Saturday, April 29, 2017

Conestoga Trail; Kelly's Run Preserve to Pinnacle

Today I did the hike you see mapped here, with two exceptions. I went in the reverse direction (counterclockwise) and I went up and back on Conestoga Trail (Orange) rather than using the white Pinnacle Trail. I tried to ascend on the Pinnacle Trail but it was not well marked and there were lots of intersections. When the path was reduced to one foot in front of the other width I turned around and went back down.

Last night about 4 something a thunderstorm rolled through. It was spectacular in its pulsating lightening and odd in that it was moving East to West. When I left the house at just past 7 am the air was still thick with moisture and it smelled deliciously of spring. The smells were intensified by the recent rain - even the familiar odor of mushrooms and horses that is southern Chester County.

I arrived at Holtwood Park about 8:30. I'm thankful that you can now park there. For much of 2015-2016 the park was closed to all after it was purchased by PPL. The park is still closed but at least they allow parking to access the trail.

I had an fantastic time. I was alone in that I didn't have any regular hiking buddies with me. However, I leap-frogged a group of about a dozen "young men" who I'm guessing were 12-15. They were accompanied by two adults a man and a woman. I heard one of the them ask the woman "Did you always want to be a counselor". I'm guessing they were a church or school group. The boys were noisy but not obnoxiously so and very polite.They never treated me like the old woman that I am but as we descended a particularly rocky section of the Conestoga Trail, a few of them waited at the bottom - just barely concealing the fact that they wanted to make sure that I made it ok. At the end "our" hike several came up to me at my car to ask if I had a good day. One of them made me laugh when he argued with the counselors about going to sit in the picnic pavilion while they waited for some stragglers. "But the sign says...." (see above) He was right but there wasn't anyone around to care.

Today I felt validated in my decision to spend the extra money on collapsible trekking poles. The Conestoga Trail here is very rocky I needed both hands in some places to help me up. The poles were useless and in the way.

This does not look all that daunting in the photo but I had trouble finding good toe holds. It didn't help that the rocks were also slippery from the rain. I tried several times and just did not feel stable enough. I almost turned around and went back to my car. But I knew if I did I would be miserable. I ended up going up backwards. I felt much more secure digging my heals in and sliding up on my butt. It wasn't pretty but it got the job done. And fortunately this was one of the spots where I was alone.

The climb up was hard but the view at the top was worth it.

This was my view as I ate my lunch. The church/school group was behind me looking for snakes. I'm pleased to say they did not find any. They did find a turtle. It started to drizzle so we all started back down then.

More photos on my Facebook Page

Saturday, March 25, 2017

A Tour of Media, PA

It's been well over a month since I've had any significant walking/hiking activity. It's been a rough start to 2017 and to top it off both Dave and I got the flu crud. We are just now getting back to feeling like humans again.

Last night I got 6 hour of uninterrupted sleep - a first in over a month. My cabin fever inner 12 year old wanted to go for an all day excursion today. The adult me put a quick stop to that and I settled upon a walking tour of Media. I've lived here for 25+ years. I've been aware of the walking tour and more or less aware of many of the historic buildings in our town but I've never officially followed the tour.

The map is not drawn to scale (that's fairly obvious I suppose) and the numbered locations are not consistent. For example, number 17 and 18 are on opposite sides of the map street but are in fact on the same side of the street in real life. So one must pay attention to the narrative and use some common sense as you navigate the map. Oh and watch out for tripping hazards

The tour narrative is a bit outdated. For example, they list this as the current borough hall .

But locals know that the borough hall moved to 3rd and Jackson quite a few years ago. This building is now Spazzo's and has been at least two other restaurants in between.

For more photos visit my blog's public Facebook album

All told I was out for about and hour and a half. Allowing for photo taking and plague reading I'd say it was about 4 miles. It felt good and I made it home before the rain.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Leiper Smedley Crum Creek Trails Loop 2-5-17

Today it was slightly warmer than yesterday and there was more clouds than sun. I could feel sweat today. Yesterday it was too cold for that.

I started today at Smedley Park at the Leiper Smedley trail head. I still wasn't in an out and back mood. Honestly I rarely am. Unless my time is limited I much prefer to do loop walks or hikes. It was easy to make today's walk a loop by picking up the Crum Creek Trail for the return to Smedley Park. Click here for a Crum Creek Trail map. Page two of the pdf is the trail map. The red line shows part of the Lieper Smedley Trail. My start was off the map to the left. The yellow line is the Crum Creek Trail.

