I received the message on Saturday night. My friend Mike was once again in Pennsylvania, stuck for the weekend with his truck at a plaza. He said I should come up and take him for a hike. A scan of the state parks near his location turned up Nescopeck, the most recent addition to the system and a park I’ve not spent much time in. I told Mike I’d pick him up, and began to look up trails.
During the drive up Sunday I anticipated the cooler temperatures and refreshing breezes I’d find as I climbed into the Endless Mountains. Instead I found the same feeling of walking into hot, wet felt I experienced outside Philadelphia. As we started on the Nescopeck Trail the temperature was near 90 degrees and the air was still. We both brought water and paced ourselves, but I found hiking a trail a trial. The Texan with me took the weather in stride. “Y’all call this hot, and its nothing.”
“Yeah, we call it hot, and you call it Sunday.”
The Nescopeck Trail wanders through the woods and along Nescopeck Creek. Exploring along the banks of the creek brought the only respite from the heat we experienced. The Native American word “Nescopeck” means “deep, dark waters”, and the while the creek wasn’t deep, its coffee-colored flow justified the name.
Mike and I spent several minutes wandering the banks, climbing up and down on rocks. I took two hard landings when I slipped, both slips within two minutes of each other. While I didn’t fall or hurt myself, I was shaken, and I was sorer than usual when I got home that night.
At one point along the creek a beaver dam had helped create a deeper, still pool. Seeing the reflection of the sky on the stillness reminded me of the first chapter of Genesis. “And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters” wrote one of the King James translators, and seeing the heavens reflected on the creek gave me a better understanding of the verse.
Our hike continued as a loop involving the Nescopeck Trail and a couple of others, bringing us to three miles of walking in woods, along the creek, and around two lakes. We were sweat-saturated, hot, tired, thirsty, and hungry, but we’d had a good time.