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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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FX Kennedy Trail

Posted by on in Black Forest Trail

For those that might have a hard time finding the trail:
41°31'28.47"N     77°36'54.42"W     coordinates on Google Earth

It was the month of October and it was a nice mild temperature. All of the leaves were falling off the trees and I knew I had to get out for one last hike before autumn ended. This time around, I went with my significant other after much convincing which lead me to choose the FX Kennedy Trail.

Hiking this trail was easy and my goodness it was beautiful! Leaves were dancing down from their trees, cotton plants were past their time for picking, acorns plopped about, and there were plenty of plants to look at. There is a section of the hike that follows a waterbed which is really nice. I'm a mushroomer of sorts and was able to find an edible variety of mushrooms as well! Camped overnight with success even though the area isn't suited for it at all really. It was still nice hearing the water flow by and it made the wifey happy.

This trail can definitely be done in a day and it is absolutely worth hiking this trail. I would recommend!

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