Tuscarora in Tuscarora: Part 1

My recent trip on the AT has re-igniting my interest in hiking. I decided to take advantage of this unexpected gust of motivation, and try to log some miles toward the DCNR State Forest Trails Award.

My plan for the moment is to try to complete as many miles as I can on out-and-back dayhikes. This means walking twice as many miles, but I also get to go whenever I want, without being beholden to anyone else’s scheduling constraints.

In any event, walking alone deep in the woods is good for your spiritual well-being.

So, I drove out to the Tuscarora State Forest, parked the car at the hiker parking lot, and set out to walk to the northern boundary of the State Forest. I stopped off at Flat Rock Vista to take a photo.

Me at Flat Rock Vista
Me at Flat Rock Vista

I continued my way down through the Wildcat Hollow, where I came upon a little cascade in the stream. I stopped to shoot some video. I discovered that I am a very awkward personality on camera.

You can see from my hat and the lack of foliage, that I am very far behind on my blogging. This hike was about 6 weeks ago.

I continued hiking north until I crossed the boundary of the State Forest.

Leaving State Forest Land
Leaving State Forest Land

At this point I had finished the Tuscarora Trail from PA 233 to the edge of the State Forest. I just needed to get back to my car. Not wanting to retrace my steps, I decided to loop back on the red-blazed Warner Trail.

Intersection of Tuscarora and Warner Trails
Intersection of Tuscarora and Warner Trails

Not far down the Warner, I came upon a swollen creek.
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This was a calamity. I didn’t want to walk around the rest of the day with wet feet, but turning around seemed like a cowardly way out. So, I took off my socks, rolled up my pants legs, and forded the stream.

Ready to ford the stream
Ready to ford the stream

One of the reasons I hike in trail runners instead of hiking boots is that the trail runners are supposed to dry out quickly if you get them wet. I was now in a position to test that theory. I hiked on for about two more miles, then stopped for lunch and gave my shoes some time to dry out.

Shoes drying out at a lunch stop.
Shoes Drying out at a lunch stop.

By the time I had eaten my lunch and was ready to hit the trail again, everything was dry. I put my socks back on and hiked back to the car.

Here is a map of my adventure. The blue line is the Tuscarora Trail. The Red line is the Warren Trail. The green is the boundary of the state forest.

So, That takes care of PA233 to the edge of the State Forest, and I already hiked PA233 to Cowpens road a long time ago. So, I’ll be starting my next hike on Cowpens Road, and heading south.

Hiking: AT PA325 to Swatara Gap – Day 2

When we last saw our heroes, they had just arrived at an Appalachian Trail shelter, and were preparing to spend the night with a possibly dangerous maniac.

“I told the VA to go fuck themselves!” he said. My companions and I exchanged worried glances. Perhaps we should just move along, and pitch our tarps a little bit farther down the trail.

Nobody wanted to be a girly-man, and so nobody said anything. When the strange man finished his tirade against the government, he asked us what day it was, and how long we had been hiking. We told him that we had only started hiking this morning. He said that he had been on the trail for about two months.

Yours truly, modeling the latest hiker fashions
Yours truly, modeling the latest hiker fashions

As we boiled our instant dinners, John (our new eccentric friend) told us that he had thru-hiked the entire AT twice before, and done a sizeable portion of the PCT as well. We had rather less heroic feats to boast of.

Conversation turned to food, the weather, and camping gear; interspersed with incoherent rants about the government and the military-industrial complex.

I found it somewhat unsettling that this man, whose views were extreme to the point of madness, had political opinions not very different from my own.

It started to drizzle after dinner, and so we all went to bed around 8:00.

The snoring in the shelter was unbelievable. After a few hours of tossing and turning, I took my bivy and marched some distance away to try to get some sleep.

Day broke shortly thereafter. We ate our breakfast, topped off our water bottles, and bid adieu to our new friend. He was nice enough to get a group photo of our trio.

Heading out from the Rausch Gap Shelter.
Heading out from the Rausch Gap Shelter.

The skies were gloomy, and it began to drizzle as we climbed Second Mountain. A V of some sort of white geese or swans flew overhead.

A "V" of white geese flew over us near the top of second mountain.
A “V” of white geese flew over us near the top of second mountain.

As we neared the Swatara Gap, the trail opened up, and so did the skies.

After the descent into Swatara Gap, the trail opened up a bit
After the descent into Swatara Gap, the trail opened up a bit

Without trees for cover, we started to get wet. I considered donning my rain gear, but ultimately decided against it. Without it, I would be cold, wet, and miserable. With it, I would be hot, sweaty, wet, and miserable.

Klinutus avoided this conundrum by deploying an umbrella. This looked highly ridiculous, but actually seemed to work pretty well.

Klinutus with his Backpacking Umbrella
Klinutus with his Backpacking Umbrella

We walked the last few miles down the Swatara Rail Trail into Lickdale, where we feasted on Wendy’s Cheeseburgers and waited for our ride.

Here is the map of our adventure.

Here are some more pictures from day 2.