The LP part of the hike is easy to follow. It's paved all the way from Baltimore Pike to Avondale road. The CC part was more challenging since it is not blazed. I've tried the CC trail before from the Plush Mill road end and got lost shortly after the trolley tracks. I ended up on side trail and onto the Swarthmore College Campus. The entrance of the trail from Avondale road is not all that clear although I could see efforts being made to make it more clear. Trees have been planted along both sides of what should be the trail. Once you get past the apartment building on Yale Avenue it becomes more obvious on its own.

The loop is an interesting contrast of urban hiking. The LP trail follows the Blue Route and the CC trail the creek. You can hear traffic the whole way. I saw few running groups and two dog walkers along the way. These photos show the to sides of this loop.

The most annoying part of the loop is walking back up the hill on Plush Mill Road after leaving the CC trail to get back to LP to get back to the car. However, despite having no blazes anywhere between Yale Ave and Plush Mill Road there were two sets of blazes on Plush Mill road that seemed to indicate the trail continues on the other side of Plush Mill. I'm guessing it continues along the creek then under Baltimore Pike into Smedley Park. That'd be awesome if it does. I'll have to check that out another time.

Judging by time I estimate this loop was about 5 maybe 5.5 miles.

Keep Smiling and Keep Moving

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Valley Forge National Historical Park 2-4-17

First there is Plan A, then B and C and then there is what you actually do.

Plan A was a section hike on the Horseshoe Trail - approximately 7 miles from Valley Forge to the Great Valley Nature Center. I posted the hike on Facebook on Thursday. There were a few nibbles but by 7 am on this morning I knew I was going to hike solo today. No worries. I don't mind that but without nearby public transportation or until someone perfects beaming technology (yes I do believe they are working on it) it's impossible to do a one way hike with just yourself.

As I drove to Knox Headquarter parking lot at Valley Forge I halfheartedly thought about Plan B. To go out on the Horseshoe Trail for about an hour then turn around and go back. But I really wasn't in the mood for out an back today. Plan B lasted only a few minutes in my head.

By the time I arrived at the parking lot, Plan C had taken a strong hold. I'd wander around Mount Misery and Joy. I've done a loop there many times and would take advantage of the side trails both have to offer along the way.

Shortly after 8 am I headed up the path to the Mount Joy trail but instead of going on the trail I continued to climb in search of the site of the old observation tower. I wandered up and down "Pete White" trails between the top and the "official" Mount Joy trail finally settling on wandering around the top and down the other side. I ended up at Redoubt 3. Now I was heading away from Mount Misery in the general direction of the Visitor's Center. I did not want to retrace my steps. (Remember the plan B fade away). I also couldn't spend much time on pavement because my hiking shoes are unforgiving there. So this is where Plan C officially fell apart.

I took advantage of the horse trails and made my way cross country toward the Chapel. This was not a straight line by any means. I didn't have my Garmin. The battery won't hold a charge and I really don't care much about pace or distance anymore. However, it would have been interesting to see the path I drew with my feet today.

Once at the Chapel I picked up the Chapel Trail along the railroad and river and made my way back toward Washington's Headquarters. From there I crossed 23 and took the Valley Creek Trail back to my car. All told I was out for just shy of 3 hours. I think one could easily make a day of it at Valley Forge without hitting too much pavement. That may be a challenge for another day. :)

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Middle Creek Wildlife Area 1-28-17

Today I saw SNOW, worked the SPELLING BEE and went on a HIKE with nieces and nephew. How awesome is that?

The snow began as I left my house and headed to Lancaster County for the spelling bee. The snow turned to big fat flurries as I headed West.

The Spelling Bee - my 6th - was as much fun as ever. We had 13 spellers this year and it took 28 rounds to declare a winner. I managed not to stumble on any words although I took some longer pauses before a  few with three or more syllables to make sure I didn't stumble. The bee ended just before the word prestidigitation. Thank goodness! :)

After the bee we went to my brother's house for a delicious lunch, fun conversation and a new game. And then Amy, Cara, Kim, Robbie and I changed clothes and went to Middle Creek Wildlife Area for a hike. Bippy was invited to the Fulton Theater to see a play. I was super excited to hike with my nieces and nephew with the added bonus that this was a new hike location for me. And one I have wanted to visit.

Things heard on the trail today --
"I know the trail is here somewhere" (Not the thing you want to hear from your hike leader)
"I can't believe we have to walk to our walk" (dripping with sarcasm and eye roll)

It was a great day. I can't wait to hike with this gang again.