It was a crisp Pennsylvania morning as we stepped out of the car, eager to take on the hike that lay before us. The leaves were turning bright colors of yellow and orange and as I exhaled my breath hung in the air in a cloud that swirled and quickly disappeared. There was a faint rustling in the leaves nearby as some forest creature moved to get out of our sight and I knew that this was going to be the perfect day. This was the kind of day that only a hike on the Appalachian Trail can bring.
As we started out on the hike, our legs fresh and our breathing shallow we took the time to look around, noticing the signs of autumn and looking for traces of elusive wildlife. After just a few minutes into the hike we started on an incline and took our breathing to a higher pace. The hike began to get a little more strenuous and we soon found ourselves wanting to steady our legs with the help of some walking sticks. After finding an appropriate stick we were back off again and heading up toward our first stop, an outcrop of rocks known as bear rock that overlooked the reservoir of a small town named Waynesboro.
Halfway up the mountains the silence was shattered as a deer exploded from the underbrush, throwing up it’s tail to show us it’s white flag and hurrying off in leaps and bounds to get away from us. It was a welcome stop for us and a hint of nature that not many people really get to enjoy. As we started off again we felt a bit refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the uphill climb. Soon we saw the evidence that the rocks were just ahead and the trail leveled off, so we left the trail and headed for Bear Rock.
As we climbed onto the first boulder the valley opened up in front of us in all it’s glory. Red and Yellow and Orange colors painted the landscape for as far as we could see and lying in the middle of it, like a blue-grey gem was the reservoir. It was a great sight to behold and we stayed for over an hour looking across the creation and watching the birds as the soared on the mountain air currents. Then we headed back to the car, thankful that it was a downhill walk and feeling quite refreshed and ready for another day.