The sunlight was fading as we began our trek along the Appalachian Trail to the Bake Oven Knob just to the north of Lehigh Valley.
It is incredible how one class (Environmental Geology) can change your perspective on something so drastically. I have never been so fascinated by what I was walking on before at the Bake Oven Knob. The rock is between 400 and 430 million years old and formed somewhere on the shores of the ancient Iapetus Ocean. In the age of smartphones, it is quite a thing to be standing on something so old and comparably everlasting.
The path grows rockier until reaching the outcrop that at about 1,600 feet is the tallest point in Lehigh County. No matter the amount of visits I take here, the view will always be breathtaking. In a glimpse, the entirety of what I call home, Lehigh Valley, is visible. Allentown, Bethlehem, Easton all shrunk by the mountains around them.
Here, on the outcrop, my friends joined me on the north lookout, where we watched the light of day shrink across the sky, behind a distant wind farm, and eventually to an orange glow just above the distant mountaintops with night erasing its luminescence seemingly by miles, between eye blinks.
I could hear an owl in the distance. I think I even heard a coyote.
I headed back over to the southern lookout to see the human world turn its lights on against the dark sky. As twilight ended, the stars appeared en masse. Orion, The Big Dipper, a New Moon, planets, distant galaxies; the infinite universe became visible.
Night had taken over completely, so we slowly walked down the rocky and now extremely treacherous path very gingerly, hoping to avoid a quartzite smash to the skull. The stars were bright though, through the trees. I kept my eye to them, rather than focusing on the stupidity I was engaged in.
Bake Oven Knob is an incredible and unique treasure for all of us living here in the Valley and for the countless number of hikers that pass through our neck of the woods during their journey on the Appalachian Trail.
For more photos from his trip to Bake Oven Knob, please visit Lehigh Valley InSite guest blogger Andrew Kleiner's Remember blog.