Sat, Sep 23 2006 - Moderate Hike at Susquehanna State Park (View Original Event Details)|
|Participants:||John Fogle, Amy Hatfield, Gary May, Leo Seung, Hee Seung, Kathryn Bright, michael thomey, Dan DeVries, Maria Maranto Dickey, Rachel Mocny, Leo, Diana Cramp, Tom Reichelderfer, Beverly Hoeftman, Cindy Stone, Lori Frazier|
The weather kept us guessing for a bit Saturday morning, and in fact some intermittent rain fell as we drove toward our assembly point just off I-95 near Havre de Grace. While 18 MOCers did “the circle” to make introductions there, a chilly gust or two swept by and the clouds remained dark and ominous. This caused some to question whether the forecaster’s claim of 80 degrees for the day’s high temperature would actually come to fruition.
After introductions we formed a caravan and drove the remaining three miles or so down to the historic Rock Run area of Susquehanna State Park. Here a number of historic sites were pointed out to the group, including the restored Rock Run Grist Mill (originally built in 1794), the Rock Run Mansion, remnants of an abandoned railroad, and the park restrooms. The latter, while not actually historic, did appear to be quite popular with the visiting MOCers. The actual hike began by following the old railroad tracks north along the Susquehanna River. On this initial stretch, remnants of the old Susquehanna and Tidewater canal were much in evidence. This was an important commercial waterway in the mid 19th century. The canal was ultimately rendered obsolete by a number of factors, including the railroad. Eventually that too fell into disuse, and much of the rail bed has long since been eroded away by the forces of time and tide.
As the hikers followed the Susquehanna northward the skies remained overcast and the air humid, but no rain fell. After a time we left the river and turned a bit inland, passing the remnants of a flint furnace along Deer Creek. This was another example of 19th century industry in the area. Flint was once reduced in the tower-like structure and sold for use in making porcelain. We next crossed the road bridge over Deer Creek and the terrain began to change. Our group encountered a more hilly section and ascended a ridge overlooking the creek. After winding through the woods for a time the trail led us to a pair of particularly old and gigantic trees, yet another of Susquehanna’s links to a bygone era. One of these forest giants is a huge white oak (that’s Quercus Alba, Maryland’s state tree for those of you keeping score at home) 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. Dan and Leo couldn’t resist leaping to the top of large hay rolls that had been left in the field.
As our intrepid band completed this open section of the hike it was just about lunch time, so we stopped by some picnic tables in a small grove of pines. That’s not to say we actually used the tables, however. The area immediately surrounding them was neglected and overgrown; poison ivy regrettably abundant. Ten minutes use of a weed-whacker could have yielded a dramatic transformation of the area. Alas, we had none. The group opted instead to sit on the grass nearby, still under the pleasant pines but outside of the ivy’s kill-zone. As we ate, Tom regaled us with his collection of professional jokes while Dan demonstrated his throwing ability with non-aerodynamic food containers. The results were predictable but no injuries resulted. An attempt was made to determine who had driven the furthest that morning to reach the event. Rosangela had come from south Jersey but that had only taken her a little more than an hour given Susquehanna’s location. Some Marylanders had actually driven further. Sadly, no conclusive winner was named.
We noted a few peeks of sunshine during the repast, though clouds retained the upper hand. After lunch we resumed our trek and took an orange-blazed trail that led once more into wooded terrain. Many of the Susquehanna trails are m
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