Committee Nominations

Chair

Karla Geissler

Vice Chair

George Cagle

Secretary

Susan Weida

Treasurer

Marty Mersky

Backpacking

Steve Campanelli

Bicycling

Terry Berntsen

Communication

Eric Pavlak

Conservation

Adrian Noble

DEI

Marcia Telthorster

Family Activities

Annette Sheldon

Hiking

Joe Nanfara

Leadership

Ron Phelps

Membership

Lisa Chou

Paddling

Eric Pavlak

Social

Annette Sheldon

Trails

Greg Bernet

20s & 30s

Anna Lise Almira

Announcements & Upcoming Events

AMC Delaware Valley Logo

2022 is AMC Delaware Valley Chapter’s 60th year anniversary.

Celebration during the Fall Fest on Saturday, September 24, 2022 at AMC Mohican Outdoor Center.

We are encouraging Leaders to lead the “60-year” term trips.

New Hiking Chair

Welcome to Joe Nanfara, our new hiking chair. Joe was approved by the DV Executive Committee to fill the position made vacant by the previous chair’s resignation. Joe will serve the remainder of the current term which wends November 5, and has been nominated to serve as hiking chair for 2023.

Mark Your Calendar

Annual Dinner Meeting on Saturday, November 5, 2022

AMC Delaware Valley Logo

79 Degrees North Latitude

backpacking-axel-heiberg-tents

Wed. Sept 21, Lehigh Valley Group Meeting @ 7:30 PM at Illicks Mill, 100 Illicks Mill Rd, Bethlehem, Pa 18017 and on Zoom.

backpacking-axel-heiberg-tents

Margaret McDonald will take us to Axel Heiberg Island, an uninhabited island in the High Arctic. It is in the Canadian territory of Nunavut; one of the Sverdrup Archipelago in the Queen Elizabeth Island Group. In winter this land is desolate and uninviting to all but the most hardy. However in the short summer, July and August, it is a different story.

Margaret recently hiked and backpacked a small area of Axel Heiberg. The latitude was 78-79 degrees north latitude, the furthest north she had ever been. It is not an easy destination to access but well worth the trouble. Join her for a presentation of her Axel Heiberg adventure.

Information on upcoming outdoor events will be available. Everyone is welcome. Reservations are required. Contact coordinator with any questions.

Presentation from live recording is available below.

August Camp 2022 at North Cascades

august-camp-week-one-funny-feature

AMC’s August Camp 2022 is taking place this year in the beautiful North Cascades of Washington state.  A number of DV Chapter members were in attendance at Week 1 (July 16-23) or Week 2 (July 23-30), as you can see from the accompanying photos.  We hope that the Week 3 & 4 campers have as great a time as these groups did!

Bucktail Path

backpacking-bucktail-path-pa

Appalachian Mountain Club, Delaware Valley Chapter, hosted the Elk State Forest backpack, which was a through hike of the Bucktail path. This backpack was quite the adventure; from the plowing through the nettle fields, dodging the lunging rattle snakes, eating blue berries, coyotes making weird sounds.

This hike consisted of opportunities to learn more from friends as they talk about what they know in nature. A lot of great conversations added to the experience.

Watch the documentary videos by Ernie Bailey below.

Wilderness First Aid Course is being offered on a Weekend in August at French Creek State Park.

larry-hospital-room

Classes are held Saturday August 20 and Sunday August 21, 2022.

Earn your Wilderness First Aid certification (WFA) or re-certify at reduced AMC prices. Join us at French Creek State Park for two days of classroom and hands-on practice.

People get sick and people get hurt in places where definitive medical care may not be available on a timely basis. With a basic understanding of first aid YOU may make a positive difference. Space is limited so sign up soon. Completion of the two day course entitles you to a two year certification in Wilderness First Aid through The Emergency Care and Safety Institute underwritten by the American Academy of Osteopathic Physicians and the American College of Emergency Physicians. Optional CPR training, too.

larry-hospital-room

The Wales Coast Path

the wales coast path solitude sea

The Wales Coast Path is the longest continuous path along a nation’s coastline and Adrian Noble has been wandering on parts of it, on and off, since he was a child. Adrian will talk about the history of the path and the enormous variety of natural and cultural wonders found along it; and also discuss access, accommodations, and route planning.

Information on upcoming outdoor events will be available. Everyone is welcome. Contact coordinator with any questions.

Watch the recording in the link below.
wales coast path logo

Northern Ethiopia

mountains-danakil-depression

Wed. May 18 @ 7:30 PM at Illicks Mill

Location: 100 Illicks Mill Rd, Bethlehem, Pa 18017 and on Zoom.

David Stein will do a presentation on a fascinating trip he took through northern Ethiopia from Gondar, through Tigray and the Danakil Depression. Ethiopia is called the “roof of Africa” for its high mountain peaks. His trip through northern Ethiopia encompassed a taste of its rich natural scenery, ancient past history, and religious culture. He will also share some thoughts on the current situation in the region that he traveled through.

Information on upcoming outdoor events will be available. Everyone is welcome. Contact coordinator with any questions.

No reservations are required for in-person attendance.

Past Zoom presentation is available in the button below.

Bike and Barge – Amsterdam to Bruges

wind-mills-biking-holland-and-belgium

Wednesday, April 20, 2022 at 7:30 PM

Join Bill & Lennie Steinmetz as they tell us about a recent cycling adventure in Europe.

Holland and Belgium are intrinsically linked with cycling and waterways, so what better way to explore these beautiful areas than with a mixture of both? The classic artist’s landscape, synonymous with long canals, windmills, and a rich industrial heritage can be explored on this route, finishing up in the picturesque World Heritage city of Bruges.

Our relaxed cycling holiday starts in Amsterdam, traveling along the canals and waterways, guaranteeing a striking and diverse introduction to the heart of the country. The cycling will take us along calm, tranquil riversides, through perfectly preserved historic villages, and along winding dike roads. On the way, we pass by beautiful windmill-strewn countryside along the Merwede canal and get to explore some of the oldest cities in Holland.

Information on upcoming outdoor events will also be available.

The event recording is available in the link below:

Snakes in a Park

copperhead

By Richard Puglisi

Copperheads! Hard to believe, but that’s what the sign said during a recent hike at Ringing Rocks Park. Wow, and Ringing Rocks has always been such as nice safe place. The ideal location for a fun family outing.

copperhead

It seems the signs resulted from a July, 2021 incident where a teenager was bitten by a copperhead at the park. It was so bad that she needed to be sent to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to be treated with anti-venom treatments every six hours. Her hand had swollen to four times its original size.

Maybe not so unusual when you consider that copperheads along with timber rattlesnakes, both venomous, are common across Pennsylvania. There was an incident in 2015 when two people were bitten at Ohiophyle State Park. A copperhead struck when a rafter stepped on one in a rocky area and another when a person was walking near the restrooms.

An adult copperhead can reach 2-3 feet with a body color of copper or hazel-brown. They like wooded hillsides, stone walls and piles of rock, not to mention rotting logs and large, flat stones located near water. They are fond of rodents, especially mice.

Copperheads are said to be quiet creatures and usually do their best to avoid trouble. Though if threatened and they feel the need to protect themselves, they will strike out vigorously. Venom is injected through two hollow fangs connected to glands located on each side of the head. The injection of venom is painful but with prompt medical attention seldom poses any serious threat to human life. According to the Penn State Poison Center, if you are bitten by a poisonous snake, the most important thing is to stay calm and call 911 or go to a hospital immediately.

In the vast majority of snake encounters, people have ample opportunity to stop, backup or otherwise avoid the snake. If you give snakes a bit of respectable space, you should be fine. Don’t poke them with sticks or throw things at them. Be careful, be cautious and let’s enjoy our parks and the outdoors.

