The Restek Ramblers' third after work hike had us returning to Shingletown Gap. On our first hike we had a small climb followed by a nice easy hike on the Charcoal Flats and Lower Trails. For this hike we were looking to do something a bit more challenging by climbing up to the top of Bald Knob Ridge.
There were fifteen of us on this hike. I was quite surprised by the turn-out as the temperatures were only in the upper forties. Actually, the temperatures were quite comfortable for hiking with the exception that near the end of the hike, in the shadows of the mountain, it did seem to get pretty chilly.
We started the hike following the banks of Roaring Run. This was a nice easy ascent where we followed the stream for a little over a mile. We had hiked the lower sections of this trail on our first hike. However, this outing had us traveling closer to the headwaters of Roaring Run.
At about 1.25 miles into the hike we came upon the intersection of Lower Trail and the Maguire Trail. The Maguire Trail is named after Frank Maguire, an avid biker and trail blazer in the Rothrock and Bald Eagle State Forests. The Maguire Trail use to be a much steeper, direct route to the top of Bald Knob Ridge, but was rerouted about three years ago to help alleviate some erosion that was occurring on the old trail.
The ascent on the Maguire Trail was steady but not real steep. We stopped a few times to catch our breaths; once to clear the trail for a mountain biker descending on the trail. Just a bit past 2 miles of hiking we reached the top of Bald Knob Ridge.
The hike across the ridgeline afforded a couple "winter" views towards Happy Valley, State College, and Mount Nittany in the distance. The ridge was a bit rocky but we all managed to navigate it without incidence. We paused again just prior to starting our descent so that the entire group was not strung out over the top of the ridge.
The descent was much steeper than the ascent. We all took our time and maintained our footing as we regrouped at the junction of Bald Knob Ridge Trail and Lower Trail, along the banks of Roaring Run. From here we retraced our steps back to the trailhead and our waiting cars.
The hike was well received by everyone that participated. It was the hardest hike so far as it incorporated both elevation change and a moderate distance to hike. Much more challenging than the other two hikes, but everyone was up for it and handled it well. The Restek Ramblers has two more hikes scheduled for the Shingletown Gap area and those hikes will continue to challenge us with steep ascents and longer distances to hike.