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Our 2010 Hikes - April 30

Appalachian Trail

Bake Oven Knob

 

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Date:  April 30, 2010

Length of hike 1.2 miles round trip

Location:  Bake Oven Knob in Pennsylvania

Trailhead:  Large parking area on Bake Oven Knob Road

Trailhead Coordinates:  N40 44.675 W75 44.295

Name of Trails:  Appalachian Trail

Hike Difficulty:  Moderate to Bake Oven Knob, Difficult to campsite and Shelter

Hike Elevation Gain:  40 feet

Trail Conditions:  Very rocky and at times treacherous

Features:  Panoramic views from Bake Oven Knob, rock slide, Appalachian Trail


Scrappy has logged numerous miles with me along the Appalachian Trail (as well as many other places) without any problems, including some sections I thought she might have problems with.  So when I decided that we would hike to Bake Oven Knob and then onto the Bake Oven Knob Shelter for a short one mile hike on Friday, I didn't see a problem.  Plus I planned for us to hike over to Bear Rocks and then head to either Lehigh Gap or Kimmel Lookout.

View looking north from Bake Oven Knob

I have read that the 0.6 mile section between Bake Oven Knob and the Bake Oven Knob Shelter is sometimes regarded as the most difficult along the Appalachian Trail in all of Pennsylvania because of the rock slide you have to traverse.  I still felt Scrappy could handle it.  I could guide her on what rocks to jump on.  She's climbed Mount Minsi and that was somewhat hard.  We've done other rocky sections of the AT here in Pennsylvania.  She can do this.  I was wrong.  What I've read is right, it's a pretty tough section.

Looking at the rockslide the trail follows east of the campsite

I could see Scrappy was already struggling by the time we made it to the amazing views from Bake Oven Knob after just 0.4 miles.  It was my fourth time at Bake Oven Knob and as all the other times there were other people enjoying the views.  This was the first time for Scrappy.  I decided we would push on and carefully made our way along the rock slide to a campsite at 0.5 miles.  We took a break as I could see we had much more of the rock slide ahead of us.  The white blazes were difficult to see in the jumble of rocks.  Pennsylvania is definitely Rocksylvania.

Scrappy making her way along the Appalachian Trail

As we continued to make our way toward Bake Oven Knob Shelter, the slide became tougher to follow.  I watched as Scrappy slipped and had both of her back legs lodged between rocks.  It was almost like being captured in a bear trap.  She wiggled but it took help from me to free her from the rocks.  When she was freed I could see she was limping a bit.  I knew that was as far as we were going to hike today.  So we slowly made our way back to the huge parking area on Bake Oven Knob Road.  Our total hike was only 1.2 miles, however it took us 90 minutes to cover the distance.

Scrappy relaxes at the campsite east of Bake Oven Knob

Scrappy is fine.  She was ok by the time we got back to Syracuse.  I also used our trip to get us some ground coffee from Donut Connection in Clark Summit (our favorite coffee) and to get a pizza at Grotto's in Wilkes-Barre.  Well worth the long trip.  If your looking to do some day hiking on the AT, then check out Bake Oven Knob as well as Bear Rocks.  Both can be hiked from the same parking area, just different directions.  It's a three hour trip from Syracuse to reach the trail head.

Making our way back toward Bake Oven Knob

Directions:  from Syracuse take I-81 to Clark Summit, PA.  Take I-476 south (PA TPRK) to exit 74 US 209.  Take US 209 south to PA 248.  PA 248 to the PA 895 exit.  West on PA 895 and then make a left on Germans Road (soon after 4way stop sign).  Then turn left on seasonal dirt Bake Oven Knob Road.  Drive carefully on this sometimes rough dirt road and watch for cars heading down the hill.  It can be driven by regular cars.  You don't need a 4x4 truck.

It's 1.6 miles from where you start on the dirt road to the huge parking areas on both sides of the road.  The parking area on the left is for Bake Oven Knob, on the right is Bear Rocks.

 

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