Monday, January 10, 2011

Hiking to the Pinnacle (Appalachian Trail)

After constant eating and visiting with family during the holidays I found myself ready to get out of the house and be active. Surprisingly a suggestion of winter hiking to the Pinnacle, in Berks County, sounded like a great idea, despite my disgust of the cold weather! Located less than an hour away from a Lancaster PA bed and breakfast, there are many different trails to take to the Pinnacle. The most common hike is a 13 mile loop from Hawk Mountain but we chose to start in Hamburg, at the reservoir, for about an 8 mile hike. 
After missing the trail head for the Appalachian Trail, we started hiking on a fire road that leads to an observatory and cell phone tower. I wish we would have found the trail because the road was straight uphill for a mile. Now that’s probably a gross exaggeration, but I found it to be extremely difficult and will spare you the details of my whining! Once we reached the top of the road we managed to find the Appalachian Trail and it quickly took us to the first lookout known as Pulpit Rock. A clear day allowed us to see the countryside for miles!

The rest of the hike to the top, on the Appalachian Trial, was a pleasant hike despite the large amounts of rocks on the trails (a common characteristic of PA). Certain parts of the trail are large rock piles which are fun to walk over even though they require careful footing. Once we reached the Pinnacle overlook, we saw an enormous rock pile created by the many hikers who have hiked the trail previously. We continued the tradition by adding our own rocks, that we picked up along the way, to the top of the pile.

The view was breathtaking and definitely worth the hike up the mountain in the cold weather. By that point though I was quite warm and wished I didn’t have five layers on! We spent awhile enjoying the lookout and using our binoculars to discover what lay in the distance. Luckily we had packed leftover pizza from the night before so we could enjoy the landscape while we refueled for the trip back to the car.  

The hike to the Pinnacle is definitely recommended and there are many different hikes to fit your needs. I would suggest that you find the Appalachian Trail at the bottom (it’s straight ahead after crossing the bridge) unless you’d rather hike straight up the fire road! I do know that once we finished I was ready for a hot shower and a nap. I kept thinking of the jacuzzi tubs and the soft feather-top beds at the Amethyst Inn, a luxury bed and breakfast. I could have used some pampering after cold weather hiking! Luckily for you there’s time to plan ahead and make a reservation for a romantic weekend getaway so you’ll be sure to have a relaxing evening. Oh and if you prefer to hike with your dog, Adamstown has pet friendly cottages that will work perfectly for your family. Happy Trails!
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