Chimborazo: The Highest Mountain in the World

David Torres Costales Chimborazo Riobamba Ecuador Montaña Mas Alta del Mundo

That is, if you measure from the center of the earth. This extinct stratovolcano is 20,549 feet above sea level, but because it lies on the equator in Ecuador, it sits in the maximum part of the Earth’s equatorial bulge. Its peak is the farthest from Earth’s center, and the closest point on our planet to the Sun. Measured from sea level, it is only the 37th highest in the Andes. Aconcagua in Chile at 22,283 feet is the highest.

David Torres Costales Chimborazo Riobamba Ecuador Montaña Mas Alta del Mundo

The biggest mountain in the world by far is Denali, in Alaska. It is a “mere” 20,310 feet high, but it rises from a 2,000 foot base with an immense bulk that dwarfs all other mountains in the world. Denali means “the great one” in the indigenous Koyukon language. However…

If you include the undersea part of mountains, the Big Island of Hawai’i, topped by Mauna Kea at 13,803 feet above sea level, is even taller and bigger, rising more than 32,000 feet from the depths. In geologic terms it is a youngster, only about a million years old.

Love Butterflies?

monarch butterfly

If you love butterflies, don’t plant butterfly bush!

Rip it out, if you have some. Butterfly bush (Buddleja davidii) helps exterminate butterfly populations, and is detrimental to songbird populations, too. Native to China, it is not edible by the caterpillars of our butterflies. Sure, it attracts them with its nectar, but the butterflies lay their eggs on the plant and their offspring starve to death.

Songbirds, even the vegetarian species, feed their young almost entirely on caterpillars. It takes at least 2,000 caterpillars to raise a nest of cardinals. Doves are the only exception.

monarch butterfly
Monarch Butterfly, milkweed flowers

Plant milkweed! Common milkweed, Asclepias syriaca, a native plant that produces beautiful fragrant flowers will attract many butterflies. There are also many other native species of milkweed that are equally good. If you care about butterflies and songbirds, a good rule is to plant native species. You would be amazed at how many beautiful garden plants are native to our area.

The Third Pole

the third pole mystery obsession and death on mount everest feature

Mystery, Obsession, and Death on Mount Everest

by Mark Synnott, Dutton Books, 2021

Book review by Kathy Kelly-Borowski

Who has not heard of the 1996 Mount Everest Disaster? Many books have been written about that deadly season: Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer, The Climb: Tragic Ambitions on Everest by Anatoli Boukreev, Left For Dead: My Journey Home from Everest by Beck Weathers, Climbing High: A Woman’s Account of Surviving the Everest Tragedy by Lene Gammelgaard, and After the Wind: 1996 Everest Tragedy, One Survivor’s Story by Lou Kasischke. I have read the first three mentioned.

Mount Everest is referred to as the “third pole” because it has the biggest ice mass after the earth’s north and south polar regions. Mark Synnott is an experienced professional climber who became part of a team that went to Mount Everest using Northeast Ridge. The group was trying to solve the mystery of the 1924 British Expedition to be the first to summit the mountain. Did George Mallory and Sandy Irvine actually stand on the roof of the world on June 8?

the third pole mystery obsession and death on mount everest

George Mallory’s body was found in 1999 and detailed in the book The Lost Explorer: Finding Mallory on Mount Everest by Conrad Anker and David Roberts. Sandy Irvine’s body was never found. It was believed that a Kodak camera was carried by one of the climbers to record their attempt. No camera was found on Mallory’s body, so it was thought if Irvine’s body was found he may have the camera. If the film was still viable, the mystery might be solved.

Before the 2019 team’s summit push, Renan Ozturk, a professional mountaineer and filmmake, used a drone that weighed only one and a half pounds and fit in the palm of his hand to photograph the terrain and map the mountain. These photographs were used to locate the area where they believed Irvine’s body was located. Renan had to hack the drone’s safety functions, allowing it to descend quickly and operate at high elevations.

Synnott weaves the history of Everest, Mallory, Irvine, and other climbers throughout the story while describing “the year Everest broke.” Traffic jams on the Northeast Ridge and South Col Route occurred during summit attempts in 2019. There were eleven deaths that season, with four deaths blamed on overcrowding. Avoiding spending extra exhausting hours in the “death zone,” Mark and his team waited until those crowds cleared to make their push.

The National Geographic documentary Lost On Everest was released about the expedition and is streaming on Disney Plus

Most Active Participants & Leaders in 2021

Appalachian-Mountain-Club-Delaware-Valley

The following are lists for the 2021, most active participants and most active leaders of Appalachian Mountain Club Delaware Valley Chapter.

Most active participants in 2021

Jane Richter
Gregory Bernet
Jay Gross
Jerry Taylor
Nancy Marciniak
Susan Weida
Adrian Noble
John Rogers
Richard Einstein
Dave Hoke
Robert Hileman
Annette Sheldon
Stan deRiel
Christine Filippone
Elizabeth Depenna
Jerald Srodes
Larry Priori
Kathy Ciliberti
Cameron Smith
John Rowen
Dave Schofield
Lois Rothenberger
Mary Morley
James Bloom
Michelle Thompson
Paul Schulke
Holly Adams
Robert Willenbucher
David Rabold
Joanne McDonald
Sue Auyeung
Mike Manes
Karen Rossino
Peter Jarrett
Lynn Fraser
Jeffrey Schrager
Diane Ullmer
R. Phelps
Walter Auyeung
Richard Hudson
John Buzdygon
Geraldine Chmiel
Michael Ahern
Lisa Kleiman
Martin Mersky
Lennie Steinmetz
Rich Pace
Jesse Gusler
Susan Bickford-Martin
Scott Holloway
Amy Newman
Dorothy Knaus
Kathy Gill
Blase Hartman
Susan Mosley
Midori Wakabayashi
Carol Broadbent
Kayleen Soffer
George Rockett
Allison Hudson
Lisa Schustak
Paul Schott

1141.7
702.75
696.3
416.4
369.95
351.95
338.3
321.6
312.55
308
303.5
284.8
284.8
260.5
260.2
249.9
242.87
226.8
225.4
221.6
210.8
203.1
201.9
180.9
177.2
176
169.65
169.45
167.2
156.2
155.5
154.2
153.1
145.2
143.9
142
137.9
137.52
135.5
135.3
135
132.6
132
126.45
125.15
124.65
123.77
120
119.4
112.5
111.5
111.2
110
107.1
106.6
106
104.3
104.3
102.5
101.8
101.35
101

Miles Equivalent Scale

ranked by mile equivalents

Hiking – 1 mile = 1 mile
Backpacking – 1 mile = 1 mile
Snowshoeing – 1 mile = 1 mile
Biking – 1 day bike ride = 10 miles
Paddling – 1 day paddling = 10 miles
X-C skiing – 1 day trip = 10 miles
Alpine skiing – 1 day trip = 10 miles
Trail work – 1/2 day = 15 miles
Conservation – 1/2 day =15 miles
Shelter Watch – 1 visit = 10 miles
Volunteering – 1 outing = 10 miles

Most active leaders in 2021

four or more leads

Michael Ahern
Katie Barok
Gregory Bernet
Theresa Berntsen
Susan Bickford-Martin
Steven Campanelli
Paul Davis
Stan deRiel
Richard Einstein
Judy Farrell
Jay Gross
Blase Hartman
Peter Jarrett
Raun Kercher
Lisa Kleiman
Denis McCartan
David Mong

Adrian Noble
Rich Pace
Janet Penner
Larry Priori
George Rockett
John Rogers
Karen Rossino
Lois Rothenberger
John Rowen
Daniel Schwartz
Annette Sheldon
Jacob Sitkin
Kayleen Soffer
Lennie Steinmetz
Jerry Taylor
Diane Ullmer
Jill Watkins
Julia Watson
Susan Weida

Outdoor Leadership Training 2022

Leadership Training in Nockamixon State Park

May 07 & 08 2022

Do you want to step up and lead outdoor activities or boost your leadership confidence and skills? If so, this training is for you!

