Thursday, December 10, 2015

Hiking Summer 2015 - Part 2

If I haven't said it before, dear random strangers, I will say it again, Pennsylvania is a beautiful state for parks. This year we had the pleasure of visiting more beautiful parks, hiking areas and this was our experiences with them.

Swatara State Park
We made it out to Swatara State Park for the 4th of July weekend, and accidentally hiked 8 miles. We picked this park because we wanted to do a section of the Appalachian Trail. Roger and I didn't talk about how long we would hike. We ended up parking in the middle of the park, because we missed the official entrance to the park, the one with bathrooms. When we got to the unofficial parking lot and saw that the bathroom was in the other side of the park, we had no other option but to hike there. The trail was a mix of pebble rock wide trails and part of an abandoned road. We found many people there on their bikes, well more people on their bikes than hiking. The park was beautiful, the abandoned road had a ghostly, yet homey feel to it.



4 hiking miles later we found the bathroom, and were faced with deciding on hiking back the exact same route we had just done, or go around to the AT and back to the car. Either way, our car was 4 miles away. We found the Appalachian Trail and hiked the 1 mile back to the other entrance of the park. This section was more rugged than the rest of the park, and made for some excellent scenery and muddy tracks.

We found a tree cave, the picture doesn't do it justice.


Blurry picture of an amazing trail.


 

Gettysburg PA

We did Gettysburg completely different than any other hiking trips, but it was quite an awesome experience and we did a lot of walking and climbing, so I'm counting it as a hiking trip.

We went to Gettysburg in July 2015, we had planned to hike to some of the spots, until we realized that 1. It was very hot, temps in the 90s and 2. The monuments were miles away from each other. We did a car tour of Gettysburg and hit about 75% of the monuments.

The first mandatory stop is at the Gettysburg Visitor Center. The stop there is mandatory to get the maps of where one can go and how we can get there.

The Gettysburg Visitor Center is a beautiful building, we checked out a few of the exhibits and took pictures of President Lincoln statue.



The monuments were a short drive away, we parked the car and walked around taking pictures.

We climbed to the top of a watching post, we got a great view of Gettysburg.





My favorite monument was the Pennsylvania Monument, also one of the biggest we saw.



Pennsylvania Monument


View from the top of the Pennsylvania Monument


We took a lunch break and enjoyed some ice cream, because we were steaming hot. I wish all hiking trips had access to ice cream.

Civil War Re-enactors giving a cannon demonstration



After lunch we checked out a few more monuments, including the Monument for the Confederate General, which was huge. On our way there, we saw a group of runners. We were blown away, it was still very hot, even as the sun was lowering, and very humid. We had a bottle of water in the car that we had not opened, and we offered it to the runners, they were not carrying a hydration pack or bottles of water, and we know what it's like to be running and not having water. They didn't take it, but we told them that if they changed their mind, we would be at the monument for at least 5 more minutes and to feel free to come back and grab the water.


Our stalker picture of the runners

 
French Creek State Park

This was such a beautiful park, We found it on the Pennsylvania Parks App. The park itself was beautiful and had a lot of trails, a pool, and a lake. The park was packed with people in picnics we hadn't seen a park that packed all summer! We hiked 3 miles and also walked to the historic site next to it, please forgive me, I don't remember that the place was called, only that there was a furnace.

I was very tired that day, not sure if it was the weather, or dehydration, but I did not enjoy this hike properly. I wanted to be sitting in an air conditioned room and watching TV, which is not like me at all, but again, I was very tired.

The lake and park were beautiful and I'm glad we took this trip.






We took one more visit to Pine Grove, because let's admit this right now, Pine Grove Furnace is awesome! We did 4 miles of slow and easy hiking.


1 comment:

  1. This is such a great post! I am always looking for new fun places to visit in PA and I'll have to add these to my list. My fiance's family is near Gettysburg so I'll have to go there soon :)

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