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On our last two weekend escapes from the hot and humid city, we’ve hiked some very small sections of the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail in western Pennsylvania.


It is a woodsy walk, overall a 70-mile traipse through more than 20,000 acres of dense trees, cold streams, ferns, wildflowers, and prodigious clumps of rhododendron. The LHHT starts in Ohiopyle State Park and ends near Johnstown; along the way, there are shelters every 8-10 miles and enough varied terrain to keep hikers happy for days. There are great views from the higher ridges, and the entire trail sits at about 2500’ of elevation, so even on a sweltering day like one we had this weekend, the air is cool and the path largely shaded.

But that’s an overview of this trail I want to thru-hike some day. Yesterday what I focused on were the details, those little features that make every walk in the woods a mini treasure hunt.