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04
May
0

Rambling on the Whipple Lake Trail

Posted by on in Rothrock State Forest

For our third hike of the 2015 season, the Restek Rambler's had their first visit to the Whipple Dam State Park. Located here is the Whipple Lake Trail, a 2.2 mile hike around the lake at the State Park.

On this hike, we all met at the main parking area near the beach. It took a little while to reach the trailhead for the hike, so we got a later start than we usually do. Heading east from the parking area we came across the signed trailhead near the lake's edge.

The trail followed the southern banks of Laurel Run as it headed east. At about 0.8 mile we came across a well-built bridge that spans Laurel Run. A short distance after crossing the bridge the trail climbed steeply to Beidler Road. Once reaching the road, we turned left and onto the trail as it began to follow the ridge top.

As we hiked across the ridge line, we encountered a gradual ascent but it soon leveled out and had a rather easy hike. The trail merged with a dirt road at about 1.5 miles into the hike and we soon turned left off the road and began a descendt towards the lake.

We were about 1.7 miles into the hike when we met back up with the lake, almost directly across from where we started the hike. We turned right here and soon found ourselves hiking a paved road back to the trailhead.

The hike was enjoyed by all, but there were some wet sections on the beginning part of the trail that had to be avoided. The Whipple Dam State Park is a great place to go for a hike and have a picnic afterwords, which I believe some of the Restek Ramblers did.

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20
Jun
0

A Steep Climb and a Thunderstorm in Rothrock State Forest

Posted by on in Rothrock State Forest

For our tenth hike, the Restek Ramblers headed back into Rothrock State Forest. We were in Galbraith Gap for a climb to the top of Little Flat to see the fire tower and take in one of the Bear Meadow Vistas.

Our hike would take us up Spruce Gap Trail, quite a challenge of a climb, across little flat, and then down Old Laurel Run Trail. We would cross over on the Two Bridges Trail before retracing our steps back to the trailhead.

We started the hike by leaving the parking area at Galbraith Gap. We hiked on the newly blazed Chutes Trail before meeting up with the Spruce Gap Trail. The Spruce Gap Trail was a bit of a challenge. It was quite steep in places and we had to take a number of breaks on our way to the top. As we got closer to the top we could see the sky getting darker as well as thunder in the distance. A look at the radar early showed a storm that looked to be heading to our north.

Once on Little Flat, the weather took a turn for the worse as the winds picked up. I was a little concerned about being on the highest point in southern Centre County during a thunderstorm, so we skipped the Bear Meadows Vista and made for the fire tower on Little Flat. Once at the fire tower clearing we started walking down the gravel access road. The wind was really blowing and the sounds of thunder were getting closer. I was hoping we could cut down off the top of the ridge onto Old Laurel Run Trail before the storm hit. Unfortunately we were a bit slow.

About 500 feet from the turn off to the Old Laurel Run Road, the storm hit us. It started raining cats and dogs, with the wind blowing fiercely. There was lighting strikes, but none seemed too close. We hurriedly turned off onto Old Laurel Run Road and scampered down the trail, now swollen with flowing water. After ten minutes of hiking down what seemed to be a mountain stream instead of a trail, the rains stopped. We were all soaked, but aside for being wet, we managed to make it through the thunder storm without any other incidents.

Once we reached the bottom of Old Laurel Run Trail we turned right onto Three Bridges Trail. Everyone was drenched and just wanted to get back to the cars. Soon we were back on Spruce Gap Trail and we retraced our steps back to the trailhead. It was an interesting hike and experience, but I think we will try to avoid being on top of a mountain during any future hikes.

