Restek Ramblers' Ramblings

This blog catalogs the after work hikes done by the Restek Ramblers.

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Walking on the Lake Trail at Stone Valley

Posted by on in Stone Valley Recreation Area

Encircling Lake Perez at the Stone Valley Recreation Area is the Lake Trail. This orange blazed trail is approximately 2.7 miles long and is relatively flat, with only a few small climbs and descents. This was the destination for the Restek Ramblers on the last Tuesday of April.

We parked at the main parking area within the Stone Vally Recreation Area, near the boat launch. Once everyone showed up we began hiking the Lake Trail in a counter-clockwise direction. The trail starts as an improved gravel trail but it soon turns to packed dirt. Soon the trail turns to the left and crosses Shaver Creek. At about a half mile we came upon the Shaver's Creek Environmental Center.

After pausing here for a bit to take a look at the overview map of the area, we continued hiking on the orange-blazed trail. We were now on the north side of Lake Perez. The trail comes close to the steep shoreline and offered us occasional glimpses of the lake. At a bit over a mile into the hike we encountered our biggest climb of the hike. Once we reached the top of the climb we all took a break to catch our breath and wet our whistle.

Soon we emerged onto a powerline clearing. We followed this for a short ways before bearing left off the clearing, still following the Lake Trail. We crossed a paved road and then began another, shorter climb. At the top of this climb is one of the climbing tower that Stone Valley Recreation Area has scattered around the lake.

Soon we were walking across the breast of the dam. From here we had a nice view over the newly filled Lake Perez. We crossed the dam spillway on a bridge and turned left to follow the lake shoreline back to the parking area and our waiting cars. This was a nice hike, with a few climbs to get the heart pumping, but nothing too strenuous and the length was perfect for an after work hike.

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Exploring the Barrens at Scotia

Posted by on in Scotia Barrens

For the fourth outing, the Restek Ramblers headed over to the Scotia Barrens. Located west of State College, this area use to be a bustling iron ore mining community. Now it is a State Game Lands and is criss-crossed with a number of trails. The remnants of the mine and these criss-crossing trails were the object of this latest Restek Rambler's hike.

We parked at a large parking area near a power substation. We crossed Scotia Range Road and headed back into the woods on one of the many, un-blazed trails. At 0.3 miles we got our first glimpse into the remains of the mine. Another tenth of a mile brought us to a large clearing on the edge of the mine. From here we could see the mine laid out before us. This was a pit mine and had water laying in the bottom. It did provide a nice respite as we look around trying to imagine the activity that took place here in the late 1800s. After a short break we continued heading south east on the trail.

At about 0.5 miles the trail we were following emerged onto the dirt Scotia Range Road. We turned left here and followed the road for a little over 500 feet before turning right off the road, walking across a small parking area and picking up the next trail. This trail climbed to a now abandoned elevated rail bed. This was the main rail line for taking iron ore from Scotia to the market. Directly in front of us and to our left was the remains of Ten Acre Pond. Turning left here we followed the railroad bed for 100 feet before turning right and descending once again to the forest floor.

We now followed the trail as it skirted the edge of the State Game Lands and the Haugh Family Farm open space. We kept to the trails on the left at each intersection as there were other trails that went off into the woods on our right. At 1.3 miles we turned right and headed back into the woods and away from the fields we had been walking alongside.

At 1.7 miles we emerged at an intersection with a trail that looked to be more heavily used then the one we were currently on. We turned right and began a gentle descent. At 2.4 miles the trail made its way between two clearings. These clearings were feed plots for the deer population. At a bit shy of 2.6 miles the trail came to an end at a gate and we emerged once again onto Scotia Range Road. We turned right here and followed the road for about two tenths of a mile. We were now at the point where we emerged onto the road earlier. We turned left here and retraced our steps along the iron ore mine back to our parked cars.

This was a nice hike on relatively flat terrain. There weren't any strenuous climbs we had to deal with and the trails were relatively free of obstacles. The trail was muddy in places, but for the most part it was dry. I would recommend the Scotia Barrens to anyone that wants to just get out for a quick walk. You'll have the opportunity to enjoy the woods and perhaps experience some history as well.

