Travel Diaries: Glen Onoko Falls Trail, Pennsylvania
Adventures sometimes happen spontaneously.
Such was the case this past weekend, when Matt and I decided last minute to hike the Glen Onoko Falls Trail in Jim Thorpe, Pennsylvania. I did a cursory search online for information, saw gorgeous waterfall pictures and a blog post or two from people who had climbed the falls before, and thought we were good to go.
We were not, in fact, good to go.
What I'd read and planned for as a quick-though-strenuous climb up a not-so-beautifully-marked trail adjacent to three waterfalls turned into a scary situation once we reached the top.
I'd figured our hike would take 1-2 hours. It was 6 hours before we'd found our way back to the car. Not such a huge deal, ordinarily, but we'd brought water for a quick hike and a few bars for a snack along the way.
We hiked and climbed the snowy trail up the mountain. It was beautiful, and it was challenging, and we were exhausted at the top (guess who's not in quite so good shape as she thought!).
When we arrived at the top, it wasn't very clear which way we should take to go down. Matt's old knee injury was acting up, and he wasn't sure he could make it back down the way we'd climbed. I'd read there was an easier trail we could take to get down, but with the snow everywhere we weren't sure where it was.
Matt had the idea to follow the tracks of a couple who had passed us on the climb up. They had that experienced-hiker vibe, so we figured they knew where they were going.
And indeed they did. They were not, however, going back to the parking lot.
In fact, they were going down the mountain to have a lovely picnic, intending to then retrace their steps (in other words, CLIMB THE MOUNTAIN A WHOLE NOTHER TIME) and climb back down the Falls Trail.
When they very kindly explained to us that the only way back to the car was the way we'd just come, I almost cried.
Matt was even more hurt from sliding down the snowy trail, I was exhausted, and we'd thought we were nearly finished. We were out of water.
We made it back, but let me just say that walking back up that mountain was the hardest thing I've ever done.
Needless to say, we'll plan better from here on out.
I'm working on a 2018 NJ/PA Wishlist at the moment of all the places I want to hike and visit and photograph this year. Each trip will be thoroughly researched, no matter how short I think the hike will be.