The Spring Return: Hiking the North Country Trail
Photos submitted by Dale Yohe
It was the first weekend of Spring, and there’s no place I’d rather be than spending time outdoors in the Pennsylvania Wilds.
Last Summer, I started building a tiny A-frame cabin near Cook Forest State Park, in the Cook Forest & the Ancients, and I figured it was time to get back to work. I was happy to see that the cabin survived the Winter months and everything was still intact. I was also pleasantly surprised that no critters took residence inside the cabin! I built a campfire and then spent a few hours cleaning up limbs and debris and removing the framing and covering from the cabin while S’mores chewed on some sticks and cheered me on.
With a few good hours of daylight left, we took a short drive to the Allegheny National Forest (ANF) trailhead for the North Country Trail (NCT). This area and section of the NCT is actually in the void between the northern end of Cook Forest State Park and the Southern end of the ANF. Although that trailhead is considered the ANF trailhead for the NCT, it is still about a 3 mile hike until you actually get to the ANF. You’ll find a sign on the trail at the border of the ANF.
It was a chilly day, and the trail was very quiet and serene. There was still a bit of snow on the ground in some places, and I didn’t get the feeling that the woods were ready to wake up just yet. We did a short out and back while admiring some recent beaver activity and crossing the pontoon bridge, which is much more exciting when there is water underneath (seen in the photo with lush green foliage).
About the Photographer: Dale Yohe can often be found hiking, camping and adventuring all throughout the Pennsylvania Wilds and beyond with his adventure buddy, S’mores. Cook Forest holds a special place in their hearts, as S’mores registered name, Manitou Seneca Pointer, comes from Seneca Point in Cook Forest State Park. They have a passion for trails and the outdoors and enjoy taking as many photos as they can along the way. Find more of their adventures on Instagram @dogpacking.
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