The Delaware Valley Chapter will host AMC Outdoor Leadership Training on the weekend of May 07 & 08 2022. To make this event easily accessible for DV Chapter members, this session will take place at Nockamixon State Park near Quakertown PA.

Everyone is welcome to attend – new leaders, new members, experienced leaders, members who just want to learn what leadership is all about.

Training utilizes an experiential model where you get outdoors and participate in mock scenarios. Not only is this method a more effective approach to learning – it’s also fun!

AMC Leadership Training
Leadership Training in Nockamixon State Park

Exploring the Tunnels of Conestoga

hikers silhouette photo in tunnel

A group of ten participants went on an AMC led hike along the Enola Low Grade Rail Trail to explore the tunnels that help drain the railroad tracks in this area. These tunnels were engineered with precision with their attention to detail in their brickwork and strong bases. The first half of the hike took the participants through the first six tunnels (this includes one tunnel you drive through to reach the parking area.) At the top of each tunnel, there is a numeric code which was used by a thief to recover their stashed gems. (More on that here: https://unchartedlancaster.com/tunnels-of-enola-adventure/tunnels-of-enola-lost-diary/) The route passes by an old train wreckage site where rail car debris is visible.

After the first part of the hike was completed, part of the group, entered the optional secondary part of the hike, which consisted of an exploratory search for more historic remains. This led them further into the Shenks Ferry Wildflower Preserve where they discovered a seventh tunnel. What an exciting exploration in this historic area!

Tales From The Trail

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tales-from-the-trail

New Book Release

Tales from the Trail: Stories from the Oldest Hiker Hostel on the Appalachian Trail by Sherry Blackman has been released worldwide. This 255-page collection pays tribute to those who dare such a grueling and soul-satisfying adventure on the 2200-mile hike from Georgia to Maine.

The Presbyterian Church of the Mountain in Delaware Water Gap, Pennsylvania, is home to the oldest, continuously-running Hiker Hostel on the Appalachian Trail (AT), offering sanctuary to over 1200 hikers per year. Blackman is a spiritual-investigative reporter in her new book, relying on decades of experience as a prize-winning, globe-trotting journalist, poet and author. She brings a keen observational eye, an inquisitive intellect, and deep-down compassion to those who shared their stories and longings for answers, healing, and transformation in this cathedral of the wild.

Tales from the Trail, part memoir and part spiritual reflection, chronicles the adventures—some humorous, some deeply moving—of those who dare to strip life down to its bare bones to discover or rediscover their humanity.

Tales from the Trail (ISBN: 9781737628736) can be purchased through retailers worldwide, including barnesandnoble.com and Amazon. The paperback retails for $15.99. Wholesale orders are available through Ingram.

During the 2020 pandemic, one thing held true: Scores of people headed out for a day hike on the Appalachian Trail (AT) as if being in the woods, immersed in beauty and mystery, immunized them against an invisible enemy. The AT became a hospital for souls locked up in quarantine, needing to breathe, stretch, and be nourished by the earth beneath their feet.

For decades, the AT has been a sanctuary for seekers, the tired and the lost; those hungry for renewal, the broken and the grieving; and those who want to face and answer questions they have lugged around with them in invisible backpacks. Questions like, what is next for me? Is there a God? Should I live or end it all? How can I liberate my life from what weighs it down? How can I forgive God?

This book pays tribute to all those who dare such a grueling and soul-satisfying adventure. It tells the tales of those on a pilgrimage through insightful conversations and encounters, exploring and revealing what angels the hikers are wrestling with in the wilderness, angels who call out to name them again. This collection unveils the spirituality of any such journey in sometimes humorous, sometimes heart-wrenching portraits.

Tales from the Trail explores what it means to be human.

Yellowstone National Park in Winter

two hikers with x-country skiis in yellowstone in a snowy winter

Wednesday, March 16, 2022 at 7:30PM

Join Holly Adams as she tells us about exploring an area that has been termed, “The Land of Fire and Ice”: Yellowstone N P in winter. Using a seasonal yurt camp in Canyon Village as a base, travel by snow coach and x-country skis to visit iconic landmarks such as the Upper Geyser Basin and Old Faithful and the Lower Falls of the Yellowstone River in snowy, winter solitude and without the hordes of summer tourists.

Travel by x-country skis into the backcountry to explore thermal areas and their mud pots, fumaroles, and geysers that are completely off-limit to the summer visitors. View plant and non-hibernating wildlife and discover adaptations that make survival in the subzero winters possible. Finally, return to the town of West Yellowstone to ski groomed areas – one which follows the Madison River back into a corner of the park.

Information on upcoming outdoor events, conservation news and trail maintenance will be available. Everyone is welcome.  Contact coordinator with any questions.

View presentation with passcode: wg@1&ywB

BeOnlineWithAMC: Taking Advantage of Land & Water Conservation Fund Full Funding in the Delaware River Watershed

protecting delaware river conservation large

Thursday, February 10, 2022, 1:30PM – 3:00PM

An opportunity to bring together the staff who administer LWCF stateside grants in multiple states with nonprofit partners who’ve worked mostly on federal LWCF investments, and discuss the opportunities presented by the Great American Outdoors Act’s full permanent funding of LWCF. With more money coming in, we want the project pipeline to be as strong and diverse as possible! The stateside administrators will be able to compare and contrast their state’s approaches and foster greater community outreach and collaboration.

Delaware River Conservation

Please register in advance for this webinar:

The River of No Return: Rafting Idaho’s Salmon River with Mark Zakutansky

idaho-salmon-river

Wednesday, February 16 at 7:30 PM

idaho-salmon-river

Nestled deep in the middle of the 2-million-acre Frank Church Wilderness Area lies the Salmon River, a corridor only accessible as a multi-day whitewater rafting adventure with rapids of class IV difficulty. The 82-mile gorge of the Salmon River ending in Riggins, Idaho, crosses through historic and prehistoric sites and homesteads while traversing the most rugged peaks and ranges of the entire Rocky Mountain range hundreds of miles from civilization. Join Mark Zakutansky on photographic journey of this unique 6-day, 5-night experience, as the group planned and executed this excursion without any guides or professional support tackling travel logistics, food planning, safety, equipment, and permitting, ensuring a successful and enjoyable trip including thrilling rapids, side hikes, iconic wildlife, hot springs, and even costume parties.

Information on upcoming outdoor events will be available. Everyone is welcome.  Contact coordinator with any questions

View the recorded presentation in the link below.

Mountain Majesty
North Cascades • AMC’s August Camp 2022

mount-majesty-north-cascades

Explore magnificent North Cascades National Park, Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, and Ross Lake and Lake Chelan National Recreation Areas. Camp on the banks of the swift Skagit River in the shadow of 10,781 foot high glaciated Mt. Baker.

Hike, raft, bike and more, visiting many stunning waterfalls and scenic vistas on dozens of activities led by trained AMC volunteers. Just arrive and enjoy the activities and camaraderie. Everything’s provided: tents, hearty, delicious meals prepared by our staff, local transportation and a free shuttle from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.

July 16 through August 13. Plan to attend for one week or two. Details and registration are on our website. Camp filled by early February last year, so don’t miss out! Sign up early for the week(s) you want!

