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Bibles, Boots & Backpacks

Updated: 22 minutes ago



Join us for "Bible, Boots, and Backpacks" — a series of unique hikes led by Father Charles Zlock. On these journeys, we'll explore nature while reflecting on Pope Francis' message in Laudato Si’, an invitation to care for our planet and each other. It's a chance to walk, reflect, and connect with both creation and our Creator. Everyone is welcome, so grab a friend and come along for inspiration, community, and a breath of fresh air. Let's walk, reflect, and grow together!


The Details


Sunday April 21. HIKE THE APPALACHIAN TRAIL TO BEAR ROCKS 

  • Length: 25 minute hike in. Pause for snack or bring-your-own lunch and admire the views. 25 minute hike back. Travel time to Appalachian Trail / Bake Oven Knob Parking Lot: 1 hour, 15 minutes

  • Terrain: Moderate. Trail has some rocky parts. Accessible for school-age children (I've often seen many there). You'll be climbing some large rocks to get to the top of Bear Rocks. Hiking boots aren't necessary. I've seen people do it sneakers but a sturdier shoe is recommended.   

  • Meeting Place: St. Raymond Church front parking lot. For hikers who want to drive themselves and meet at Bake Oven Knob, we will convene in the parking lot at 1:30 pm. See the directions below.

  • Departure Time: PROMPTlY at 12:00 noon from St. Raymond Church Parking Lot. If you are meeting us at Bake Oven Knob, please arrive by 1:30 pm sharp. We will not be able to wait for latecomers.

  • Appalachian Trail departs parking lot and heads south. We'll stop for a reflection along the trail. 25 minutes later we arrive at Bear Rocks. We'll do a second reflection on top of Bear Rocks. Upon our return to the parking lot, we'll do a short recap and sharing session.


  • Just In Case Directions:

  • PA Turnpike/Northeast Extension heading north.

  • Get off Exit 56 (309/Route 22/Allentown/Harrisburg)

  • Merge onto 22 West towards Lehigh Valley/I-78/Allentown Harrisburg 

  • Get off Exit 49B / Route 100 North towards Fogelsville

  • From the first traffic light, you will drive on Route 100 for about 8 miles. Route 100 ends at PA Route 309 at a "T-intersection" (Yes.. this is the same Route 309 that runs through your neighborhood in Mount Airy!)

  • Turn right onto Route 309 and drive ONLY 0.2 MILES - turn left onto Bake Oven Road. (Green-ish Heidelberg Municipal Township Building is on your right)

  • You will drive the twists and turns of Bake Oven Road for 4.1 miles to another "T-intersection:"

  • At 1.6 miles - reach Memorial Road.

  • At 3.7 miles - reach a stop sign.

  • At 4.1 - reach Church Road at a "T-intersection." (An old house is on your left. Turn left.

  • ONLY 1/10 MILE FURTHER. There is a green double street sign. Bake Oven Knob/Church Road bears right. Go there. (Walter Road bears left. Don't go there).

  • You will drive 1.6 miles to the top of the ridge and Bake Oven Knob parking lot. Road becomes a dirt road. Drive up the mountain along a winding road, through two concrete road barriers and continue to the top of the Kittatinny Ridge (This is the ridge through which the Lehigh Tunnel travels). One parking lot is on the right; one on the left. Park at either one.    


 

Saturday May 25: HIKE IN HISTORIC VALLEY FORGE NATIONAL PARK 

  • Length: 30 - 40 minutes

  • Terrain: Easy. Some minor elevation. Kid friendly

  • Starting Time:  9:00 am at St. Raymond Parking Lot

  • Meeting Place: St. Raymond Church front parking lot.

  • Description: We'll start at Yellow Springs Trail Parking Lot (Next to Philander Chase Knox Estate Wedding Venue) . We'll hike a moderate hill through hay fields and enter forest. Soon after we'll pause to catch our breath and do a short reflection. Trails winds around past small creek through lovely National Park forest land. Eventually we'll reach the very popular "Mount Misery" trail where we'll do a second reflection. We'll step our way downhill back to parking lot for a recap and sharing session.        


  • Just In Case DIrections to Valley Forge (30 minute drive): Destination is Yellow Springs Trail parking lot. It's next to Philander Chase Knox Estate - a very popular wedding destination. 

  • PA Turnpike to Valley Forge Interchange/Exit 326.

  • Drive through tolls towards Schuylkill Expressway (You will NOT BE DRIVING FAR). 

  • Take exit right 328A/US 202 South/Swedesford Road towards West Chester/Pottstown. CAREFUL! This is a double fork exit and it comes up quickly. 202 South is left fork. (Swedesford Road is right fork. Don’t go there). 

  • Drive on 202 South one exit (about 2 miles) to PA Route 252 North Exit. At bottom of ramp, turn right. 

  • About 1.2 miles, Route 252 makes a sharp left turn. 

  • 1/2 mile further, turn left and drive over a covered bridge over Valley Creek. Admire the trout that Fr. Zlock has pursued - sometimes with success.

  • Parking lot entrance is about 1/10 mile on the left.     


 

Saturday June 22 - APPALACHIAN TRAIL TO PINNACLE AND PULPIT ROCK 

  • Length: 6 hours plus hiking time. 

  • Terrain: Initially challenging: The first 45-60 minutes are a1,300 foot elevation gain. After that the trail actually becomes easy: flat or downhill for the rest of the day with some sections that are rocky.  

  • Departure Time: 12:00 noon. 

  • Meeting Place: St. Raymond Church front parking lot. 

  • Description: Can be found here. From parking lot we'll hike up to Hamburg Watershed Reservoir and continue around reservoir on blue-blazed trail (20 minutes). We continue to climb upwards through a pine forest and mountain laurels along Furnace Creek. Trail eventually gets steeper. After about 45 - 60 minutes (depending on. the pace of our hikers) we reach the "helicopter pad" and the Appalachian Trail (white blazes). We'll rest her, hydrate, snack and do a reflection. The trail gets easy from here as we'll be walking on an old fire service road. Trail gets rocky just before we reach The Pinnacle with its 270 degree views. We'll eat lunch here. We continue along AT and eventually reach the Lehigh Valley Amateur Astronomical Society telescope pads and Pulpit Rock with more excellent views. From here, hikers can take the LVAAS service road down or continue further along the AT.  Once at the parking lot we'll do a recap, sharing and decide what to do from there. The famous outdoor sporting store Cabelas is nearby along with numerous eating establishments.   


Just In Case Directions:

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