Tag Archives: Tuscarora Trail

Tuscarora in Tuscarora Part 2

As part of my continuing quest to hike all 798 miles of the Pennsylvania State Forest Hiking Trails System, I drove out to the Tuscarora State Forest to pick up where I left off on the Tuscarora Trail.

Your author at the trail head
Your author at the trail head

My plan was to hike from Cowpens Road to Fenton Knob, and then turn around and hike back to the car.

The trailhead parking on Cowpen’s Road is next to a very nice overlook, so I stopped to take in the scenery.

A nice view of the Cumberland Valley
A nice view of the Cumberland Valley

The hike started on top of the mountain, so the first two miles or so were a gentle downhill to a small stream called Laurel Run. I stopped here to top off my water bottles.

The subsequent climb was ridiculous. Forward progress meant picking my way through a jumble of boulders, straight up the steep face of Sherman’s mountain. Also, the rocks were covered in slippery leaves, so it was one step forward, and half a step sliding backwards. Progress was slow.

The "trail" conditions climbing Sherman's mountain
The “trail” conditions climbing Sherman’s mountain

Once I made it up on top, the trail followed the ridge line of Sherman’s mountain for a little while. I stopped for a rest near the site of an old fire tower before descending into the next valley.

Sherman's Mountain Fire Tower Sign
Sherman’s Mountain Fire Tower Sign

By the time I arrived in the next valley, I was running low on water. I was disappointed to find a muddy swamp instead of a nice clear mountain stream. The only drinking water was full of frogs and tadpoles. Not a problem; I had my water filter, and so I pumped a fresh liter of swamp water, and stopped for a while to eat trail mix and contemplate the universe.

At this point, I had been walking for several hours and had not seen any other people. It was wonderful.

Contemplating philosophical questions by the swamp
Contemplating philosophical conundrums in swampy solitude

I didn’t make very much headway with my philosophical musings, so I strapped on my pack and continued hiking. After a quick up-and-down over a smaller ridge, I started the climb up to Fenton Knob.

This climb was almost comical. It was steeper, rockier, and leafier than Sherman’s Mountain. It was ridiculous.

After a great deal of grumbling and stumbling, cursing and complaining, I made it to the top!

This is the look of exasperated accomplishment
This is the look of exasperated accomplishment

Now, all I had to do was turn around, and walk back to my car. This meant descending the steep mountainside that I had just scrambled up, which is even trickier. I fell more than once, and ended up scooting part of the way down on my butt. I’m sure it looked silly, but better to look like a buffoon than to run the risk of turning an ankle in the middle of the woods all by my lonesome.

By the time I scooted my way back down to Laurel Run, I was in dire need of refreshment, so I fired up the ESBIT stove, and made a gigantic pot of coffee. Then I sat next to a little cascade in the stream, drank my coffee, and engaged in additional philosophical introspection.

I made a little video of the scene.

Isn’t it lovely?

After consuming a large quantity of coffee (and a considerable number of candy bars), my spirits were much improved. I walked the rest of the way back to the car without incident.

Here is a map of my adventure. (I GPS logged the whole thing for the greater glory of OpenStreetMap.)

[osm_map lat=”40.225″ lon=”-77.574″ zoom=”13″ width=”600″ height=”450″ type=”Ext” gpx_file=”/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/tuscarora.gpx” extmap_address=”http://a.tile.thunderforest.com/outdoors/${z}/${x}/${y}.png” extmap_init=”numZoomLevels: 17, transitionEffect: ‘resize’, sphericalMercator: true” extmap_type=”OSM” extmap_name=”Outdoor”]

Tuscarora in Tuscarora: Part 1

My recent trip on the AT has re-igniting my interest in hiking. I decided to take advantage of this unexpected gust of motivation, and try to log some miles toward the DCNR State Forest Trails Award.

My plan for the moment is to try to complete as many miles as I can on out-and-back dayhikes. This means walking twice as many miles, but I also get to go whenever I want, without being beholden to anyone else’s scheduling constraints.

In any event, walking alone deep in the woods is good for your spiritual well-being.

So, I drove out to the Tuscarora State Forest, parked the car at the hiker parking lot, and set out to walk to the northern boundary of the State Forest. I stopped off at Flat Rock Vista to take a photo.

Me at Flat Rock Vista
Me at Flat Rock Vista

I continued my way down through the Wildcat Hollow, where I came upon a little cascade in the stream. I stopped to shoot some video. I discovered that I am a very awkward personality on camera.

You can see from my hat and the lack of foliage, that I am very far behind on my blogging. This hike was about 6 weeks ago.

