Saturday, September 15, 2012

Eales Preserve at Moosic Mountain, PA


ABOUT THE PARK:
Dick and Nancy Eales Preserve at Moosic Mountain - The Nature Conservancy
Knowing this, it is on your mind throughout the entire hike.
DIRECTIONS:
GPS Coordinates 41.438490, -75.540975

View Larger Map
Lots of parking before the gate.

TRAIL MAP:
Trail Map of the Dick and Nancy Eales Preserve - The Nature Conservancy (this map does not show the complete Blueberry Trail - the picture of the map in the kiosk, below,  is updated)
National Geographic Topo Map - Bikerag.com (a topo map of most of the trails, not all)

I found it very helpful to have both of the above maps along as I referred to each of them often.  The bikerag.com map names the old business park roads which is helpful in describing the hike. Trails are mostly unblazed, although very well defined and well marked with cairns in open areas.  Intersections are not always marked so it is sometime difficult to pinpoint exactly where you are, mainly in the northern section.  I only point this out to show where I experienced some confusion that I can now clarify having been there, certainly not to criticize and by no means complaining!  The trails are outstanding, very well cut, easy to follow and take full advantage of the views.  It is still a work in progress since this is a fairly new preserve.
This map shows the continuation of the Blueberry Trail, which the online map does not.

HIKE DISTANCE:
11.95 miles with 8.95 and 9.15 mile options - lots of ways to make shorter loops

THE HIKE:
Start by walking around the gate...
... to the kiosks - worth a read before starting to better understand what you see along the way.
A few steps beyond the kiosks, turn right on the Blueberry Trail.
Looking down on the kiosks from the Blueberry Trail.
Views all along the Blueberry Trail.
The views become more panoramic and eventually shift from west to east.
There is full exposure all along this trail but a black cloud came over us so it was actually windy and chilly.  I have shown my dog in more of the pictures to put the size of the vegetation into perspective.  That is a Pet's Eye View Camera on her collar.  She took her own pictures...
... a dog's view of the Blueberry Trail.

The trail goes through a tree.
After crossing a power cut, the Blueberry Trail becomes more wooded.
A black-capped chickadee against some early fall foliage.
Another one trying to hike behind some twigs.  There were all kinds of birds along this hike but there two were the only ones I managed to get shots of.
The Blueberry Trail comes to an end at a triangle intersection with three blue marker on trees on the right.  There are no signs here but this should be the Water Fall Loop.  Left would go back to the power cut, right continues on the the falls and the White Birches Trail.
The Water Fall Loop Trail is the only blazed trail I encountered.  It is mostly blazed white with a blue circle...
... sometimes just a white blaze.
The Water Falls Trail goes through pretty woods and often follows along a creek although the creek was bone dry at this time.
Things get confusing around this sign.  There are 3 trails at this intersection and I completely missed the trail to the waterfalls because the White Birches Trail plays into this and with no further signage it was hard to figure out which trail I was on - I did not piece it all together until after the fact.  But I doubt there were any falls since the creek was dry.
The trail goes into a little hemlock ravine and it is in this area where the turn is to the waterfalls is that I missed not realizing that is where the trail I saw went. 
In the power cut which is also the High Voltage Trail before it leaves to the right to loop around and return to the power cut.
UGH!  Fast way to put a damper on an otherwise lovely hike - the noise and the stench of gasoline - what is the attraction?  Fortunately it was only that one encounter in the power cut.
Found a lovely break spot on the High Voltage Trail to the right of the power cut.
Continuing down the power cut, a sign post shows the start of Gene's Trail on the left.
This was the only sign indicating I had been on the High Voltage Trail.  There was no sign coming off of the Water Fall Trail on to the power cut.
Gene's Trail starts off as a descending gravel road before a trail crosses over; that is the left turn to leave the gravel road and resume trail hiking.
I found that any time the trail crosses over rock slabs there are several well-placed rock cairns to guide the way.
A bog to the right of the trail.
Coming up on O'Conner Reservoir.
Growth on a dead tree stump in the reservoir.
The trail circles almost completely around.
Reservoir Dam
Gene's Trail ends at one of the old business park roads, referred to as "First Ave" on the bikerag.com map.  There is an alternate parking area to the right.  Turn left and follow First Ave for 3/4 of a mile back to the main parking area, or turn left briefly...
... then right on the Bruised Ego Trail for more trail hiking.  From this point forward intersection signage was much better.
There is a fork along the Bruised Ego Trail where taking a left brings you out to First Ave well before the Conglomerate Trail.  Keep right and the next time the Bruised Ego Trail comes out on Roman Road, it is the end of that trail.  Turn right on First Ave to shorten the hike or turn right then left at the sign to pick up the Conglomerate Trail to The View and Stonehenge.
More areas of full exposure to hike though.
The trail passes through another tree!
Views from The View Trail
Stonehenge
An old business park road, referred to as "3rd Ave" on the Bikerag map, connects over to another business park road, "Main Street" which leads directly back to the parking lot.
A tired dog taking a break at the intersection of 3rd and Main.
The views from Main Street heading back to the parking area.
This old business park road is not pleasant to walk on since it is covered with large chunks of crushed stone but fortunately, there is a footpath running parallel to the left of Main Street - nice!
A straight shot along Main Street back to the car.

