Wednesday, February 22, 2012

MST to Penn Roosevelt

I have written in a previous post about the State College section of the Mid-State Trail.  In January I decided to explore further.  I began where Little Shingletown Road (a gated road in Rothrock state forest) comes out at Laurel Run Road.  But this time I headed north on the trail (which, strangely, is almost directly east at this point).  The beginning segment of this trail seems to be along an old railroad grade from the logging days.

The trail goes through very forested areas and then comes out occasionally into more open areas that are thick with Mountain Laurel. It would be gorgeous in the summer when the blooms are out.

The trails toward the old fire tower and the area called the "Little Flat on Tussey Mountain".  The tower is now closed to visitors.  That's a shame because I'm guessing the view from the top is amazing.  After a bit the trail heads back along a very rocky ridge, just as it does heading south toward the Joe Hayes vista. The views over the nearby valleys and the Bear Meadows natural area are great. This seems like a great place to go in the fall when the leaves turn color.
My intention was to night hike for a few miles since it was going to be a full moon.  However the clouds obscured the moon around dusk and it got too dark to hike so I spent the night in my hammock up on this ridge.  The next morning I got back on the trail as it descended into two natural areas (Alan Seeger and Detweiler).  This area is totally different.  The trail follows a creek through a thick jungle of Giant Rhododendron.  Just a gorgeous area.

After leaving the creek the trail climbs over the ridge of what I believe is called Thickhead Mountain. On the other side the trail descends steeply into Penn Roosevelt state park. It's a small park with a little lake in the middle. I'd like to bring the family here someday.

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