photo journal
Allegheny National Forest, PA
winter, 2005

The Allegheny National Forest (ANF) is located in the northwestern portion of Pennsylvania. The Minister Creek area, within the ANF, has become a favorite for winter snowshoeing. Unfortunately, this 2005 winter saw a big thaw, melting most of the snow required for snowshoeing. So, this winter we were left "hiking," and even sometimes sliding. Never the less, we had a great time!

The "we" Iím referring to is Steve, Brad and myself. Generally, spouses do not take a liking to extreme backpacking -- especially when we tell them of our first winter backpacking experience when the nighttime temperatures dropped to 12 below zero. Yikes!

After last years partial base camp experience, we decided to go full tilt with the base camping idea for this year. We left Newark in the afternoon on Friday, and arrived at the Minister Creek parking lot around 5 P.M. This didn't leave much daylight, but all we were planning to tackle that evening was a short hike into the area, pick a base camp location, and set up. And the next two days were open to all-day hiking (and, of course, snowman building). If you're interested in the trail that we took -- we didn't. It was "bush-whacking" all the way! But, as you'll see from the pictures, there wasn't much bush to whack out of the way. It's a great area -- and there's lot's to see off trail. (There are easily twice as many rock formations than what some maps may show.)

Enjoy the pictures, and let us know if you have any questions!

These types of trips are not for the faint of heart, and you really need
to play it smart -- seriously. Make sure you do your homework before heading out
on your own winter excursion.

And if you need more winter gear -- check out EverestGear.com!

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Below is a map of our winter hike. The colored lines correspond to the specific days as noted below. You can click on the numbers above the map to see corresponding pictures of that specific area.

As I stated above, the trail that we took (and what shows on the map below) is NOT the Minister Creek Trail. The western part of the actual Minister Creek loop hits points 1 and 5 below, roughly speaking. The eastern part of the loop falls well below points 6, 7, 8 and 9. Never the less, whether you take the marked trail, or go off-trail, there's a lot to see!

Friday evening
Saturday full day
Sunday full day
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