Last year, I set a goal of completing the NCTA Hike 100 Challenge. I blew it out of the park, and ended up with 200 miles on the North Country Trail in 2016. I wasn't going to work towards that again in 2017, but the NCTA came out with a different patch, so I had to do it! In the meantime, though, I came up with a new goal for 2017 - hike the rest of the NCT in PA that I hadn't already done. Since I had already hiked the 20.3 miles of the trail in Moraine State Park and McConnell's Mill State Park, I was ahead of the game.
First Day Hike, with Butler Outdoor Club, Jan. 1, 2017, NCT-Moraine State Park from Bicycle Rental to SR 422 Bridge
It started out with the First Day Hike - an annual tradition of the Butler Outdoor Club, and open to the public. Our Scouts have been doing this hike for several years, and really enjoy getting out on January 1 to start the year off right. Although I had already hiked this section several times, it was mileage for my Hike100, and a good start to the year.
Although I hiked quite a bit on sections I had already done for the Hike100, I did start working on my own challenge in February. I still hadn't hiked much of the trail south of McConnell's Mill, but decided instead to work on the sections north of Moraine State Park. So on February 18, my friend Joe, his dog Scout, and I hiked the section from Pry Road north to the Tamarack Trails at the Glades spur. Very pretty trail, with some neat features to see, but a little difficult to find the trailhead on Pry Road (actually, it was Pry Road that was difficult to find!). But we persevered, and I was able to check off 3.75 miles of the 235+ that I still needed to hike in PA.
Marshes near Glade Dam Lake, State Game Land 95, West Sunbury, PA
March didn't get me far on my personal goal, but I did get a lot of hiking in for my Hike100. The weather in western PA was beautiful for late winter, and it made for lots of days of perfect hiking weather. March 5 took me to Annandale, PA, where I started at the Branchton Road trailhead, headed back to Tamarack Trails, then went back north until I hit Vulture-Bear Rock. You have to see these trails to believe them - they aren't easy, Class 2-3 for the majority of it, but the scenery is breathtaking in late winter!
Vulture Bear Rock, Hilliards, PA
By the end of March, I was itching to get back out to work on my PA NCT goal. But that's another Blog post waiting to be written!
BSITO (Be Safe In The Outdoors),