The Restek Ramblers' fifth after work hike had us venturing pretty far from home. For this hike we had decided to hike the Rock Run Trails. In particular, we were doing the southern loop of the double loop Rock Run Trail system. Since we were driving so far (about 35 minutes worth) and I didn't know what the parking situation would be like, we kept the number of cars to minimum. With three cars and six people we headed up to Governor's Road on top of the Allegheny Plateau.
We arrived at the trailhead, which was back a rough bit of mountain road, full of ruts and huge puddles of water, around 15 minutes past five. We quickly got on our way, heading down the Woodcutter's Road. We followed this un-blazed trail down to where it intersected with the Rock Run Trails. We turned right onto the Woodland Trail and hike about 0.1 miles until we came upon the Connector Trail. This trail is the middle part of the figure eight loop. We turned right here, and after crossing on a newly erected bridge over Rock Run, we arrived at the intersection of Ridge Trail and the Headwater Trail.
We turned left on the Headwater Trail and headed south. We hiked for about 1.5 miles on the Headwater Trail, along the western banks of Rock Run. Soon we were crossing the small streams the feed into and form Rock Run. At about 2.5 miles we were at the junction of the Headwater Trail, Entrance Trail and Woodland Trail. At this intersection is a trail register so we stopped and signed in as the Restek Ramblers.
After a short bread we continued on a sweeping left turn, now following the Woodland Trail, as we began hiking in a more northern direction. After crossing a camp access road, we entered into an area containing some odd rock formations. These formations were quite large, some the size of a garage, as the trail made its way through the rocks.
Just prior to us meeting up with the Woodcutters Road, the trail that we followed into the Rock Run Trails, we observed a porcupine off to the side of the trail. We watched as he slowly lumbered across the forest floor, until he came upon a rather large tree. Up the tree he went, trying to put as much distance between us and him. After climbing up the tree about 30 feet, he must have felt secure about his safety as he just hung there, clinging to the tree, and watching us from above. After some quick snapshots we were on our way, letting the poor fellow alone so he could recover from his close encounter with us humans.
Once back at the Woodcutter's Road, we turned right and followed it back to our cars. We were able to complete the 4.9 mile hike in about 2 hours. The smaller group of six hikers allowed us to keep the pace up on this hike, plus the flat terrain, so that we averaged a hiking speed of about 2.5 miles per hour. The weather cooperated (mostly) to allow us to enjoy another hike as we explored the trails in the Pennsylvania woods.Continue reading