The Poconos Versus the Rockies: Proof that Mountain Size is Relative

17 comments

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I’m a West Coast girl. I grew up with the Sierras and Rockies, Redwoods and Sequoias.

My husband is an East Coast boy. He had the Appalachians and the Pines.

We met in Texas where there are few trees and fewer mountains. (As in zero.) So it has taken some traveling for us to realize that our ideas of big trees and mountains were miles apart.

Our trip to the Poconos in Pennsylvania was one such experience that shed light on the relativity of size.

We made plans to stay in an RV smack-dab in the middle of the Pocono Mountains. Driving there, I kept asking, where are the mountains? My husband, who grew up on the East coast pointed to some hills and said, “those are the mountains!”

When we were a half mile away, I thought wow, this must be wrong. This can’t be the Poconos. I mean, people ski here. There’s gotta be a mountain peak around here.

Really, I just saw hills. But they were lovely hills.

It turns out the highest peak is under 3,000 feet. That’s almost a valley where I come from.

(Just for reference, we drove almost 15,000 feet in elevation when we passed the Rockies in Colorado.)

When we reached the quaint little town of Stroudsburg, I really wanted to see a welcome sign that read, “The Poconos: Where making mountains out of molehills is a good thing!”

Have you skied the Poconos and the Rockies or Sierra Nevada? I’m curious to know how the two experiences compared.

{ 16 comments }

Rene May 2, 2011 at 5:09 pm

I have to admit, I kind of snickered when I saw the Appalachians, the Adirondacks and similar mountains back east. As a Westerner, when we crossed the Mississippi during our first year on the road and saw these “mountains” I too thought those couldn’t possibly be it. Oh well, as long as people get out and explore those little hills, that’s all that matters I suppose.

Me, I’ll take the Rockies, the Sierras, the Marbles and the Trinities over the eastern ranges any ol’ day!

Melanie May 2, 2011 at 5:26 pm

Rene — I’m with you! I don’t mean to be a mountain snob, but surely those are not mountains. I think my husband sadly realized the same thing now that he’s seen the wonders of the West.

Thanks for commenting… and for letting me know that I’m not alone.

Rene May 2, 2011 at 5:30 pm

Hah hah! Well, I’m a snob. When I saw the Appalachian Trail in Vermont, I was like “What’s the big deal?”! Ok, never hiked it but still, how hard can it be, right? ;) I’ve hiked the PCT, now THAT’s hard! oooh, I’m a snob! I’m a snob!

Oh don’t forget, Texas has some pretty good mountains out west in Big Bend Country. Love it there!
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Melanie May 5, 2011 at 3:11 pm

We haven’t been out to Big Bend yet… gotta put it on the list.

Happy to have other Mountain Snobs around. Sometimes I wonder if it’s just me. ;)

Jason @ FindingMyFitness May 3, 2011 at 5:37 pm

My local mountains are the Blue Ridge in Va, so I know how it is to call the Poconos “mountains”. I can’t wait to ski in Colorado or Montana. I’d love to go for a vacation with my wife to the Rockies! I want to camp in some real mountains, not just glorified hills. ;)

-j

Melanie May 5, 2011 at 3:13 pm

Jason, you gotta get out west, especially Montana. When we drove through Yellowstone, it was like no other place I’ve seen (and I’ve seen lots of mountains). There’s just something about Montana… although Colorado is amazing, too. This summer we’re spending time in the mountain of New Mexico and may take a side-trip to Colorado. I want this to be the summer of star-gazing and there’s no better place than a rural mountain-top.

Rene May 5, 2011 at 11:50 pm

Hey if you guys make it up near Fort Collins, let us know. We have a little place in Red Feather and at 8500′ elevation one hour from any city, the stars here are AMAZING!
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Stephanie July 17, 2011 at 5:32 pm

Ha! We had the same experience on the east coast. People kept talking about “the mountains” and we kept thinking, “What mountains?” Hills is a much more accurate description. ;)
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Nathan May 10, 2012 at 11:42 am

I haven’t skied either, but I’ve hiked in both the Poconos, as well as all around the Appalachians, and the Rockies as well. There’s little doubt that the West is the best…I mean, it’s the snowcapped peaks, the craggy cliffs and dramatic valleys that just make it all so breathtaking.

That said, there are plenty of good looking mountains in the East…the problem with the East, though, I think, is simply that people have been living here (or at least, Europeans have been settling here) for a much longer time, so we’ve paved over, cut down and blown up a lot of our natural beauty out here.

Still, it’s often harder to hike, or bike, in the East, since the mountains are older, they are way more rolling, you’re up and back down and up and back down. Out west, you climb up for a couple of days, then you get to go down for a couple. That’s my opinion anyway. :)

For the best mountains the east has to offer, though, I’d recommend first checking out the Green Mountains in Vermont and then heading down to Western North Carolina. The Black Mountains, Craggies & Smokies, not to mention the Blue Ridge Mountains, are the tallest and certainly most scenic ones that side of the Mississip. wandrlymagazine.com/explorations/the-blue-ridge-parkway/

lisa July 20, 2012 at 4:09 pm

I’ve got to confess, My partner and i form of snickered after i observed the Appalachians, the Adirondacks and also similar piles returning distance. As being a Westerner, whenever we entered the Mississippi in the course of our own initial yr on the road and also observed these types of “mountains” My partner and i as well believed individuals couldn’t maybe be it. Oh nicely, providing men and women move out and also examine individuals minor hills, that’s that concerns I assume.

Nathan July 20, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Keep in mind that the Appalachians are around 480 million years old. They used to be as tall as the Himalayas. Comparatively, the Rockies are only 70 million years old or so. Ripping on the Appalachians is like a teenager telling an old, old man he’s a weak old fart!

No doubt that we all like young and beautiful things, but respect your elders! :)

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