Weekend Hiking In The Pennsylvania Wilds

Over the weekend I went hiking in three different places. It is amazing that I continue to discover new wonders in North Central Pennsylvania. I really should have got out more in all the years I’ve lived in this area. On Saturday, June 6, 2015 I visited Ravensburg State Park in Clinton County. This is a small state park south of Jersey Shore. It had rained hard Friday night so the woods were very wet. There is a creek in this park, Rauchtown Run, which was roaring with rain water. The park was very nice with extensive facilities but not many hiking trails. I only found the Raven Trail which offered a short hike to the small dam on Rauchtown Run. I did follow a short side trail which leads to scenic rocky outcrops, an entire hill side covered in boulders. The park had many camping lots, picnic tables, and restrooms. It must be a nice resource for the local community but Ravensburg State Park is not a destination park.

Since my visit to Ravensburg State Park was short I decided to squeeze in another hike that day. I drove all the way back to Williamsport and then out to Montoursville before heading north to Warrensville. I managed to find the trail head to the Jacoby Run Falls hiking trail. This is an isolated hiking trail which you can follow to reach a waterfall, but then you have to retrace your steps back out of the woods. This hiking trail did not require climbing any hills. I appreciated that because even a short uphill climb will exhaust me. The trail was a pleasant stroll through the woods except for some rocky sections of the trail. The trail follows a pipeline right of way before you reach Jacoby Falls. There are two pipeline markers 094 and 095 with aerial panels. When you see the 095 pipeline marker you are almost there. I actually thought the pipeline was the most interesting part of the hike because it was an overgrown road through the woods. It looked like a mysterious, desolate road through the wilderness. I expected the Jacoby Falls to be impressive since it had rained heavily that night but the waterfall was just a trickle of water, well several trickles of water actually, not much stronger than a shower. However there was plenty of room to walk behind the falls and I liked that. I only saw one other hiker on my way back. I took the time to saw off a tree branch that was blocking the trail. I used my Leatherman tool which has a surprisingly effective saw. I imagine the other hiker must have been surprised to find that obstacle recently removed when he turned back.

I was thinking of heading directly into town for lunch at Joy Thai Cuisine but it was getting close to 3:00 p.m. when they stop serving lunch so I decided to wait until 5:00 p.m. for diner. I went home and showered and then went downtown at 5:00 p.m. First I went to Otto’s Bookstore and searched everywhere for the book Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. I could not find that book so I settled for Jungleland by Christopher S. Stewart, a book about a trek through the jungle which was almost as good. At Joy Thai Cuisine I tried to order the Crispy Roll but that was unavailable so I had Drunken Noodles and  Fried Banana with ice cream. The Drunken Noodles was excellent. It was really fat noodles in a spicy sauce with vegetables and chicken. I picked out most of the vegetables because it was a heavy meal.

On Sunday I repeated a road trip I made four years ago. I drove to Eagles Mere and then visited Worlds End State Park in Sullivan County to the east of Lycoming County. Eagles Mere is a tiny village of vacation homes surrounding a lake. Unlike most Pennsylvania villages, Eagles Mere is very exclusive with grand Victorian mansions, almost a resort town. The only reason I stopped there was to visit the Eagles Mere Bookstore and the Sweet Shop, a small restaurant and ice cream parlor. I arrived in Eagles Mere at exactly 10:00 a.m. when the book store should have opened but discovered that it does not open until 11:00 a.m. on Sundays. So I went to the Sweet Shop for breakfast. I had a cup of coffee and an egg muffin.

I then proceeded to Worlds End State Park. This is a very popular state park, a destination park. There were a lot of people in the park that day. Ravensburg State Park had been completely deserted. I have been to this park once before but I did not find the parking area I remember. Instead I found a larger parking area where I discovered the real attraction of this park, the spectacular cliffs of the Loyalsock Creek gorge. I thought this was an impressive sight.  The banks of Loyalsock Creek are strewn with boulders forming a very rocky beach. It was very picturesque. I found the trail heads for the Butternut Trail and the High Rock Trail but these trails appeared to be very steep and I had left my hiking poles in my car so I did not attempt these trails. Instead I drove back along Route 154 and found the Double Run Nature Trail. The Double Run Nature Trail proved to be a fairly easy trail which follows a creek with some small waterfalls. There were even wooden steps on the trail to make it easier to climb a hill. This trail was fairly crowded with hikers. I  encountered several groups. It was also hard to find a parking spot at the trail head. I had to squeeze my car in next to the guard rail. There was a chapel at the trail head. I was expecting a rustic building but the chapel proved to be just log benches facing a podium.

After hiking the Double Run Nature Trail I was ready to call it a day since the trail was a little exhausting. I wanted to go to the Lycoming Mall before it closed at 5:00 p.m. But I did drive back to Eagles Mere. I saw a deer walking on a sidewalk in Eagles Mere. It ran across the road and disappeared in someone’s driveway. I found the book store had finally opened. I managed to find the book I was looking for, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed. I’m eager to read this book about finding serenity in hiking. At the Lycoming Mall I found a DVD of the film Wild starring Reese Witherspoon. The cashier mentioned that the book was very popular, probably because hiking is a popular recreational activity in this area.

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