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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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Restek Ramblers First Visit to Shingletown Gap in 2015

Posted by on in Shingletown Gap

The second hike for the Restek Ramblers in 2015 had us visiting Shingletown Gap for the first time. We had a long, hard winter, but it seemed that the ice and snow had receded from Shingletown, giving us a clear, but sometimes muddy, trail to hike.

This hike was a short hiking: only a little over 2 miles in length. We started at the parking area near the reservoir and headed into the gap proper. Soon we beared right and crossed Roaring Run on fallen tree. We followed the banks of Roaring Run for a short distance before turning right to begin an ascent along Cruiser Run. This blue-blazed trail is called the Deer Path and can be followed the entire way to the top of Tussey Mountain high above.

Once the climb leveled out we turned left onto the Charcoal Flats Trail. Here the hiking was easier on a relatively flat terrain. We paused a few times hiking on this trail. We stopped to listen to a Barred Owl hooting in the distance. We also stopped at a few of the trails namesakes, the charcoal flats, and discussed how these areas came about and the purpose they served back in the late 1800s.

About half way through our hike we turned left off the Charcoal Flats Trail and descended into the valley below. Once at the bottom of our descent we crossed Roaring Run. Located here are the remains of an old cabin or utility building. After a few pictures we were soon back on the trail, following the northern banks of Roaring Run as it flowed down towards the gap.

Our hike was a little over 2 miles in length and took us less than an hour to complete. This short hike is a great after work hike. The initial climb gets the heart pumping, but not so much as to leave you too winded for the rest of the hike. The easy hike out the Charcoal Flats Trail and the leisurely return hike on the Shingletown Trail makes this hike a pleasure to do. The Restek Ramblers will be venturing out into the Shingletown Gap area a few more times this year as the trails here provide ample opportunity to create a hike of varying lengths and difficulties.

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Exploring the Upper Reaches of Shingletown Gap

Posted by on in Shingletown Gap

The second to last hike for the Restek Ramblers had us doing our hardest hike out of all as we explored the upper reaches of Shingletown Gap. Not the longest of our hikes, though we did manage to do 5 miles of hiking, this hike was the toughest because it included two rather sizable ascents: one to the top of Bald Knob Ridge and the other to the top of Tussey Mountain.

Our hike started with a bit of road walking. We parked our cars where the Shingletown Path crosses Old Laurel Run Road. In order to climb to the top of Bald Knob Ridge, we had to hike about 0.4 miles down Old Laurel Run Road to the intersection with the Bald Knob Ridge Trail. Once off the road we had a nice single track trail to follow as we meandered through the forest.

About three quarters of a mile into our hike we began our ascent of Bald Knob. The going was a bit steep at first, but soon we reached the ridgeline where the ascent became a bit easier. We passed one vista on the ascent, with views towards Little Flat and the radio towers located there. Soon we completed our first climb as we reached and crossed the top of Bald Knob.

We continued on the Bald Knob Ridge Trail as we slowly descended from Bald Knob. Soon we passed the Green Shoots Trail and just a bit further on we turned off onto the Sand Spring Trail. While completing our descent on the Sand Spring Trail we passed the spring from which this trail gets its name.

At the bottom of our descent, the Sand Spring Trail crosses Lower Trail as well as crossing Roaring Run. All of us made the stream crossing without incident as we continued to follow the Sand Spring Trail and began our ascent to the top of Tussey Mountain.

Our climb was pretty easy at first, until we got about 2.8 miles into our hike. After crossing a dirt forestry road, we soon began to climb in earnest. After about 0.2 miles of steep climbing we reached the top of Tussey Mountain and the intersection of Sand Spring Trail and the Mid State Trail. We turned left here and followed the Mid State Trail east towards Old Laurel Run Road.

After crossing Old Laurel Run Road we continued on a section of the Mid State Trail that use to be part of the Reichly Brothers railroad. These old railroad beds are quite rocky and are not a pleasure to hike. Luckily for use the trail became less rocky after a little more than a tenth of a mile of hiking. We emerged from the Mid State Trail on the Little Flat access road. A short walk down this road had us bearing left onto the red-blazed Shingletown Path. A short descent and 0.3 miles later we were back at the trailhead and the start of the hike.

This hike was a tough one, but everyone made it through with flying colors. The weather cooperated with the rain holding off and the hot summer sun only beating down on our heads a couple of times. Even the bugs seemed to leave us alone on this hike. Definitely a great way to experience the toughest hike on our hiking schedule.

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