The second after work hike for the Restek Ramblers had us heading up to Bear Meadows. We met at the Rothrock Forest Access parking area in Galbraith Gap where we piled into a fewer number of cars before heading to the trailhead proper.
We started our hike at the parking are near the intersection of Bear Meadows Road and the gated North Meadows Road. It wasn't as warm on this hike as it had been for our first hike, but the sun was shining and the temperatures were comfortable.
We headed up North Meadows Road for about a half mile before we turned left onto the Bear Meadows Trail. Once we got off the road and onto the trail we started encountering wet areas on the trail. This slowed us down a bit as we tried to maneuver around puddles and muddy sections of the trail. We paused once on this section of the trail and then again once we reached the only designated camping site in the Bear Meadows Natural Area. This was about 1.75 miles into the hike.
Leaving the campsite area, the trail became more rugged and approached the south side of the bog at Bear Meadows. Where before we encountered small areas of the trail that we needed to avoid, now there were sections of the trail that were mud from one side of the trail to the other. Add the fact that brush and rhododendron grew right up to the sides of the trail, it did not leave much room to avoid this wet and muddy areas. There was one section of the trail that would be more appropriately called a stream for about 1000 feet.
At about 3 miles into the hike we left the muddy and wet Bear Meadows Trail behind as we emerged onto Bear Meadows Road. There is a small bridge here along with ample parking area. Also located here is a monument holding a plaque that declares Bear Meadows a National Natural Area. After a short rest here, the group continued north on Bear Meadows Road for a short distance before turning left onto Jean Aron Path.
Jean Aron Path was relatively dry, though we did encounter a spot or two that was wet and muddy. One hour and 45 minutes after starting the hike, we found ourselves back at the trailhead. The Restek Ramblers had logged a little over 3.5 miles on this hike and even though there wasn't much elevation change on the hike, it was still a challenge with all of the wet and muddy areas on the trail. Everyone hopped into the cars to shuttle back to the Galbraith Gap parking area. Everyone was now ready for next weeks hike that incorporates the same hiking distance and adds in a bit of a ridge top hiking.Continue reading