Yesterday I was feeling better so JoJo and I headed out to Hamburg, PA to hike to Pulpit Rock which is along the Appalachian Trail – it was an absolutely perfect day for a hike too! I didn’t want to waste it as the entire week was beautiful and I was sick the whole time!
We pulled into the Hamburg Reservoir – I shouldn’t have been surprised that it was so packed with cars because this is a very popular hike, but it was Friday so I wasn’t expecting it to be as busy as it was. We found a spot and headed down the trail – it is a road walk for a little while until you see signs for the Windsor Furnace – there are several trails to take at this point, but I chose to turn right, cross over a small bridge and stay to the right along the Appalachian Trail up to Pulpit Rock. The other trails bypass Pulpit Rock, but I honestly like the view from there better than the Pinnacle which is almost completely covered in graffiti. There are also a few telescope towers right next to Pulpit Rock that is on the property of the Berks County Amateur Astronomical Society – there are signs stating it is private property, but as far as I know they are ok with people walking through – I even have friends that were invited to join them when they were having a meeting and got to see planets and solar flares during a day hike! How awesome!
So Jo and I hiked up the trail – there was a trail that splits off to the left from the AT right before the boulder scramble and we decided to take that to see if it bypassed the rocky section – and it did! It was a nice easy trail that has a gradual incline all the way up and it ends right in the grassy area of the private property right before Pulpit Rock. I was so excited how nice this trail was – this would be an excellent way to go up if you have younger children with you or if you just don’t want to deal with all those rocks! 🙂
After spending some time at the top, enjoying the view and relaxing in the cool breeze, we headed back down the same way we came up. At one point back on the AT there are logs across the trail which were put there to help stop erosion – this is a common feature on a lot of trails I have been on. What I was not expecting was to see a snake head pop up as JoJo jumped down onto the trail below. I always keep her attached to me on a long leash (2 hooked together this time) so I wasn’t sure what to do – I went up to the edge on top of the log and looked down – there was actually TWO snakes down there – both about 3 ft long. Luckily JoJo didn’t seem very interested in the snakes (Her favorite toy at home is a long snake with multiple squeakers in it – she likes to see how many she can squeak at one time). I told her to stay and just stood off to the side of the trail as far as I could. They eventually started to slither away from me – Jo was VERY lucky she didn’t get bitten as she jumped over – I believe the snakes were copperheads. This was the 1st time I have ever seen them, but I have heard there are a lot that live around Pulpit Rock and the Pinnacle. There are also a lot of Timber Rattlesnakes in the area too, but I have never seen those. JoJo recently got the Rattlesnake Vaccine in case we were ever out and she was bitten – it just gave me some piece of mind because I do hike by myself a lot and supposedly this shot will buy you a little time by starting to build up an immunity to the venom ahead of time. I believe it is most effective for Diamondback Rattlesnakes, which we don’t have in PA, but should work for the Timber Rattlesnakes as well. She got one shot and then a month later got a 2nd booster and after that, it will be yearly that she will receive the shot if I continue it. So for me the cost was worth the piece of mind – she is a very nosy dog after all, but the vaccine wouldn’t work for the copperhead venom, so like I said we lucked out that they were in a good mood I think! I am not afraid of snakes at all – I actually think they were pretty, but was thankful they decided to move away from us so I could cross over to be with JoJo and continue down the trail (and thankfully JoJo ignored them too).
I was wary for the rest of the trip that we were going to come across more that were coiled up under the steps – you always hear about them under rocks and I know someone got airlifted off the trail after getting bitten by a copperhead at Pulpit Rock – yup we were lucky!
We made a stop to the Windsor Furnace shelter where we found some dirty underwear, dirty socks, and various other random trash people had left – I don’t understand why people feel it is ok to leave junk behind like this – there are several times I have packed out other peoples trash from this area – including used fuel cans – I mean seriously, there is a dumpster right in the parking lot which is about a mile or so down the trail! How hard is that?!
We eventually made our way back to the car, it was such an awesome day for a hike – I am glad I felt up to going out and enjoying the day from such a beautiful spot! 🙂
Here is some video I shot of our hike – my 1st attempt at uploading a YouTube video – I have no idea why it keeps getting so pixelated!