Saturday, December 20, 2014

HST Hike: Scotts Run Lake to Northside Road

..... and UP to Critter hill. That is significant after a 9 mile hike.

Today's hike started at Scotts Run Lake at French Creek State Park (the start and finish of last year's MLC 50 SOS). On the way there I picked up Alexis at her house which is very near our planned end point. We left my car at Scotts Run Lake and began the hike back to Northside Road. Today was a gray December day; temps in the low 30s and cloudy. I had propped my sunglasses on top of my hat before leaving but never put them on during the hike. Despite the gray the hike was anything but dreary. I enjoyed the chance to catch up with Alexis and be out on the trails. I did not get out last weekend. I had to work on Saturday and had family stuff and errands to do on Sunday. I did nothing at all during this week either and I did wonder if 9 miles was too ambitious. But I'm home now (duh) had a shower and I feel pretty good. And even after the hour long ride home getting out of the car was not bad. I could tell I had hiked but did not wobble (or fall down!)

The Horse-shoe trail takes off from Scott Run Lake by going across the lake then taking a large counter clockwise loop in the woods around the edges of the park on the other side of the lake. You can see the map my Garmin drew here. After passing along Hopewell lake the trail enters into Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site. If you look closely at the Garmin map you can see the blip of a detour we took to visit the restrooms at the visitor center and have a snack. It was here that we encountered some runners who commented on the thoroughness of the blaze orange we both wore. The runners had some flashes of it but not full coverage. I commented that we were not moving as fast as they were. They laughed but I felt like they wished they were wearing more. We did not encounter any hunters directly this time but we could hear the gunshots at different times today.

After Hopewell the trail is mostly in woods again except for a gravel road section called Green Lane. It was on Green Lane that we saw a pile of junk. It wasn't garbage trash but rather personal belongings of sorts. I thought it looked like someone had moved recently and didn't have room in their new place so they dumped the stuff. Whatever the reason it's wrong and sad. Alexis found an address on something in the pile and planned to report it to the park office when we got back.

Photo does not do Alexis'
driveway justice. It winds and
climbs quite a bit
We reached Northside Road and headed for Alexis' house. She and her family live on a hill.To get to the house from the street one must climb a long winding driveway. A cruel joke after a long hike after about 10 days of inactivity. This was the only part of today's miles that I felt out of breath. Alexis runs this for hill-work. I'm very much in awe of her!

According to the guide book it's about 9 trail miles from Scotts Run to Northside Road. My Garmin and Alexis' Strava app on her phone were about a mile apart most of  the way. My guess is that reality is somewhere in between.I left the Garmin running during the stop at Hopewell and still we averaged a really good pace. A great day on the trails and now I have to try to keep some workout momentum going.

With today's section I've completed just under 40 miles of the HST from Valley Forge to French Creek State Park. Only 100 or so more to go! :)

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