  • Week 1: July 16 — July 23
  • Week 2: July 23 — July 30
  • Week 3: July 30 — Aug. 6
  • Week 4: Aug. 6 — Aug. 13

Cost per person per week: AMC Member $1275; Non-member $1525

The general application window for August Camp 2022 is January 3-12, 2022. Acceptance will be made based on a random lottery system, but applications will continue to be accepted until Camp is full and a substantial waitlist is generated. Visit our website www.augustcamp.org for additional information.

Questions? Ask Lois Rothenberger at ACregistrar@comcast.net

A Walk in France

Sunflower Field, Le Puy Way

A Walk in France, Lehigh Valley Group Zoom Meeting. John Rogers will take us on a walk in France.

Virtually all hikers around the world have heard of the Camino de Santiago, a route in Spain that ends at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, the location of a major shrine to Saint James. The ending point for this famous walk is well known. But where does it begin?

Part of the answer is France, where four major pilgrimage roads converge in the Pyrenees mountains near the small city of Saint Jean Pied-de-Port. The most popular and famous of the four French trails, though little known to Americans, is the Le Puy Route. This trail has acquired many names over more than 1,000 years of use: the Latin Via Podiensis, the French Chemin de Saint Jacques, in English the Way of Saint James, and in modern times the GR 65: one of the long-distance Grande Randonnée walking routes in Europe.

Information on upcoming outdoor events will be available. Everyone is welcome. Contact coordinator with any questions

Join us for an evening as we walk about 800 kilometers (480 miles) of the Le Puy Way through southern France, from the small French city of Le Puy in the Massif Central, to St. Jean Pied-de-Port in the Pyrenees. It took John six weeks to complete the trail, we’ll cover the distance in 60 minutes or less.

View the recording from this past meeting below:

Reauthorize the Highlands Conservation Act

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Many AMC DV members have enjoyed stays at Harriman, and many use (and maintain) trails in other areas of the Pennsylvania and New York Highlands. The current and future health of these lands depends on the Highlands Conservation Act, which expires at the end of this year.

There are two bills now in Congress, H.R.2793 and S.753, that would reauthorize this valuable program, but they need to be voted on. Please ask your members of Congress to bring these bills to a vote as soon as possible.

Backpacking the John Muir Trail

john muir trail aerial view

Margot Lacey did a presentation on November 17, 2021 about her backpacking trip this past summer on the John Muir Trail. As she states: “This past summer, I was one of the fortunate 5% of lottery applicants to receive a permit for the John Muir Trail. Over twenty days, I hiked from one beautiful high alpine lake to the next, climbed innumerable switchbacks to get over the trail’s seven mountain passes, and tried mightily to will away some of the occasional smoky haze, as I made my way south from Yosemite Valley to the summit of Mount Whitney.

john muir trail aerial view

Early in the hike, I befriended three ‘youngsters’ forty years my junior, and we became a little ‘tramily’, camping and often hiking together. It was nice to have familiar faces waiting for me at the top of some hard climbs! I had previously hiked Vermont’s Long Trail, but the JMT was a completely different adventure. Without easy access to towns, it is a more committed hike, with limited resupply options, as well as high altitude and intense sun (but very little mud!). Along with pictures, I’ll talk a bit about the kind of mental/physical/logistical preparation that was involved, the equipment I used, and the different mapping resources that were most useful. Truly an amazing hike!”

View the recording from this past meeting below:

2021 Annual Meeting

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This years annual members meeting took place on November 4th, 2021. Two AMC speakers provided updated information on our latest programs and activities. The election of 2022 Executive Committee took place. There were two annual awards presented including this years Appie Award and this years Golden Appie Award.

Lisa Kleiman burst onto the Delaware Valley Chapter scene in late 2020 as an active and engaged participant in the chapter’s first all virtual leader training. She quickly became certified as a hike leader with an early spring 2021 trek through Tyler Park.

Since then, she has led more than a dozen interesting and creative themed hikes in varied settings including urban, wildlife and nature preserves, and local parks. Lisa’s innovative approach to trip planning helps to promote AMC’s commitment to inclusion, making the outdoors accessible to everyone!

Lisa volunteered in 2021 to serve as the Chapter’s Publicity Chair, executing resourceful strategies to re-engage leaders and members as we emerged from pandemic restrictions for our activities.

AMC’s Delaware Valley Chapter is pleased to present Lisa with the 2021 Appie of the Year award in recognition of her energy and commitment to serving our members.

The Golden Appie is awarded to a chapter member who has provided extraordinary service to the chapter over many years. We are proud to announce that our recipient of the Golden Appie for 2021 is Susan Weida.

An AMC-DV member since 2009, Susan has been actively involved in chapter activities since joining. She is a consistent participant and leader in our recurring Wednesday hike series, in hikes and bike rides all over the area, and hikes in far flung places as well. Susan became a hike and bike leader in 2016 and has consistently led trips since then. She became more involved with the chapter when she served as data recorder of activities and participants, for which she was named Volunteer of the Month. Susan took on more responsibility when she became Chapter Vice Chair 2016-2018 and then Chapter Chair 2018-2020. She proved a very able leader guiding the chapter, and in this role, she also became a valuable member of the Chapters Committee for all AMC chapters. Her views are widely respected by the AMC staff in Boston. She presents her views to them in a way that is not confrontational, but still to the point, and therefore, gets her concerns heard by the powers that be.

Since retiring from the Chair position in 2020 she has still attended Executive Committee meetings this entire year in order to help the current Chair and Vice Chair. Upon the re-opening of activities after the Covid shutdown, Susan took it upon herself to organize and re-introduce our regular Wednesday hikes that are attended and valued by many.

Susan has helped our club in so many ways. She is a doer, not a talker. When something needs to be done, she doesn’t just talk about it, but gets up and DOES it. She is very welcoming and inclusive to all new participants as well as a positive presence to all, and a friend to many veteran participants. Thank you, Susan, for all you have done and continue to do!

2022 Executive Committee

View a list of the 2022 Executive Committee for the Appalachian Mountain Club, Delaware Valley Chapter.

lisa-kleiman-appie-award
Lisa Kleiman
susan-weida-golden-appie
Susan Weida

Annual Meeting set for Thursday November 4, to be held online, 7 to 8 PM.

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The election of next year’s Executive Committee will take place, and all DV chapter members may vote. The meeting is free, and in addition to the election, we will present our annual awards and provide information on our latest programs and activities. 

You must register to attend.

2022 Executive Committee nominees

Chair, Karla Geissler
Vice Chair, Kathy Kelly-Borowski
Secretary, Midori Wakabayashi
Treasurer, Margaret McDonald
Backpacking, Steven Campanelli
Bicycling, Open
Communication, Eric Pavlak
Conservation, Adrian Noble
Diversity, Marcia Telthorster
Family Activities, Annette Sheldon
Hiking, Blase Hartman
Leadership, Ron Phelps
Membership, Lisa Chou
Paddling, Eric Pavlak
Social, Annette Sheldon
Trails, Greg Bernet
20s-30s Members, Katie Barok

If you wish to volunteer for one of the three open positions, contact nominations@amcdv.org.

Appalachian-Mountain-Club-Delaware-Valley

August Camp 2021 –  Maine

stream near Little Lyford Pond in Maine
stream near Little Lyford Pond in Maine

For the first time since 2004, AMC’s August Camp took place on the east coast this year. Since Maine is where August Camp started back in 1887, it seemed like a particularly appropriate place to re-visit. As you will hear from campers Agnes Sablow, Holly Adams, Sammi Gibb Roff and leaders Mark Kern, Phill Hunsberger, and Lennie Steinmetz, the camp at Little Lyford Pond near Greenville, ME turned out to be a truly delightful experience. Join us to hear about hiking, paddling, and exploring in the Maine Woods and why there were so many “happy campers” at AC 2021!

