Sunday, October 23, 2016

Endless Mountain Nature Center and Howland Preserve, PA


ABOUT THE PARKS:
Endless Mountain Nature Center - Endless Nature
The Howland Preserve - North Branch Land Trust
The Howland Preserve - The Friends of the Howland Preserve

DIRECTIONS:
GPS Coordinates 41.53402, -76.02873
Parking in front of the nature center.

TRAIL MAPS:
At this time it is still a work in progress (the Howland Preserve part) but eventually all of these trails will connect.
Endless Mountain Nature Center - Endless Nature
The Howland Preserve -  North Branch Land Trust  (Do NOT use this map - it is the one I had and it is very outdated.)
The Howland Preserve - The Friends of the Howland Preserve (Use THIS map - wish I would have found it before I went!)
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HIKE DISTANCE:  8.25 miles
Hiked together with Little Rocky Glen - .65 miles (17.4 miles away right off of US-6 East)

THE HIKE:
I spend hours poring over Jeff Mitchell's book, "Hiking the Endless Mountains" to find an appropriate trail for Shawnee.  Turns out that floods washed away roads leading to my first two choices.  This one was my third choice but it was a good one.  The trails were perfect for Shawnee.  The only slight disappointment was that the foliage was mostly pretty much done when according to foliage maps, it should have not been almost peak, not past peak.  But it was still very pretty.  On the drive in, most areas had no leaves on the trees at all already.
The door to the screened-in porch on the left is open, that is where you go to sign in.  We started on the red trail to the right of the nature center.
Sign-in area inside the screened porch.
The resident red-tailed hawk,
Because the trails are on a religious camp, all trails have religious names.  Trails are very well-blazed and each trail has a nice sign like this one.
Looking back down the red trail towards the nature center.
Staying on red passing Gospel's Trail.
A sheltered mushroom.
Staying on red passing Apostles Trail.
We took the Road to Emmaus.
Then Noah's Trail...
... to Gospel's Trail.
A picnic/shelter area on Gospel's Trail where we took a break.
Lots of Downy woodpeckers chattering up above.
Continuing on Gospel's Trail, right on red-blazed Trail of Peace then at the end a jog right then left to ...
David's Trail
Thank goodness that blow down was cleared!
Lots of stone walls throughout.
At the end of David's Trail we continued straight on the green-blazed Noah's Trail.
At a T-intersecion, right on Trail to the Mount.
A turkey also heading in our direction to the Mount.
At the overlook.
The Susquehanna River and Pennsylvania farmland.
During her power nap I was able to move around by the cliffs for pictures.
Then we went in search of the connection to Howland Preserve which was supposed to be there and we found it!  Since it looked like the Vista Trail was a loop, I figured we would end up back here.  We did not.  But that is because I did not have the updated map at the time. Had I known how the trail played out, we would have returned to this point.
The Vista Trail is so new that it is not yet blazed rather marked with orange streamers.  It is, however, completely cleared and easy to follow.  It was narrower than the trails we had just been on and a little more challenging for the wheelchair but other than a few too narrow spots that we managed to work around, it was a gorgeous trail.
A stone wall with a fancy topper.
All the downed trees were cut so it made for easy going.
Oops.  This required a small detour.
The trail switchbacks nicely down the steep mountainside.
One bonus of so many leaves down is some views along the way.
At the bottom of the switchback the trail levels and widens ...
... coming out on a mowed field.
Looking back at the start of the trail as we ...
... came out to the road we had driven in on.  The mowed path continues along the road.
Cross over at private property and head towards the red barn.  (The continuation of the vista trail is actually down around that big evergreen tree on the right but you wouldn't know that without the updated map as there are no signs after the mowed path.)
Behind the red barn, a kiosk (with an updated map that I did not notice), a picnic table and a porta potty.  While I was visiting one of those three in a record 15 seconds with Shawnee tied to my backpack...
... I returned to find her hog tied and cavorting with a young 9-month-old pup that had run over from his house.  Shawnee loves other dogs but no longer has any patience for the youngsters.  I was quite shocked to find her taking him up on a friendly game of bitey face.
We continued on down the gravel road towards the river.
Passing the Canal Trail on the right.
Susquehanna River
Here is sort of where we started going wrong.  Took the River Trail thinking it was going to meet up with the yellow trail in the Endless Mountain Nature Center as their web site had stated there would be a connection to the yellow trail.  I should have checked my GPS because I was MUCH farther away than half a mile.
The trail follows along the Susquehanna River but thorny vines block the way at times and it is TICK INFESTED!  Shawnee and I were covered in them so I had to spray OFF on myself and hope her K-9 Advantix would kick in and kill the buggers, which it seems to have since I have not seen any on her since we got home.  I probably plucked a good 30 ticks off of each of us.
Time for another break at the bench.  In retrospect, we should have turned back here and tried to find the other side of the Vista Trail.  But...
... still thinking that just through this mass of thorny vines we would hit the yellow trail ...
... we ended up in somebody's back yard.  No was I going back through those thorns and ticks so I apologize to the property owners, but we cut through their yard to get to ...
... the road.
A little farther along the road is a hunting access so I thought with it being Sunday and nobody hunting, I would see if that connected over to the Nature Center trails.
It looked promising...
... but the grassy woods road fizzled out.  There were more orange streamers and I saw later when I found the map that a trail is in the works here but as it did not yet exist, back to the road for us.                    
A little view along the way.
Back on the road.
Just past the entrance to Camp Lackawanna and the Endless Mountain Nature Center ...
... we went left on the gravel road which met up with ...
... the yellow trail.  There is, in fact, a trail (Eagle Trail) that is supposed to meet up with this trail on the map but I did not see it so it is probably still a work in progress.
Back at the Susquehanna River.
We were going to do the Trail of Blessings Loop before finishing but it looked very overgrown and went through a nasty looking stretch of water so we turned back.
The Road to Bethlehem back to our car.
Driving out I saw where the Vista Trail picked back up across the street from that red barn.

5 comments:

  1. Beautiful hike. I see from your Rahway River hike that you live in the area where I grew up. I'm glad to see Shawnee keepin' on keepin' on.

    Dave

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  2. Glad that you seem to have found all the ticks. I had Lyme in 2005. It was like having the flu but it was the summer when the flu seldom happens. I was lucky to catch it in time before it could do more damage. Glad to see Shawnee was able to make that short hike without the wheels.
    Bill from Clifton

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