Browsing All Posts published on »May, 2010«

Pennsylvania Hiking Journal

May 27, 2010

5

Raccoon Creek State Park March 15-17, 2010. Being up in the pre-dawn was surprisingly pleasurable, though the fire had gone out and I needed to warm myself up with a cup of cocoa. I walked outside and looked up a the stars which are clear, blue beacons when one gets away from the lights of cities and suburban sprawl. The entire big dipper was perfectly visible with all the little stars scattered behind it and Orion was beginning his retreat from the Scorpion who rises in the spring to pursue him across the summer sky. Black Moshannon State Park June 19, 2005 – Logged to the ground in the 19th century, this hemlock forest nonetheless feels ancient because of how cool, and still and remote it is. The boardwalk allows one to walk very close to the lake to see dragonflies, red wing blackbirds and the distinctive flora of this extinct volcano. French Creek State Park. Our first major hike took place September 5, 2005. The five of us (Chris, Rick’s brother, Rick, Arkady, Herzog, our then 11-year old German Shepherd dog, and Adrienne got a late start and then got lost on the trails. We actually hiked out of the park boundaries and found ourselves at a fire tower. We ate up all the food and drank all the liquid in Adrienne’s day pack (including electrolyte solution for baby Arkady) and hiked until the brink of darkness in which we could see neither the blazes on the trees nor the trail. We were facing the prospect of spending the night on the trail when Chris trotted ahead of us to find the way back to a road. Because of splitting up, we got separated from him. Rick, Arkady, Herzog and I made it to the road just as darkness fell and hitched a ride from a motorist back to our car. Chris had found some rangers and went down near their station to wait for us. We rigged up a note with glow sticks to leave for him where the car had been parked but were quickly reunited (good thing that the brothers think alike!). We were on the trail about 4.5 hours that night and estimated that we walked about 11 miles. We’ll never hike again without more food, more water, more flashlights, a reliable compass, and space blankets. We were grateful for what we had in Adrienne’s day pack. Later when we hiked at the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon and told a ranger the story, he commented, “Oh, yeah. So many people get lost at French Creek. The maps there are terrible!”