Please register in advance for this meeting.

Naturalist Photo Contest!

delware river
delware river
photo courtesy of Delaware River Means

Take, identify, and submit photos of plants, animals, and fungi that you come across while out-and-about in and around the Delaware River for chances to win great outdoor-related prizes! 
The Delaware River Means Biodiversity contest is your chance to connect on a more thoughtful level with the natural world around you.

The Delaware River Watershed provides a thriving home to hundreds of species and if you look closely enough, you will be able to find them just about anywhere! 

Contest Link: Delaware River Means | Delaware River Means Biodiversity | Campaign

Facebook Page: Delaware River Means | Facebook

The valuable community science tool, iNaturalist, is a great way to get involved with researchers and help further their science while also giving you the opportunity to learn something new! Simply record your observations, share with fellow iNaturalists, and discuss your findings. Each of your observations will contribute to biodiversity science by helping scientists collect and use your data. iNaturalist is a free, easy-to-use app that anyone can enjoy!

iNaturalist:  A Community for Naturalists · iNaturalist

Iceland Road Trip

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A virtual Zoom meeting will be held 7:30 pm. Wednesday, September 15, 2021. Join Phill Hunsberger and his daughter, Robbin, as they tell us about a road trip they took with other family members to Iceland in July of 2021. Waterfalls, dairy farms, recent lava flows, hiking a mountain and soaking in a thermal fed stream are amount the items they will highlight of their trip around this almost treeless island in the north Atlantic.
Information on upcoming outdoor events will be available. Everyone is welcome. Reservations are required. Contact coordinator with any questions.

This event has was from the past. Please click the link below to see the recording.

Swamp Things

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A hike in Delaware State Forest

From the scarlet tanager to the mating luna moths to the two black bears (which safely ran away like usual). This land is thriving with life! Sadly the logging industry has pushed forward in this area to make up for the lumber demands. It’s not a pretty sight. Lets hope the industry is maintaining the responsible efforts to save space for the homes of our friends of the woods.

The Swamp Things hike was amazing this year! What a great group we had. Thank you all for being a part of the experience.

Important Changes and Activity Dates

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AMC’s brand new guideline starts on June 11, 2021!

(Paper waiver form and “Show-up and go” trips will be back!)

AMC’s Trailfest throughout the month of June.

Get dirty, Give back, Make new friends! (* No experience necessary)

Welcome New Activity Chairs:

Hiking: Blase Hartman
Backpacking: Steven Campanelli

Vaccinate, if you can!

Happy Outdoors!

Nepal Village Life

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Future Zoom Presentation

A virtual Zoom meeting will be held 7:30 pm. Wednesday, June, 16, 2021. Join Phill Hunsberger as he tells us about a business trip with his nephew, Dale Nafziger, to Barchet Tole village, Nuwakot District, Nepal, Mr. Nafziger, who operates a coffee business in Kathmandu, Nepal is establishing a business relationship with subsistence farmers in Barchet Tole, to grow quality coffee. This coffee will that be bought by Mr. Nafziger and used in his Top of the World business, in Kathmandu. We are aware of the beauty of Nepal’s scenic trekking destinations; this presentation will highlight another side of the Nepal: the beauty of life in a village distant from any the tourist route.

Information on upcoming outdoor events will be available. Everyone is welcome. Reservations are required. Contact Phill H. at 610-533-1390 with any questions.

Please register in advance for this meeting on Zoom meeting.

Preserve the View with AMC

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A Zoom meeting. Join AMC’s Mark Zakutansky and Cathy Poppenwimer to learn about a science-based campaign and call to action to preserve scenic trail experiences. The Protect the View campaign seeks to preserve ten picturesque views vulnerable to development pressure located along Circuit Trails in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.

Find out how these views were selected as well as potential outcomes and how to get involved. This presentation will touch on how to put data together, inform policy, and work with local partners – relevant components for protecting other threatened open spaces throughout AMC’s region.

View the recording of the presentation from May 19, 2021 in the link below.

Use access Passcode: 2kwDua#8

Job Opportunity: Conservation Outreach Manager, Mid-Atlantic Region

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Appalachian Mountain Club

The Appalachian Mountain Club (AMC) is seeking a talented and enthusiastic conservation advocate and public policy professional to lead our coalition-based work to advance conservation and recreation in the Mid-Atlantic Region, based out of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. A qualified candidate will be enthusiastic about AMC’s conservation and recreation mission, have a proven track record as a skilled communicator, and will have experience in community and constituency engagement around environmental and outdoor recreation issues.

The Conservation Outreach Manager is primarily focused on eastern Pennsylvania but will support other AMC conservation initiatives from northern Virginia to Connecticut. Priority initiatives include state and federal legislative and regulatory public policy issues in the region that seek to combat and prepare for climate change; protect the region’s landscape and waters; and advance equitable access to the outdoors.

Come Join the Planning!

Group biking along the Lehigh Gorge

Phase 3 starts on June 12, 2021! More activities, more people.

Leaders, let’s connect with each other and have some fun. Discussions and planning for our in-person leader social and much more. Expect prizes and raffles during the Zoom event. Save the Date – June 8 (Tue) 7:30 PM

Vaccinate, if you can!

Next EC Meeting on Zoom: June 1 (Tue) 7:00 PM Discussion Topic: Reopening All the members are welcome.

Reminder: National Trails Day 2021: June 5 (Sat).

News from AMCDV Executive Committee (May 2021)

Delaware Canal Photos – Old and New

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Originally held April 21

Susan Taylor, Executive Director of the Friends of the Delaware Canal, will present an eclectic mix of images that take in the Canal from the Forks of the Delaware in Easton to Phillips’ Mill in New Hope. You will see:

  • exceptional nature and landscape photos
  • pictures from the canal’s past
  • records of what has been happening in and along the Canal recently

Conservation on an Astronomical Scale

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Originally held Wednesday, March 17

Join Doug Arion, Executive Director of Mountains of Stars, for a discussion of light pollution: how it compromises our ability to observe space from the surface of the earth, its surprisingly widespread effects, its impacts on people and the environment, and how we can fix the problem and save money at the same time.

This presentation will also describe the effort we are conducting with the AMC to create an International Dark Sky Park and Reserve surrounding the AMC lands in the Maine Woods — which will preserve 100,00 acres of the last dark sky area in the eastern 2/3 of the US!

Unfortunately, we did not succeed in recording this meeting, but the presenter has kindly provided a link to a similar program he presented to another AMC group:

If you’d like to learn more about Doug’s organization and its many efforts to address this challenging situation, go to: www.mountainsofstars.org/

What’s New in Eastern PA State Parks?

Hickory-Run-visitiors-center

Originally held Wednesday, February 17

DCNR is a statewide leader in land conservation, trails initiatives, and manages much of the land available for public recreational access. During the COVID-19 pandemic, state parks attendance increased over 26%, from 37 million to nearly 47 million visitors. Some parks in Eastern Pennsylvania saw months where their visitor numbers more than doubled. With those rapid increases in visitation came increased pressures on our public resources, and increased difficulties for staff to engage an abundance of new visitors while still protecting and maintaining our public lands. Despite the challenges, it has been rewarding to see clear evidence of people turning to outdoor spaces such as state parks for recreation and solace during the pandemic.

In addition to discussing the impacts of high visitation pressure on our public lands, we’ll discuss updates and recent projects at some of the 20 state parks or park complexes in Eastern Pennsylvania. With a new park office and visitor center at Hickory Run, which opened in 2020, the recent addition of the Kittatiny Ridge to our Conservation Landscapes program, and the guidance provided by our Penn’s Parks For All planning initiative, there is a lot of news to share!

