Saturday, June 15, 2019

Kinzua Bridge State Park, PA


ABOUT THE PARK:
Kinzua Bridge State Park - Pennsylvania DCNR

DIRECTIONS:
GPS Coordinates 41.759449, -78.586946
I had intended to park at the General Kane trailhead, which is overflow parking, and make a 3-mile continuous hike out of the available trails but because it kept raining, I decided to do the skywalk first and they see if I could work in the General Kane Trail later.  So this is the main parking lot at the visitor center.

TRAIL MAP:
Kinzua Bridge State Park Trail Map - Pennsylvania DCNR
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Both tracks together showing the connecting trail that can be used to make it one hike.

HIKE DISTANCE:
Skywalk and Kinzua Creek Trail - 1.6 miles
General Kane Trail - 1.2 miles

THE HIKE:
It had rained on the drive in but stopped just as we arrived to off so the skywalk first to get that in.
I had read that if you are afraid of heights that there is no way you can go out on the skywalk.  I am here to tell you, as someone terribly afraid of heights, that it is totally not true.  With the beefy railing, I was completely OK with it.
I was even able to look over the edge to take pictures of the Kinzua Creek Trail down below without getting weak in the knees.
The glass floor at the end didn't bother us either but then it's very foggy and not at all clear glass so that could be why.
View from the end of the skywalk.
Heading back.
After looping back around to my car to grab a new camera battery, stopping at the observation platform on the way to the Kinzua Creek Trail.  Rain still holding off.
The end of the skywalk where we were previously.
Now down the steep stone steps that we will have to climb back up on later.
Just as we hit the trail at the bottom of the steps, the rain caught up with us.  I had taken an umbrella since it was short and so I could still take pictures and not get the camera wet.  Plus the umbrella served as a trekking pole on the way back up.  When it wasn't raining, that is.
Bridge over ...
Kinzua Ceek
There are no trespassing signs everywhere.  Per DCNR: "Due to unsafe conditions in the area of the downed towers, visitors are prohibited from walking under the skywalk and in the surrounding area as indicated on the map."
Yet there are people with their CHILDREN in the forbidden zone teaching them rules don't apply.  This is how places get closed down to the public.  Unbelievable.
Heading back up.  And it really wasn't as bad as I thought it would be.
This is an authorized view under the skywalk near the top of the Kinzua Creek Trail.
The rain had stopped so we drove on over to the General Kane Trail at the overflow parking lot.
The General Kane Trail is flat and easy alternating between mowed grass and woods road.
And here comes the rain again.
Back at the car.
Just as we left, rain started coming down hard and it rained all the way to ...
... the motel in Youngstown, Ohio.

Moshannon State Forest, PA - Teaberry Loop and Marion Brook Trail


ABOUT THE PARK:
Moshannon State Forest - Pennsylvania DCNR

IRECTIONS:
GPS Coordinates 41.261322, -78.258223
Parking at Beaver Run Dam

TRAIL MAP:
Moshannon State Forest Public Use Map - Pennsylvania DCNR
The DCNR map is very hard to read.  A better choice would be ...
 Moshannon-Quehanna Purple Lizard Map - Purple Lizard Maps

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HIKE DISTANCE:
6.5 miles, 6 miles without the wrong turn I made

THE HIKE:
This is the first of our hikes to break up the drive from New Jersey to Missouri.  I had only seen this hike done in a counter clockwise direction which puts the views at the beginning of the hike.  I hiked clockwise to have the views at the end,  Little did I know that would also put the climb down into and back up out of a gorge at the end.  But it did save the very best for last.
Starting on the mowed trail to the right of the kiosk.
Coming up on a wildlife blind overlooking ...
... Beaver Run Shallow Water Impoundment with no wildlife to be seen.
Continuing on a trail to the left of the wildlife blind ...
... to a left at a blue blaze ...
... to a right on a gravel road.
Crossing the dam ...
... with a rock hop over the outlet.
The trail becomes a woods road, pretty muddy at times but there has been an unusual amount of rain.
Some parts of the trail through this section have become somewhat overgrown in all that rain.
Looking back at the Beaver Run Shallow Water Impoundment.
The trail alternates between grassy ...
... woods roads and forest paths.
Maybe it's just me but I found the direction signs very confusing.  Fortunately I had loaded someone else's track from Gaia on to my phone so I could tell which way to go.  It was a right at the trail register.
Beautiful forests throughout.
???  Straight here.
Crossing Quehanna Highway (Que. Hwy on the post)
I would say that's some coyote scat.
Mountain Laurel everywhere!
We hadn't been on the Teaberry Loop Trail very long when I happened to glance up ahead to see ...
... smack in the middle of the trail ahead of us! 
The porcupine went ahead of us on the trail and we followed from a safe distance behind her.  But every so often she would stop and turn and head back towards us.  Oh.  No.  Then she would turn and start hiking ahead of us again.  Mind you Brodie was going 10 kinds of crazy at this point.  I thought she might get off the trail and go up a tree but no, we were at a standoff.
We came to a bend in the trail where she stopped.  The vegetation was sparse enough that we were able to bushwhack to the right and come out on  the other side of the bend ahead of her.  As soon as we were off the trail and she saw what we were doing, she turned and headed back the way we had come.  I think that was the direction she was originally headed in and it wasn't the porcupine who blocked our path, we had blocked her path! 
Continuing on our way without the porcupine.
First of three overlooks - maybe there is more to see in the winter but not in the summer.
There were people at the second overlook (the only others we saw the entire hike) but it looked like there wasn't much to see there either so we continued on,
I had checked the track on my GPS at this intersection and it looked like right was the way to go ...
Oops!  Wrong way.
We retraced and too the left turn at that intersection.
The trail switchbacks down ...
... into a beautiful hemlock gorge with little waterfalls.
Break spot!
After rock hopping over, the trail follows scenic Paige Run.
Climbing up out of the gorge, the third overlook.
Common Yellowthroat
I didn't see the rattlesnake.  Maybe I should have added a porcupine warning.
Crossing back over Quehanna Highway.
This section of trail gets a little overgrown and swampy - also perhaps due to the unusual amount of rain.
Back at the parking lot.
Now on to the second hike of the day on our trip to St. Louis.