Sat, Nov 10 2007 - Hike at Susquehanna SP (View Original Event Details)|
|Participants:||John Fogle, Parva Fattahi, Chris B., James Petersen, Paul Shaklan, Cary Tepper, Paul Huang, Glenn Peddicord, Dan DeVries, Tom Reichelderfer, Maria Maranto Dickey, Jason Dickey, Christopher Faro|
I couldn’t help feeling a touch of déjà vu as we assembled to begin the hike Saturday morning. It was the third consecutive year I’ve done this trek as an MOC event, and just as in 2006 the weather had me guessing for a while.
It had rained quite a bit the previous night. This fact did nothing to reduce the already high dropout rate during the final 24-hour window prior to the event. Still, 14 MOCers took their chances and the weather turned out to be a non-issue. Though most of the day was cloudy, not a drop of rain fell during the trek, and the trails at Susquehanna State Park were in surprisingly good shape.
The hike began by following the old railroad tracks north along the Susquehanna River from the historic Rock Run area. On this initial stretch, remnants of the old Susquehanna and Tidewater canal were much in evidence. We also noted clear signs of beaver activity amongst the trees near the river’s edge. After a time we left the river and turned a bit inland, passing the remnants of a flint furnace along Deer Creek. 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 encountered a more hilly section, ascending 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: a giant beech along the main trail, and a huge, ancient white oak nearby. We took a break here and Glenn, instigator that he is, managed to persuade several participants to play ring-around-the-giant-oak. Fortunately no singing was involved.
Soon after leaving these forest giants, we emerged from the woods and crossed some of the park’s highest terrain on open farm fields. It was about this time that two members of our intrepid little band began inquiring about how much further we had to go. I did my best to be deliberately vague, partly out of a sense of wicked amusement but mostly because the latter stages of the hike would give us a choice of return routes.
We passed by the park’s maintenance shed and then headed back onto wooded portions of the trail. I selected a route that would ultimately take us through the grounds of the Steppingstone Farm Museum , a variation from the route I’d taken the previous two years. By the time we strolled through the farm complex, ominous rumblings began to be heard from the aforementioned pair of rebels. The source of discontent was soon made clear: hunger! Yes, they acknowledged, the event description had clearly stated that lunch would be after the hike, not during it. That it would be late. And that they were to bring snacks to tide themselves over in the meantime. Nonetheless, they wanted lunch. Things had the potential to turn ugly. What if these starving malcontents turned others to their cause? Would I lose support if I continued this arduous trek and we were compelled to subsist on tree bark and leftover moleskin? How much hardship could I ask these hardy souls to endure?
As there was a choice of routes back from Steppingstone, I departed from my normal totalitarian procedure and allowed the group to decide. Some would have preferred a longer circuit back but a majority opted for the shortest possible route. Fifteen minutes or so later we were back at the Rock Run historic area where we’d begun the hike. A strategy to head into Havre De Grace and seek out a local eatery was quickly agreed upon. Two of our group declined lunch and headed home, but a dozen of us drove into town and went to Coakley’s Pub & Restaurant on Saint John Street. The staff there managed to get our large group seated quickly and we all enjoyed a good, albeit late, lunch.
Thanks to everyone who defied the weather concerns and came out to join us Saturday!
-- John Fogle
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