Recording Unavailable

Greg Bernet presented with Pychowska trails award for third time

greg-bernet-trail-work-pychowska-trails

Chapter Trails Chair Greg Bernet was the recipient of the Marian Pychowska Award for the third time by doing 158 hours of trail work during 2020, presented at AMC’s Annual Summit on January 23, There are 96 hours minimum required for award.

He is the leader of the Pennsylvania Highlands Trail Stewards who have built new trails around Ringing Rocks County Park, in Veterans’ Park near Quakertown, and are currently scouting a new trail to be built in Nockamixon State Park. He also leads the New Jersey Highlands Trail Crew which does maintenance in Jenny Jump State Forest and the western section of The Highlands Trail.

Greg is AMC-DV’s Coordinator of the Appalachian Trail Boundary Monitors program for the Appalachian Trail Conference and National Park Service, as well as a monitor himself. He is also a member of our club’s AT maintenance crew and a certified sawyer, does solo maintenance on a section of the AT in N.J. at Culvers Gap in Stokes State Forest as well as on the Pahaquarry Trail on the backside of Mt. Tammany at Delaware Water Gap, and he is AMC-DV’s representative to the New York New Jersey Trail Conference.

greg-bernet-trail-work-pychowska-trails

Raun Kercher earns AMC 2021 Volunteer Leadership Award

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Raun Kercher of the Delaware Valley Chapter is a recipient of AMC’s 2021 Volunteer Leadership Award, which was presented at the club-wide annual meeting, held on line this year because of the ongoing pandemic. Since completing Outdoor Leadership Training, Raun has become a hiking, biking and backpacking leader for the Delaware Valley Chapter. He has led a wide variety of trips in each of these activities, notably characterized by his detailed, creative and compelling trip descriptions. After only one year as a leader, he took on the role of Publicity Chair for the DV Chapter. He applied his creative and technology talents in many ways to increase the chapter’s social media presence on Facebook and Instagram. Raun produced entertaining and informative videos about Earth Day and our new activity ratings system to be shared on these platforms. He also elevated the promotion of the chapter’s Fall Gathering to new levels. In 2020, he volunteered to join DV’s Leadership Committee, making important contributions to the leadership training planning efforts. He is playing a critical role in development of a virtual outdoor leadership training platform for the chapter. Raun’s diverse efforts as a leader, trainer, and technology specialist have made a positive difference for AMC and the DV Chapter.

Improve Your Travel Photos

improve-your-travel-photos

Originally held Wednesday, January 20

Larry Bieber has had the good fortune to travel the world with a camera in hand and the opportunity to take several National Geographic courses on how to use that camera. He will share some suggestions with us on how to raise the level of our travel pictures and then show pictures from two of his trips – one to Bhutan and the other to Iceland.

Membership

shelter-dedication

In 2022, the Delaware Valley Chapter will celebrate its 60th year of existence. In October 1962 when the chapter was formed, there were about 200 members in the Philadelphia area. Ten years later, the membership had grown to 620. By the time of the chapter’s 25th anniversary in 1987, there were 1187 members. As of January 2021, the chapter has 4,831 members.

shelter-dedication

The Unlikely Thru-Hiker

unlikely-thru-hiker

An Appalachian Trail Journey by Derick Lugo

Published by AMC Books, 2020

Review by Kathy Kelly-Borowski

Since finishing the Appalachian Trail in 1989, I have read many books on Appalachian Trail hikes. Just some of them include Walking with Spring, Grandma Gatewood’s Walk, A Walk for Sunshine, A Walk in the Woods, Just Passin’ Thru, AWOL on the Appalachian Trail and The Barefoot Sisters Southbound.

It would be no surprise to anyone that I would pick up The Unlikely Thru-Hiker, especially because of its epic cover.

This is the story of Derick’s thru-hike in 2012. What makes Derick an unlikely thru-hiker? Derick is of Puerto Rican and African American heritage, placing him in a distinct minority among thru-hikers. He grew up in New York City, never camping or taking a hike before stepping on the AT.

On March 19, Derick started the Amicalola approach trail, a strenuous 7.8 miles to Springer Mountain, the Southern terminus of the AT. (When I started my AT hike I opted to start at the Springer Mountain parking area and walked one mile south to the trailhead to avoid the approach trail.)

A few days into the hike, Derick is given his trail name ”Mr. Fabulous” because on the trail, as at home, he liked “to stay groomed, fresh and well dressed”.

Mr. Fabulous was the 438th hiker to start the season. He was given the number 438 by the ranger at Katahdin Steam Campground six months later signifying the 438th hiker to finish the trail that season on September 17.

He started his day by touching a white blaze, “showing gratitude and respect for the markers that guided” him through the wilderness.

Mr. Fabulous was true to his thru-hike by hiking every mile of the trail with his backpack and hiking poles. Most hikers including me leave their backpack and poles at the ranger station before the last 5.2 miles to the northern terminus of the trail.

“Free food and showers is definitely the way to a thru-hiker’s heart” is what Derick says about the hiker feed given by the First Baptist Church in Damascus, VA. How true is this statement?

While hiking in PA, Derick gets a text message from his hiking partner for the day, “Can you drown in rocks? Because there is an ocean of them before me!”

Can anyone relate to this? Mr. Fabulous received advice from a guy he meets attending Trail Days in Damascus; “Be kind to all, don’t take your friends for granted, and be memorable.” This is great advice for all of us especially during the current lock down.

This book is well written and entertaining. I had a hard time putting it down. It is a series of short trail stories instead of covering every state he walked through.

Derick remained positive during his trek north. He signed the shelter journals with the phrase “Peace, Love & All That Good Stuff.”

The question the book left me with: Did Mr. Fabulous ever see a moose?

Kathy Kelly-Borowski has led DV Chapter trips for more than three decades. She thru-hiked the AT in 1989. You can read more of her reviews and many other book reviews at amcdv.org/books.html.

You can purchase this book and others and get a member discount at amcstore.outdoors.org/books-maps

unlikely-thru-hiker

National Park Service issues draft plan for Water Gap, invites public comment, schedules meetings

A group hiking with clouds in the background

Plan includes new camp sites, facilities, entrance fees.

The National Park Service has issued a draft Visitor Use Management Plan for the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area and Middle Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River. The draft plan is available for public review and comment for  until December 6, 2019 at their web site.

In addition proposing an to an entrance fee, which has yet to be established, the plan also proposes a park-specific seven-day pass: $25 for a vehicle, $15 for a person, and $20 for a motorcycle,  and a $45 annual pass. The new entrance fee would mean changes to existing amenity fees and the park’s entrance stations. The plan calls for expansion and improvement of visitor facilities and amenities, including additional river camp sites.

In addition to public comment submitted on line and by mail, there will be two public meetings:

Thursday, October 24, 6 – 8 PM, Bushkill Volunteer Fire Company Hall, 124 Evergreen Drive, Bushkill, PA 18324

Saturday, October 26, 1-3 PM, Sussex County Technical School Auditorium, 105 North Church Road, Sparta, NJ 07871

Jane Richter, top mileage hiker two years in a row, active trail worker, Volunteer of the Month

jane-ricter-volunteer-of-the-month-October-2019

Jane Richter: to some, she seems like the Energizer Bunny in that she shows up every week for hikes, no matter how far away they are or whether they’re an easy canal walk or a mountain climb. She has been the number one AMC-DV member in terms of total mileage for the last two years.

