Maryland Outdoor Club
Sat, Sep 24 2005 - Moderate Hike at Susquehanna SP (View Original Event Details)

Event Organizer(s): John Fogle
Participants:Keri Brand, Stijn Brand, Matt Toerper, Fred Cascio, Leo Seung, Paula Moran, Jeffrey Staggs, Herb Volker, janet marnien, Mark Benson, Brandy Krediet, John Fogle, Gwen Savage, Jen A, Beverly Hoeftman

Write Up:

Fifteen MOCers met Saturday morning at our assembly point just off I-95 near Havre de Grace. From here we formed a caravan and drove the remaining three miles or so down to the historic Rock Run area of Susquehanna State Park. Emerging from our vehicles a matter of yards from the Susquehanna River, we were greeted by a pleasant breeze and an agreeable mixture of sun and cloud as we prepared to begin our trek.

The park offers something for the history buff as well as the outdoor enthusiast. Rock Run was a hub of agriculture and commerce in the 19th century and quite different from what it is today. Our hike’s starting point was by the restored Rock Run Grist Mill, originally built in 1794. On a hill overlooking both mill and river is the striking Rock Run House, also known as the Carter Mansion, which dates from 1804. As our group began walking northward from Rock Run, remnants of the old Susquehanna and Tidewater canal were much in evidence. This was an important commercial waterway for several decades in the mid 19th century. It was ultimately rendered obsolete by a number of factors, not least of which was the advent of commercial rail transport. Of this too there is ample evidence: abandoned railroad tracks, much of their roadbed long since eroded away by the forces of time and tide, lie along the river’s edge as a reminder of yet another period in the area’s history.

The first portion of the hike took us northward along the Susquehanna. The low river level was stark testimony to the summer’s lack of rainfall, as releases from the Conowingo Dam located a short distance upstream had clearly been infrequent, to say the least. We were able to venture out onto rocks whose smooth surfaces and sculpted contours clearly showed they had previously spent a good deal of time immersed in swiftly flowing water. From this vantage point we were able to see part of the dam further upstream. After a little over a mile hiking alongside the river, we turned inland onto a wider, well-maintained trail and soon were confronted by the unmistakable noise of lawnmowers and weed trimmers. Although at first surprised that such seemingly routine maintenance was being done on a Saturday, the mystery was soon cleared up when we discovered that these were actually volunteers out maintaining the trail using equipment supplied by the park. Much as we admired the volunteer spirit, many of us were anxious to put some distance between ourselves and the noise, so we crossed the road bridge over Deer Creek and moved on to the next segment of our hike.

At this point the terrain began to change and we ascended a ridge overlooking Deer Creek. After more or less leveling off, the trail took us by yet another of this park’s links to the past: a gigantic white oak tree well over 200 years old. After a short break here we continued on. Up until this point the trail had been shaded, but it soon emerged onto open farm fields. These are within the boundaries of Susquehanna State Park but are leased to a local farmer in an arrangement that not only allows productive use of the acreage, but also provides variety for the hiker. By the time we had trekked through this section it was just about lunch time, so we stopped at some picnic tables in a small grove of pines. Though well-placed for our needs, the tables appeared seldom used, and their immediate surroundings could have used the weed-trimming services of those volunteers we’d encountered earlier. Keeping a wary eye out for poison ivy as we sat down, we broke for lunch and chatted about subjects ranging from medicine to Machu Piccu as we ate.

After lunch we had no sooner resumed our trek than we ran into a couple and their dog that had seemingly lost their way hiking and asked us for directions back to the historic area. We assured them that there were at least two routes that they could use, and gave them a spare trail map to ensure success. That resolved, we headed back onto the trail

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