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Backpacker Magazine – May 2013

Trail Mix — East

Your region's go-now guide: Take in Pennsylvania's nighttime skies in the Cherry Springs State Park, ascend the 2,625-foot Mt. Moosalamoo in Vermont, enjoy the new 38-mile section of the Cumberland Trail in Tennessee, and more.

by: Sarah L. Stewart (Perfect Days), Graham Averill (This Just In), and Nathan Pipenberg (Bring Your)

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Cherry Springs SP (Northeast Bay Photography)
Cherry Springs SP (Northeast Bay Photography)
InstaWinner (Garrett Kreiner)
InstaWinner (Garrett Kreiner)

Bring Your Telescope
Catch sight of 6,000 stars in the East Coast’s darkest domain.

In Pennsylvania’s Cherry Springs State Park, the skies are so dark that the Milky Way casts shadows. The park is purpose-built to let visitors enjoy the show, with rentable small observatories and a mountaintop astronomy field that doubles as a campground ($11; red lights only). Start with a 6.3-mile loop hike along Pine Creek’s west branch, a mile away on PA 44 (Trip ID 2110610). Target the first weekend of May for starry highlights: a park-led sky tour on Saturday and the Eta Aquarids meteor shower on Sunday. Contact (814) 435-5010; bit.ly/cherryspringsSP

This Just In
Tennessee’s Cumberland Trail grows.

Volunteer State hikers have fresh dirt to explore: A new 38-mile section of the Cumberland Trail (CT) is now open in the isolated North Cumberland Wildlife Management Area west of Knoxville (Trip ID 2142741). The CT will eventually follow the entire 300-mile-long Cumberland Plateau across the state, but of the 190 miles of established trail, the freshly minted New River Segment is the most remote. “This is the place to go to find solitude,” says CT Conference manager Tony Hook. “There’s so little traffic, the trail is still soft.” Expect steep climbs along seasonal creeks and big views from former mountaintop-removal sites that have bounced back with native grasses, creating man-made “balds.” Short on time? Hit the 10-mile stretch across Lawson Mountain, which boasts elk and meadows thick with spring wildflowers. Contact cumberlandtrail.org


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