Maryland Outdoor Club
Sun, Jun 18 2006 - Mod.-Dif. Hike: Kelly's Run & Tucquan Glen (View Original Event Details)

Event Organizer(s): Jesse Allen, John Fogle
Participants:Jesse Allen, John Fogle, Kathryn Bright, Fred Bright, Chris Whalen, Maureen Wingfield, KC Yi, Dominic Perry, Kurt Saberg, michael thomey

Write Up:
For the second year in a row, I somehow managed to pick the hottest day of June to organize this particular hike. The weather may partially explain the inordinately high dropout rate on the event. Although 26 people were on the RSVP list a few days before the hike, we had just 10 attendees on event day. Along with myself and co-organizer Jesse (whom I'd asked to help out in anticipation of a larger group), Chris, Dominic, Kurt, and Mike all met at the Perry Hall carpool Sunday morning. A little over an hour later we pulled into the Holtwood picnic area in Lancaster county, PA and were joined by Maureen, KC, Kathryn and her guest, Fred. In fact, Fred is Kathryn's dad and she'd signed him up for the hike as a Father's Day event! With 10 people and 4 vehicles we were able to set up our shuttle quickly and dropped off three of the cars at trail's end for later use.

Once reassembled back at the picnic area, we made introductions and started our trek shortly before 10 AM. The Holtwood Environmental Preserve is actually owned and maintained by the local utility company that runs the nearby hydroelectric plant. 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. We were a little early in the season for peak rhododendron blooms, however, and only saw a couple of them.

After a couple of pleasant miles, 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." The heat was beginning to tell and we took a couple of short breathers as we slowly made the ascent. Finally we reached The Pinnacle and enjoyed a fine view of the Susquehanna River and adjacent scenery. The river is very wide here because of the downstream hydroelectric dam; it is therefore known as Lake Aldred at this point. Taking advantage of shaded picnic tables as well as the great view, we enjoyed a more substantial break and most of the group made a foray into their snacking provisions.

After we relaxed a bit it was time to depart this picturesque scene and continue northward on the Conestoga trail. 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. Despite the shade, there was no escape from the heat and humidity, so several more short breathers were in order as we pressed on to reach the next (and much more desirable) portion of the trail: Tucquan Glen.

The creek here, another Susquehanna tributary, is part of the Tucquan Glen Nature Preserve. It is administered by the non-profit Lancaster County Conservancy. This ravine and creek are quite similar to Kelly's Run and at least as pretty. More rhododendron, hemlock, rock formations, water cascades--and, best of all--cooler temperatures greeted us. We hiked upstream a short distance on the rocky trail and stopped for a nice long break by a little cascade and natural pool in the creek. We were definitely in need of a good cool-off as the temperature was by now well in the 90s! Several of us shed our boots and socks and allowed our feet to dangle in the cool, refreshing stream. It was a little after 1:00 PM and we used this interlude as our lunch break. Not surprisingly, the heat had taken the edge off our appetites and for most of us it was more of a light snack than a full-blown

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