Maryland Outdoor Club
Sat, Jun 25 2005 - Mod-Diff Day Hike: Kelly's Run & Tucquan Glen (View Original Event Details)

Event Organizer(s): John Fogle, John Putman
Participants:John Fogle, John Putman, Jeff Schneider, Matt Toerper, Beverly Hoeftman, Amy Hatfield, Rita Fabian

Write Up:
As the weekend approached, apprehensions rose along with the forecasted high temperatures. We wanted to do the hike so badly that we decided to proceed despite the dire predictions of heat and humidity. One co-organizer was especially concerned, as he was getting hot already at 8:00 AM at the carpool spot!

Those who opted to join our merry carpool got under way from the Nottingham/Perry Hall Super Kmart right on schedule. Once out of busy commercial Perry Hall, the drive changed gradually from the mundane to the pastoral as we made our way northward. In Bel Air, shops were just opening as proprietors sleepily unlocked their doors and switched on “Open” signs. The firemen in Jarrettsville washed their fire engines before the day’s heat would preclude such taxing manual labor. Early-rising fishermen were already returning home with the day’s catch still flopping in Styrofoam coolers. Smooth two-lane roadways cut through rolling hills with manicured lawns and carefully tended crops. Crossing into Pennsylvania, one could see industrious Amish folk raking and sweeping as they made their way through the morning’s chores. We arrived at the Holtwood Recreation Area in Lancaster County almost before we knew it.

The Holtwood Environmental Preserve is actually owned and maintained by the local utility company that runs the nearby hydroelectric plant. We quickly set up for our post-hike shuttle: Boyd, Sonja, and John P. volunteered for shuttle duty and so drove their cars to trail’s end for later use. We all then reunited back at Holtwood’s picnic area and eleven Marylanders started the actual hike at 10 AM. The trail began by winding through the woods behind the picnic grounds and soon came alongside Kelly’s Run, a pretty little tributary of the Susquehanna River. As we moved downstream, more and more rhododendron and hemlock appeared to augment the deciduous wooded canopy on either side of the lovely ravine. Some of the hillsides were literally covered in rhododendron! Large rock formations towered above us and boulders in the stream formed numerous little cascades.

After a couple of pleasant miles and three easy stream crossings, Kelly’s Run emptied into the Susquehanna and it was time to start Phase II of the hike: a steady climb northward on the Conestoga trail paralleling the river toward a feature known as “The Pinnacle.” We took a couple of short breathers on this section. Coincidentally, both occurred at rock formations with at least a partial view of the river and so the question “Is this it?” was asked by more than one person. The answer was, “No, it gets better.” Finally, we reached The Pinnacle around 11:30 and enjoyed a fine view of the Susquehanna River and adjacent York County scenery on the far side. The river is very wide here because of the downstream hydroelectric dam; it is therefore known as Lake Aldred. Taking advantage of shaded picnic tables, we enjoyed our lunch while viewing powerboats, water skiers, and canoes on the lake far, far below us. Soaring birds of prey are also prevalent here; at least one eagle was spotted during lunch.

After we ate and relaxed a bit it was time to depart this picturesque scene and continue northward on the Conestoga trail. Until this time the heat hadn’t been bad, but we soon began to feel it in spite of the shade of the woods. The trail descended quite sharply almost down to the railroad tracks paralleling the river before it leveled off and began once more to ascend, albeit at a gentler rate. We pressed on with only short breathers to reach the next (and much more desirable) portion of the trail: Tucquan Glen.

By this point we had left the area administered by Holtwood. The creek here is instead part of the Tucquan Glen Nature Preserve, which is administered by the non-profit Lancaster County Conservancy. The ravine and creek here are quite similar to Kelly’s Run and at least as pretty. More rhododendron, hemlock, rock format

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