HIKE SUMMARY:
[  0.00]  Walk beyond gate towards kiosk
[  0.10]  Turn right on the Blueberry Trail at the sign
[  0.85]  Blueberry Trail skirts wooded area, turns left, becomes wider and crosses gravel road
[  1.20]  Keep straight on footpath through multi-lane gravel road crossing
[  1.50]  Keep left at fork (unmarked - trail to right is not as well defined)
[  1.75]  Cross gravel road at cairn
[  1.95]  Cross over gravel road straight towards views on wider path; at cairn turn right on footpath
[  2.05]  Cross straight over power cut and pick up footpath to left of yellow gate
[  2.35]  End of Blueberry Trail at triangle intersection, turn right at 3 trees with blue paint on to the Water Fall Loop blazed with blue dot on white and sometimes white blazes (no signs at intersection)
[  2.45]  Keep left when a faint trail forks to the right
[  2.50]  Keep left when a faint trail forks to the right
[  3.20]  Trail runs next to creek (currently dry)
[  3.45]  Turn right on White Birches Trail (not marked but there is a blue dot on white blaze on the tree on the left side of the trail right at the turn.
[  3.95]  Look for trail on the right to waterfalls - this is the part I missed so it is not included in the mileage.  There are no signs but at this turn it would be the end of the White Birches Trail turning on to the Water Fall Trail which should loop around, cross a small hemlock gorge and come out at a 3-way intersection with a sign that says "Water Fall Loop"
[  4.10]  At "Water Fall Loop" sign, turn right
[  4.40]  Blazes become blue and trail is running parallel to power cut - not sure if this is still the Water Fall Trail or the High Voltage Trail
[  4.50]  Turn right in power cut (would now be High Voltage Trail - no signs)
[  4.70]  Keep straight on power cut road at yellow trail post (turn here for views from the High Voltage Trail which would probably add about half a mile - I just went out a short distance for a break and back not knowing it looped around at the time, mileage not included here
[  4.75]  Other end of High Voltage Trail on right
[  4.85]  Keep with power cut road as it veers right and descends
[  4.90]  Turn left on gravel road at Gene's Trail sign post
[  5.15]  Turn left on footpath that crosses over gravel road
[  6.05]  Bog on right
[  6.45]  At T-intersection turn left to loop around O'Connor Reservoir (at yellow trail post with arrow)
[  6.80]  Keep straight through fire rings with dam on right towards yellow trail post to resume on trail
[  8.05]  Turn left on gravel road (First Ave on bikerag.com map)*** with gate for alternate parking to the right, after a few steps turn right on the Bruised Ego Trail
                     *** Keep straight on First Ave for .75 miles then right at intersection
                          with another gravel road (Main Street on bikerag.com map) back to
                          parking for 8.95 mile hike
[  8.25]  Keep right at fork (left goes back to gravel First Ave)
[  8.85]  Turn right on First Ave*** then left at sign for Conglomerate Trail
                     *** Keep straight on First Ave for .15 miles then right at intersection
                          with another gravel road (Main Street on bikerag.com map) back to
                          parking for 9.15 mile hike
[  8.95]  Left at fork at Conglomerate Trail wooden post sign
[  9.35]  Left on Stonehenge Trail when Conglomerate Trail goes right (trail names on signs)
[  9.65]  Turn left on Stonehenge Trail when Tupelo Lool goes right (trail names on signs)
[10.00]  Keep straight when overgrown footpath leaves to the right at cairn and yellow trail marker
[10.05]  Turn left on The View Trail when the Stonehenge Trail goes straight (trail names on signs)
[10.55]  Left on Stonehenge Trail at the end of The View Trail (trail names on signs)
[10.60]  Stonehenge
[10.90]  At the sign and arrow indicating to stay left for the Stonehenge Trail, turn right instead then left on wide grassy road and follow "3rd Ave" as shown on bikerag.com map
[11.15]  Turn right on Main Street at yellow trail post (look for footpath to follow along on left side for easier walking)
[11.40]  Keep straight when gravel/grassy road crosses over
[11.75]  Footpath merges back with gravel road
[11.80]  Keep straight at intersection with First Ave
[11.85]  Blueberry Trail on left, kiosks on the right
[11.95]  Back at parking

7 comments:

  1. Another awesome hike!! Loved these pictures- it is hard to believe this is not northen Maine, or an arctic tundra like place somewhere far away! I don't think we will make it that far to hike- but it is one of my favourite ones that I have seen- maybe one day!!

    We did the Pa SGL 38 that you posted last week....fabulous hike. Scenery was lovely, loved the open trails and lakes. We did not follow exactly your route- we (myself and 3 dogs) headed out on the main paths(logging trails?) and amazingly we could see them on Google Earth- so we cheated and just made a really nice 3 hr hike following them on the Google- almost as the map you posted.
    We also went through an area that hsd been control burned, and was acres and acres of ferns (and a few tree) as far as you could see- almost like a heath land- it reminded me of some parts of England where I grew up.
    Thanks for posting it- we will go back to this one again for sure!!

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    Replies
    1. Glad you made it out to SGL 38 and that you liked it! Moosic Mountain is only another half hour more of driving. Maybe you'll make it out there someday. It's definitely worth the trip.

      Daniela

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  2. Thank you- I didn't realise it wasn't that much further!! We'll try to get there before its too cold- it looks like it could get very bleak up there!!

    We are off to Indiana to sheep herd and see Brown County State Park in a couple weeks, so I do hope I can get up there this year!!

    Happy Hikes

    Lesley and Elsie

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  3. This is very close to where I live. This link is to photos I took on the blueberry trail last week.
    Amanda
    http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3965943311645.2143850.1372276853&type=1&l=7365f514dd

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    Replies
    1. Nice pictures! Thanks for sharing. Amazing how fast everything changes in the fall - looks altogether different than when I was there and that wasn't all that long ago.

      Daniela

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  4. Thanks for the great site! Its a terrific resource for me and my dog. The Blueberry trail reminds me of one of my favorites - Dolly Sods in WV.

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Mike. I loved that hike and just looked back at what the date was that I hiked it - 9/15. I remember how FREEZING cold and windy it was up there on the Blueberry Trail when I started first thing in the morning!

      Daniela

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