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06
Jun
0

Bugs On Top of Thickhead Mountain

Posted by on in Rothrock State Forest

The Restek Ramblers ninth hike of the season had us climbing Thickhead Mountain. Our adventure started with us parking along Thickhead Mountain road, near the intersection of this road and the John Wert Path. The John Wert Path is gated here as it is also an access road to a camp located here. We headed back the John Wert Path for a little over a tenth of a mile before we turned left on the Shingle Path Trail. I had visited here about 4 weeks ago and painted yellow blazes on this trail. Once we turned off onto the Shingle Path Trail, we had an easy time, following these new blazes up the side of Thickhead Mountain.

It wasn't long before the trail got very steep as we continued our climb up the north face of Thickhead Mountain. It was a bit of a struggle, but we all made it to the top of the long, arduous climb. Once we reached the top of the mountain we hiked across the relatively flat trail. At about three quarters of a mile into the hike we arrived at the junction of Shingle Path Trail and the Detweiler Run Road.

The Detweiler Run Road is a gated forest road, used mostly by mountain bikers. The road was wide and grassy, with a visible dirt path running down the middle of the road. We followed this path as we finished our short, gradual ascent to the top of Thickhead Mountain.

We soon arrived at a junction of grassy roads. We turned right and hiked a short distance to visit McKinney Springs. This is a small water source located, oddly enough, on the very top of the mountain. This spring is also the headwaters and the start of Detweiler Run.

After visiting the spring, we retraced our steps and continued straight on Thickhead Mountain Road. We had an easy hike down the road for the next 2 plus miles. We had a chance to take in a partial vista at a little over 2 miles into the hike. However, when we stopped to take in the view we were attacked by gnats. They were everywhere, so we couldn't stand still for long.

The rest of the hike was an easy walk back to the cars. With the bugs everywhere, we had to keep the pace rather swift. If we hiked to slow, then we were swarmed by gnats. We completed the hike of a little over four miles in 1 hour and 45 minutes. A very healthy pace for a hike, considering the steep climb we had to get to the top of the mountain.

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23
May
0

A Beautiful Spring Hike Along Detweiler Run

Posted by on in Rothrock State Forest

The eight hike for the Restek Ramblers had us hiking along Detweiler Run. This hike followed the Greenwood Spur of the Mid State Trail down along Detweiler Run and then through the Alan Seeger Natural Area. We then looped back around, following the forest roads back to our parked cars.

Their were six of us on this hike and we parked our cars at the gated end of Detweiller Run Road, where the organge-blazed Mid State Trail crosses. We headed down the MST on a relatively steep descent where we then met up with the northern terminus of the yellow-blazed Greenwood Spur. We turned right here and followed the Greenwood Spur along the banks of Detweiler Run.

The trail was rocky at the start, as it followed the Reichly Brother's old railroad grade. Soon we crossed the stream and the trail wasn't nearly as rocky. At about a mile into the hike we crossed back over the stream for the second time, near a leased cabin. The trail was well maintained and opened up a bit here so that we could walk two abreast if we wanted to.

We crossed over Detweiler Run one last time before we came upon the paved Stone Creek Road at about 1.7 miles into our hike. Once we crossed the road we were now in the Alan Seeger Natural Area. This section of the trail took us through some rhododendron tunnels and in amongst some of the oldest trees in Rothrock State Forest. Aside for small issue near a flooded bridge, the hike on this section of the trail was quite easy and enjoyable.

At about 2.2 miles we emerged onto another paved road near the picnic areas in Alan Seeger. We turned right here, crossed Stone Creek, turned left onto the paved Stone Creek Road, and then crossed over Detweiler Run.

The rest of the hike had us following forest roads back to the car. Just shy of 3 miles we turned right onto Bear Meadows Road. With its gradual incline, which became a bit steeper towards the end, we made pretty good time as we completed our 4.7 mile hike in about 2 hours and 15 minutes. Aside for the bugs, which were quite bothersome on the last leg of the hike, the outing was quite enjoyable. This would be our last hike that did not incorporate a steep climb into the hike. The hikes were just going to get tougher from here on out.

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13
Apr
0

A Wet Hike at Bear Meadows

Posted by on in Rothrock State Forest

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.

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