Restek Ramblers' Ramblings

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

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17
May

A Change of Plans in Shingletown Gap

Posted by on in Shingletown Gap
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The Restek Ramblers have now logged over 25 miles of trails on seven after work hikes. Our latest hike was back over in Shingletown Gap. This hike was to have us climb Tussey Mountain to take in two separate views before heading back down the ridge and circling back to the trailhead. However, on this hike our plans changed a bit and we didn't get a chance to see both vistas.

The hike started at the trailhead proper in Shingletown Gap. Just about 0.2 miles into the hike we crossed Roaring Run and headed up the north side of Tussey Mountain. I had forgotten just how steep this first climb was. My memory was soon jogged as we all struggled (except for the young hikers in the group) as we climbed up to the shelf where the Charcoal Flats Trail traverses.

We had a short reprieve as we crossed the relatively flat shelf, but soon we were struggling up the Downer Trail as we climbed to the top of Tussey Mountain. With a view breaks along the way, we all made it to the top. Once we reached the top we turned left on the blue-blazed side trail and in a matter of 100 feet or so, we were at our first vista.

This vista is called the Roman Tower vista because of the square rock structure here. I suppose the simplistic design would make one consider it to be of Roman architecture, but I feel pretty certain to say that the Romans had very little to do with its construction. We all rested here and took in the views towards Happy Valley and Mount Nittany on the far horizon.

Soon we were back on the trail, heading southwest across the rocky ridgeline. We were following the organe-blazed Mid State Trail. We continued on the Mid State Trail for just a bit over a quarter mile when we came upon the intersection with Deer Path. This was the trail that we would take back down to Shingletown Gap. Our plans called for us to hike an additional half mile or so on the Mid State Trail where we would see our second vista of the hike. We would then turnaround and retrace our steps back to this point. However the skies looked threatening and the last thing I wanted was to have a large group of people on top of a mountain during a rain storm with the possibilities of lightning. I made the decision we would head back down Deer Path now and bypass the second vista.

Since our hike was now going to be quite a bit shorter, we decided to change our plans even more by turning left onto the Charcoal Flats Trail once we were down off Tussey Mountain. This trail makes its way west and then climbs to the top of the front ridge of Shingletown Gap. Sort of like the mirror image of Bald Knob Ridge Trail. This climb was much shorter and once we reached the top of the front ridge, we turned right and headed back towards the gap.

A short hike had us at the top of our descent into the gap. Here things got a bit interesting. There were blazes on the tree to indicate the trail we were suppose to be on, but there was no trail. All there was were a bunch of large rocks and boulders. Everyone kind of scoped out their own personal paths as we scrambled down to Cruiser Run at the bottom of the descent. Later I was told that coming down across these boulders was one of the more fun parts of all the hikes that they have done with the Restek Ramblers.

Once everyone was down off the front ridge we took a short hike on Cruiser Run Trail, crossing over Roaring Run on the log bridge, and we were back at the trailhead. The hike turned out a bit shorter than originally planned, but no one seemed to mind. It was a tough climb, probably even harder than the Indian Steps climb from the previous week. With the exception of our next hike, the climbs were just going to get harder and harder. It's nice to have something to look forward to.

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