Taking time to stop and enjoy your hike
October 3, 2013

 

Most of the time when we go out on family hikes, we have a goal and destination in mind.  This past weekend when my family set out to hike to Pulpit Rock, I was reminded that when you have children, your goals sometimes need to be flexible and you may not always reach your destination.

Hiking to Pulpit Rock has been an excursion we have gone on at least once a year since our oldest son Lucas (now eight) was just three years old. It’s one of the hikes that I believe gave him his love of the outdoors, and he has always been proud of the fact that he conquered the hike to Pulpit Rock at such a young age. It’s a trail that is easy to navigate but becomes progressively steeper and rockier the closer you get to the top. When you are almost at Pulpit Rock itself, you have to climb up some fairly large boulders to get to the overlook; Lucas finds this part to be quite an adventure.  The picture posted below is from our hike to Pulpit Rock last year. 

Miles, our almost-two-year-old has made the trip twice now, but has always been held or traveled in a carrier.  Last weekend, it quickly became clear, despite my early declaration to everyone that we most definitely would be making it to the top of Pulpit Rock, that our plans would need to change.  I realized that my very independent toddler would have a much better experience (and so would we) if he was able to stop and pick up every stick that he wanted to and inspect all of the wooly caterpillars we came across. And much to my surprise, Lucas enjoyed the change of pace as well.  He stopped to look closely at roots and rotting trees that had fallen in the woods, watched for wildlife, and collected all sorts of interesting rocks.  We laughed as we remembered the many times we have come across snakes on this hike.  For some reason, there has hardly been a trip to Pulpit Rock when we haven’t crossed paths with an extremely large slithery snake.  Though the stop-and-go pace meant we didn’t summit Pulpit Rock, the day was a great reminder that the fun of hiking is enjoying yourself along the way.

                                                                                                                           

If you do hike the entire way to Pulpit Rock, it is 2.5 miles from the parking lot which is located at the Hamburg Reservoir.  From the parking lot, you walk along a gravel road for approximately 0.5 miles before joining the Appalachian Trail. The path is wooded all along the way and there are areas to stop to sit on logs or large rocks if you need to. The view from Pulpit Rock is gorgeous, especially in the fall when the leaves are changing colors.  You may even spot some migrating hawks.  Be sure to keep a very close eye on children, as there is a huge drop-off from the top.  If you would like to take a short-cut back to the parking lot, you can continue past the Lehigh Valley Amateur Astronimical Society’s dark sky observing site on a path that takes a more direct route. This path is a gravel road and is much shorter than taking the hiking trail back down the mountain.

 

As a side note, the Lehigh Valley Amateur Astonomical Society has educational activities throughout the years, sometimes geared specifically towards children.  For more information on their events, see http://lvaas.org     

                                           
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