On Friday the weather forecast changed. There would be zero percent chance of precipitation for the day. I decided to revisit Worlds End State Park on Friday in the hope that it would be less crowded on a work day. At least it was a work day for some people. I got the day off because the July 4th holiday fell on a Saturday.
My main reason for essentially repeating a recent trip was to see Dutchman Falls, a waterfall which is actually very close to where I begin the Loyalsock Trail. But I didn’t know it was there so I missed it on my other two trips to the Haystacks.
First I drove to Eagles Mere because it has a book store and I cannot resist a book store. I bought a novel, The Circle by Dave Eggers since it was on my Amazon wish list. I wanted to read this novel because it is about social networking. Maybe this is Dave Eggers take on Silicon Valley. I had a cheeseburger for lunch at the Sweet Shop across the street. This time I did not immediately leave Eagles Mere. I walked around the town a little bit to see what else is there. I found additional parking just up the road from the Sweet Shop. That is good to know because the general store parking lot can get full. I also found a park with a gazebo and one bench. I never realized this park was there. It was fairly small. I also saw the Eagles Mere Lake and the canoes piled on its shore. The lake is the main asset of this small village. There used to be many vacation resorts around the lake and now there are million dollar vacation homes in Eagles Mere, all because of this lake. I also explored a few side streets and found Eagles Mere Inn. I’m not sure why you would want to stay there, since Eagles Mere has practically nothing for you to do, unless you go to Worlds End State Park. This village puzzles me but it is very picturesque and reminds me of the Poconos. I saw one of the million dollar homes with a pebble lawn, huge picture windows, and a deck with a view of the mountains. I would describe it as a rustic ranch house with mansion pretensions.
I left Eagles Mere and drove to the Loyalsock State Forest where there is a trail head at Mead Road on Route 220 North. After climbing down to the North Bend Railroad grade I immediately left the trail and climbed down further to find the Dutchman Falls. I thought you needed to hike a ways to the right, but it is actually right there down the hill towards Loyalsock Creek. I saw a stone tunnel under the North Bend Railroad grade for the stream to flow through. It was obviously not a natural tunnel. The Dutchman Falls has an upper falls and a lower falls and I carefully climbed down to take photos of both. I did see three other hikers leaving just as I got there.
After taking photos and even video of the waterfalls I decided I might as well hike to see the Haystacks as long as I was there. I might have skipped that if the waterfalls had taken longer to find. When I got to the Haystacks I found them quite crowded, with people sitting on the boulders and wading into the creek. On my previous trips to the Haystacks they had been deserted. But I saw a lot of people on the trail and around fifteen people camped out around the Haystacks.
It had been raining all week and there were a few streams flowing over the trail. At some places it was quite difficult to cross the stream without getting my feet wet. On the way back to the parking lot I tried an alternative route. I was hoping this would require less climbing. It wasn’t as steep a climb, but the climbing seemed to go on for much longer so I didn’t consider it an improvement.
I then proceeded to Worlds End State Park which I still have not explored completely. I did come across several new aspects of the park which made my trip worth while. First I drove along a very narrow state forest road up to the Canyon Vista. The view was fantastic! Almost as good as the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon vistas from its overlooks. Nearby I discovered the Rock Garden, a collection of large boulders and rock formations with deep crevices. One crevice provided a path deep into the rocks. The Rock Garden looked like the ruins of an ancient civilization without the rock carvings.
After that I drove far along other narrow state forest roads and managed to find the High Knob Overlook. I was quite pleased with myself because I have directions to the High Knob Overlook in my notes but I had not intended to try to find it on this trip. There were a few cars parked at the overlook and a few people enjoying the view. I took lots of photos. You could see many mountains in the distance. It was the kind of view that makes you glad to live in Pennsylvania where there is a forested mountain always on the horizon. I found an overgrown trail behind the High Knob Overlook but I did not follow it very far because it seemed to be unmarked.
I did want to do some hiking at the Worlds End State Park but I wanted to try one of the trails I had seen on my last trip. I drove to the main parking lot and picked up a park map at the park office. Then I drove to the Butternut Trail and High Rock Trail trail heads. I decided to hike the Butternut Trail since it did not have a warning sign under the trail sign. I only hiked for about an hour on the Butternut Trail until 5:00 p.m. because it was beginning to get dark in the woods.
I bought a strawberry milk shake at the refreshment stand near the main parking lot and sat at a picnic table where I drank it through a straw. There is something quite nostalgic about a state park because it is the sort of rustic amusement you may experience as a kid during family outings and then abandon as an adult. Unfortunately, I only remember being taken to Ricketts Glenn State Park even though there are many other state parks that are closer. Oh well, you can definitely over do it and I may get tired of visiting these state parks and hiking the same sorts of trails. On the other hand, it makes for a cheap weekend vacation.