But a lot of people don’t know that she has also been an active volunteer in doing trail work with the Pennsylvania Highlands Trail Stewards and the New Jersey Highlands Trail Crew, working in Ringing Rocks County Park, Veterans’ Park in Quakertown, and all the way up in the Jenny Jump State Forest in New Jersey.

As an active hiker, she appreciates the quality of a well maintained trail and knows that trails don’t maintain themselves, but are maintained by dedicated volunteers like herself. Thanks for pitching in Jane, and congratulations!

Take the Kittatinny Ridge Recognition and Identification Survey

a turtle crawling along the trail

The Kittatinny Ridge (the Ridge) is Pennsylvania’s longest contiguous forested ridge. This long mountain range is familiar to many. It is the large forested expanse that one can view to the left when you travel north on Interstate 81 from the Maryland border and continue east on Interstate 78. It’s where many go to play, relax, enjoy nature, and get away from it all. Click here for more information and to take the survey.

Take Action: Demand Full and Dedicated Funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund

A green frog along the Thunder Swamp Trail

Now is our chance to finally secure permanent, dedicated funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The United States Senate is reviewing S.1081, a bi-partisan bill to permanently provide $900 million annually to the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

Write to your Senators today asking for their support of S.1081 by joining as a co-sponsor.

The Land and Water Conservation Fund is a visionary and bipartisan federal funding program for protecting our nation’s most special places. From Sterling Forest in the New York Highlands, to White Cap Mountain in Maine, to the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the Land and Water Conservation Fund has funded the protection of some of our most iconic landscapes and trails in the Northeast. Earlier this year, we celebrated the permanent re-authorization of the Land Water Conservation Fund, but without dedicated funding Congress’ work is not complete.

Write to your Senators in support of funding for LWCF.

The Sun Is a Compass

the-sun-is-a-compass

A 4,000-Mile Journey into the Alaskan Wilds

By Caroline Van Hemert. Little, Brown Spark, 2019

Book review by Kathy Kelly-Borowski

If you like stories of adventures, have an interest in birds, paddling or the Arctic this book is worth reading. Caroline holds a PhD in biology, and her special expertise is birds. Her husband and travel companion, Pat Farrell, builds homes.

In their early thirties, the couple set out on an expedition of 4,000 miles from the Pacific rainforest to the Arctic coast.

“No roads, no trails, and no motors. We would travel by foot, on skis, in rowboats, rafts, and canoes. We would use only our own muscles to carry us through some of the wildest places left on earth.”

For 176 days, they traveled from Bellingham, Washington to Kotzebue, Alaska. Caroline and Pat spent hundreds of hours in a small tent, with no doors, no privacy and no facilities. They encountered mosquitoes, mountain goats, moose, bear, sea lions, whales, caribou and countless species of birds. They were tired, hungry, and hurting most of the trip, but they had to travel twenty plus miles a day to complete the trek in six months. In the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, they learned to trust the caribou instincts.

“And so, crossing this river has become necessary, in the way that it’s necessary to kiss a lover before leaving, to pause and look up when the moon is rising. Our bodies know what is essential and what is not.”

Before starting this adventure on March 17, 2012, the couple had climbed, skied, paddled, and explored together for more than 10 years. They spent a year planning this backcountry expedition. During this time, Pat was busy building the canoes they used at the start of their trip. Caroline was planning and packing their food. By the time they started in Washington, time had run out and the boats had not touched water and they had not had a chance to operate them.

Weather was an issue for much of the trip: snow, strong winds and rain. Due to a route change they were low on food and the weather caused a delay of their only air resupply. When it finally arrived and they moved on, they experienced a view of the western Arctic caribou herd migration. This almost made being stuck waiting for their needed food worthwhile. On September 9, the duo completed what had been a dream for years.

As people find trail magic along the Appalachian and other long distances trails, Caroline and Pat found locals who were willing to help them out with knowledge of the area, equipment, lodging and food. Learning that people are kind was the most valuable lesson I learned when I hiked the Appalachian Trail. Kindness was found in the people I travelled with and that of complete strangers.

For route information and pictures from the trip: https://carolineandpat.wordpress.com/home/trip-overview/

Book website: https://www.carolinevanhemert.com/book

Kathy Kelly-Borowski is a long-distance hiker completing the Appalachian, Long Trail, John Muir and Wonderland Trails. She has hiked in the Canadian Rockies, did a section of the Colorado Trail, walked Rim to Rim of the Grand Canyon, climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Pichu in Peru along with the Milford and Routeburn Tracks in New Zealand. Kathy has visited Alaska, Scotland, Slovenia, Antarctica and Hokkaido, Japan.

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Footnotes Spring 2018

footnotes-spring-2018
footnotes-spring-2018
  • DV Chapter leaders earn top honors at AMC annual meeting
  • Matthew Henson, story of a polar explorer
  • Trekking Iceland with AMC Mountain Leadership School skills
  • Mohican Getaways for kids
  • Outdoor Leadership Workshop April 6-8
  • Top activities leaders and participants of 2017
  • Hiking, paddling skills programs, and more!

Harriman State Park

harriman-state-park

In 2016, DV Chapter members became involved with leading chapter trips at the new AMC facility at Harriman State Park. The success of the Stephen & Betsy Corman AMC Harriman Outdoor Center has led to the addition of a second facility at Harriman, which is expected to open in 2023.

Rolling on Water

Appalachian-Mountain-Club-Delaware-Valley

Learning to roll is like learning to play a musical instrument. It does not come at once, and requires lots of practice. Learning to roll in whitewater or on the ocean even more so. Your first thousand rolls will be the hardest.

Eskimo Rolling

by Derek Hutchinson

Illustrated with photos and drawings that actually make sense. For sea kayaking and whitewater, including canoe and C-1 rolls.

The Bombproof Roll and Beyond

by Paul Dutkey

Appalachian-Mountain-Club-Delaware-Valley

Paddling Rescue and safety books

Appalachian-Mountain-Club-Delaware-Valley

Whitewater Rescue Manual: New Techniques for Canoeists, Kayakers, and Rafters

by Charles Walbridge and Wayne A. Sundmacher

This is the best available, but then I am biased. I took my training from the authors. The one below is also good, but spends far too much time on technical rescues I have never seen, let alone used. In whitewater rescues, speed is the essence!

River Rescue: A Manual for Whitewater Safety, AMC Paddlesports

by Slim Ray and Les Bechdel

Appalachian-Mountain-Club-Delaware-Valley

Sea Kayaking Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay: Day Trips on the Tidal Tributaries and Coastlines of the Western and Eastern Shore

Appalachian-Mountain-Club-Delaware-Valley

by Michael Savario and Andrea Nolan,

Backcountry Press, Woodstock, VT, backcountrypress.com, paperback, 2003.

Review by Eric Pavlak.

With 4,600 miles of tidal shoreline and more than 400 rivers and creeks, the Chesapeake Bay can be a paddler’s paradise. Unfortunately, it takes careful planning and a bit of experience in avoiding the paddling hell of power boats and overdevelopment that mars much of the bay. A good guide book in invaluable.

Sea Kayaking Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay is the excellent guide to paddling some of the nearby tidal waters of the Chesapeake Bay. It’s fortunate that is good, because it is the only one available. (Ed Gertler’s Delaware and Maryland Canoe Trails, Senaca Press, does overlap on the tidal rivers, but does not cover open water.)

A good guide book writer must actually paddle (or hike or bicycle) all the trips described. Similarly, a good reviewer must actually do some of the trips described in the book to give a fair evaluation. Thus it has taken me some time to properly rate this book.

First, I have found this book accurate. This is most important. The trip descriptions are excellent, and include access information, safety considerations, and general wind and tide information. There are excellent driving directions to put-ins, many of which are otherwise obscure and hard to find.