I continued hiking north until I crossed the boundary of the State Forest.

Leaving State Forest Land
Leaving State Forest Land

At this point I had finished the Tuscarora Trail from PA 233 to the edge of the State Forest. I just needed to get back to my car. Not wanting to retrace my steps, I decided to loop back on the red-blazed Warner Trail.

Intersection of Tuscarora and Warner Trails
Intersection of Tuscarora and Warner Trails

Not far down the Warner, I came upon a swollen creek.

This was a calamity. I didn’t want to walk around the rest of the day with wet feet, but turning around seemed like a cowardly way out. So, I took off my socks, rolled up my pants legs, and forded the stream.

Ready to ford the stream
Ready to ford the stream

One of the reasons I hike in trail runners instead of hiking boots is that the trail runners are supposed to dry out quickly if you get them wet. I was now in a position to test that theory. I hiked on for about two more miles, then stopped for lunch and gave my shoes some time to dry out.

Shoes drying out at a lunch stop.
Shoes Drying out at a lunch stop.

By the time I had eaten my lunch and was ready to hit the trail again, everything was dry. I put my socks back on and hiked back to the car.

Here is a map of my adventure. The blue line is the Tuscarora Trail. The Red line is the Warren Trail. The green is the boundary of the state forest.
[osm_map lat=”40.266″ lon=”-77.41″ zoom=”14″ width=”600″ height=”600″ type=”Ext” gpx_file_list=”/wp-content/uploads/2014/04/tuscarora_sf_boundary.gpx, /wp-content/uploads/2014/04/warner_trail.gpx, /wp-content/uploads/2014/04/tuscarora_trail_04-17-2014.gpx” gpx_colour_list=”green,red,blue” extmap_address=”http://a.tile.thunderforest.com/outdoors/${z}/${x}/${y}.png” extmap_init=”numZoomLevels: 17, transitionEffect: ‘resize’, sphericalMercator: true” extmap_type=”OSM” extmap_name=”Outdoor” marker=”40.27401,-77.42696″ marker_name=”car.png”]

So, That takes care of PA233 to the edge of the State Forest, and I already hiked PA233 to Cowpens road a long time ago. So, I’ll be starting my next hike on Cowpens Road, and heading south.

Flat Rock

A few weeks ago, I went for a hike with Klinutus and my Evil Sister. Technical difficulties (Klinutus’ computer blew up) prevented me from posting photos until now.

Anyhow, we went to Colonel Denning State Park and did a loop hike. There are a number of hiking trails in the forest surrounding the park. Many of them intersect at the “Wagon Wheel” where there is a trail shelter for weary hikers to rest their bones.

OSM Map of the Wagonwheel and it's shelter

About a mile past the shelter is the Flat Rock Vista, from which you can see so far, it’s kind of ridiculous. Here is a seven image composite of the view.

Ridiculous Panorama of Flat Rock Vista

Here’s one with only 2 pictures.
Klinutus & Evil Sister at Flat Rock Vista

After posing for pictures, we hiked back down to the wagonwheel shelter for lunch. All trail shelters have a log book, where you are supposed to write your name and and what time you left and in what direction you are heading so that the rangers have an easier time finding you if you get lost. Most people, however, just write stupid nonsense in the log book.

I was no exception.

Nonsensical Log Entry

It was a snowy day on the mountain, which made the woods somewhat scenic. This handsome, rugged hiker really adds to the sylvan aesthetic.

A handsome hiker in a snowy wood

There’s more pictures in the Gallery, for those of you like pictures.

Secret Shelter

I hiked about 7 miles yesterday. Since I was doing an out-and-back, I only covered 3.5 miles of the great and mighty Tuscarora Trail.


After entirely too much climbing, I arrived at the top of the mountain and discovered a trail shelter that was not mentioned in the guidebook.

According to the sign, this is the “The Wagon Wheel Shelter.”

I crawled inside and read a bit of the log book. I almost dozed off before I realized that I had no flashlight and no sleeping bag, so it would have really sucked to have woken up, freezing in the dark.

Wagonwheel Shelter

I think I am going to do an overnighter soon. Camping in the cold is nice. There are no snakes or bugs, and the bears are hibernating.


I got out for a bit of a hike yesterday. I logged the west end of the Darlington Trail as well as the east end of the Tuscarora Trail.
I walked a bit of the AT just so I could make a nice junction on the maps.

Trail intersection

Trail Intersection

By the way, I started a Wikipedia Article for the Darlington Trail. If you know anything about the trail, please add to the article before it gets deleted for lack of “notability”.