The book includes usable charts of all trips. It is illustrated with many photographs, and includes information on the ecology wildlife and history of the trip areas.

There is also information on equipment and paddling skills, plus lots of extra information on safety, weather, travel and land accommodations.

The Chesapeake’s tides are minor; its winds are not. It is wide and open with little shelter from the flat land. Due consideration is given to wind in this book. Often the route taken, direction of travel and even the advisability of the trip are wind dependent.

While excellent, this book is not without deficiencies. While Chesapeake tides are small, sometimes they matter, particularly when combined with wind. Example: on the Tilghman Island trip, the paddler is warned of tidal current in the Knapp Narrows, yet no direction of flow based on the tide stage is given. It is not obvious. Also, it would be useful to list tide stations and relevant marine charts.

Aesthetic and safety considerations seem to make me a bit less tolerant of recreational power boats than the authors. I have done a lot of paddling in cold weather and in places like Maine and Nova Scotia, and am used to being free of them. So when the authors warn of high boat traffic, you probably don’t want to go there.

Conclusion: I give this book an A rating. Get it before you go and enjoy many, many days of happy paddling.

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Sea Kayaking Paddling Guide Books

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The Coastal Kayaker’s Manual, The Complete Guide to Skills, Gear, and Sea Sense

by Randel Washburne.

Good basic must have book.

Sea Kayaking in Nova Scotia

by Scott Cunningham.

An excellent book I have used much. A Gertler-level guidebook! Which is fortunate, since it is the only one available for this sea kayaking paradise.

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Essential Paddling Guide Books

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Keystone Canoeing: A Guide to Canoeable Water of Eastern Pennsylvania

by Edward Gertler., Seneca Press.

Maryland and Delaware Canoe Trails: A Paddler’s Guide to Rivers of the Old Line and First States

by Edward Gertler, Seneca Press.

Garden State Canoeing: A Paddler’s Guide to New Jersey

by Edward Gertler, Seneca Press. Seneca Press.

As essential to paddling the rivers of these states as your canoe or kayak! All are illustrated with maps that show access points, local roads, dams and other obstructions and more. They describe trip characteristics, scenery, water quality, level of difficulty, hazards, recommended gage readings and more. Covers all levels of difficulty, from flatwater to expert-level rivers. Gertler personally paddles every trip listed in his books. Among the best guide books ever written in any outdoor sport! Ed Gertler’s web site.

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Mountains of the Heart: A Natural History of the Appalachians

20th Anniversary Edition By Scott Weidensaul

Review by Eric Pavlak

A gunshot and splash of blood on a snowy November day in north-central Pennsylvania in 1867 marked the end of the last of the wapiti, the native elk of the Appalachians. A hundred years later, the majestic bald eagle was all but gone.

Today, the eagles are back, thanks to conservation efforts and a ban on the poison that was killing them. A few western elk have now repopulated a tiny part of their former vast range. Each spring, the trout lilies and May apples still sprout. The land is once again verdant green, though men still rip coal from the earth, dump waste into streams and pump toxic fluids into deep bore holes to extract natural gas. Resplendent with nature’s beauty, rich with trees and water, these mountains have generated great wealth and great poverty. And every year, the snows refresh, the waters flow and the land regenerates.

Once towering to the heights of the Alps and the Rockies, the now-eroded and rounded Appalachian Mountains are among the oldest major mountain chains on earth. Extending from north-central Alabama to Belle Isle, off the northern tip of Newfoundland, they are the defining topological feature of eastern North America. They hold vast natural diversity and wonders, and have shaped much of the history of our nation and our continent.

Reading Scott Weidensaul’s Mountains of the Heart is like many fascinating days walking with an eloquent naturalist, and many evenings with a knowledgeable and genial historian.

Weidensaul takes us not just into the woods of these old hills, but along the creeks and rivers, and the flyways of birds and butterflies. He tells of those settled here and those who’s lives and land the settlers took.

This book was originally published 20 years ago. This is a newly updated edition, with a must-read introduction that includes the latest environmental insults our species is hurling at our mountains, and the conservation efforts to minimize the damage.

An author writing on a topic so vast as a mountain range obviously has to be selective. Your favorite topic might not be included. I was hoping for some mention of the extraordinary story of the American eel. I didn’t find it, but instead learned of the extensive travels of botanists John (father) and William Bartram in the mid-1700s.

Many nature writers are boring to me, lacking the poetry of a Wordsworth or the insight of a Thoreau. Unlike them, Weidensaul has produced a book that is fun to read. It is filled with well-researched information. Learn more about our loss of the great chestnuts, the once great shad runs, vanished bison. Celebrate the resurgence of egrets and ospreys. Learn about a multitude of things you have walked past and never noticed. Celebrate our beloved mountains.

About the Author: Scott Weidensaul is a Pennsylvania native and current resident, who began his writing career with the Pottsville Republican, first as a columnist, than as a full-time reporter. He left that 10-year stint to become a freelance nature writer, with long-running columns in the Philadelphia Inquirer and the Harrisburg Patriot-News. He has written more than two dozen books, including Living on the Wind: Across the Hemisphere with Migratory Birds, a finalist for the 2000 Pulitzer Prize. He is contributing editor for Audubon magazine and writes for, Bird Watcher’s Digest and National Wildlife.

He is an active field researcher studying bird migration, and is one for the few licensed hummingbird banders in the country. Owls are the focus of much of his efforts, and he directs the ornithology program at the Audubon Society’s Hog Island camp off the coast of Maine.

The Adventure Gap: Changing the Face of the Outdoors

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James Edward Mills, Mountaineers Books, 256 pages 2014. Paperback.

Review by Susan Weida

As our country grows to be increasingly multi-cultural, it is vital that people of diverse racial and cultural groups develop a passion and love for the outdoors in order to protect and advocate for preservation of our wild places.

The Adventure Gap provides an excellent introduction into what is needed to make this a reality. It does this by centering on a compelling story about the first all African-American summit expedition on Denali, Alaska in 2013. Once you engage in the story of these climbers and their personal stories you will find it hard to stop reading.

The author, James Mills, makes a case for the vital role of men- tors to introduce young people of color to the outdoors and help them see themselves as part of this world. The world of outdoor adventure, especially in high skill, high risk areas such as mountain climbing has been represented in the media as a white male’s domain.

Often the history of people of color who did lead in the outdoors has been ignored and forgotten. While taking you step by step with the team through their preparation and climb of Denali, Mills interweaves the background stories of the team members. Although team members have accomplished significant success in both professional areas and in their avocation of climbing, most have faced a variety of life challenges.

Mills draws the line between how an outdoor mentor made a difference in their lives and how they are committing themselves to mentoring the next generation to connect with the outdoors.

Mills also weaves into his narrative some of the historical role models for the team- the role of the Buffalo Sol- diers in the early days of our National Park system, Charles Crenchaw who was the first African American to summit Denali, and Matthew Henson who reached the North Pole with Admiral Robert Peary. He also tells a touching story about middle school climbing champion Kai Lightner who in turn was being inspired by Expedition Denali.

There were two other additional points of interest for me in this book. One was the story of the author who had a passion to be part of Expedition Denali but was unable to make the ‘cut’ due to physical limitations. Mills went on to be a huge part of the accomplishments of the group by writing their story. The second is the acknowledgment that Mills gives to Aparna Rajagopal-Durbin, at that time the Diversity and Inclusion Manager for NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School), for conceiving Expedition Denali. Aparna is part of the consulting team who is guiding the AMC Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion plan, and I had the opportunity to participate in training with her in 2017.

I would recommend this book as a way to educate yourself about the value of diversity in the outdoors while enjoying an exciting tale of adventure and achievement.

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