Archive for the ‘Pennsylvania’ Category

Golden Eagle Trail

Sunday, August 19th, 2012

View near Raven's Horn

View near Raven’s Horn

If you love taking long hikes to awesome mountain views, then you’re going to want to check out this trail!

Now, this trail has been called “the best day hike in Pennsylvania” and, while I would probably give that title to the Falls Trail at Ricketts Glen State Park, this is one trail you should definitely explore.  In fact, this was my second time attempting to hike this trail, because the first time my friend and I ended up hiking up someone’s driveway, instead of the trail.  So, the first time, we only managed to hike a small portion of trail, but the second time I was a bit more successful.

I went alone, I saw slithering creatures, came across many hikers and saw some amazing views.  But you can tap into almost everthing I saw by watching the video below…

HOW DO YOU GET HERE?

If you’d like to hike the Golden Eagle Trail in Cammal, Pennsylvania then CLICK HERE for directions to where you’re going to want to park.  Once you park in the parking area, just cross the road and you’ll see a big sign for the start of the trail.  Parking is free and there’s usually plenty of room.

HELPFUL TIPS

The Golden Eagle trail is a little bit over a 9 mile hike, so you’ll definitely want to be wearing some comfortable boots, have plenty of water and probably bring some food with you.  Depending on what time of year you come, you might have to cross a small “run” of water, but I went in the late summer and there really wasn’t much water to been seen.  But, I would recommend that you hike the trail in a clockwise pattern, so that you can get your legs warmed up  for the steep incline and save the best view for last.

And you will want to watch for snakes, because I came across a timber rattlesnake and a garter snake, neither of which did me any harm.  The timber rattlesnake was down in the lower part of the trail and stayed curled up as I walked by.  It didn’t rattle, move or anything, so don’t worry about them trying to attack you; they will more than likely make some noise and try to get away.  And the garter snake was almost up near the top of Raven’s Horn, just slithering down the trail beside me… nothing to worry about with this one.

WANT MORE?

If that wasn’t enough for you, then check out the site that feels it’s the best day hike in PA, here: http://www.pahikes.com/trails/golden-eagle-trail/119-golden-eagle-trail-best-day-hike-in-pennsylvania

And if you’d like to travel the trail through the magic of video, without my face popping up, then watch the instrumental version below:

And here are some more pictures:

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Highest Points in Pennsylvania and Maryland

Friday, May 25th, 2012

Mount Davis - The Highest Point in Pennsylvania (3,213 Feet Above Sea Level)

Mount Davis – The Highest Point in Pennsylvania (3,213 Feet Above Sea Level)

If you like mountain views and challenges that bring you to new heights then you need to check this out!  There’s something fulfilling about going to the highest point in your home state, or some other state, and looking over the surrounding area.  Now, this isn’t my first highpoint, but Ohio’s is nothing compared to these two.

Pennsylvania’s highpoint (Mount Davis) has a really nice view, but you have to climb up on top of a 40 foot tower to really appreciate it; there are too many trees to really see the view from the ground.  The tower might toy with your fear of heights, if you have one, but the tower is very sturdy… there’s nothing to worry about!  You can drive right up to the highpoint if you want or take a short (.8 mile), flat hike to the tower, the official highpoint marker and all the plaques there.  And once you make your way up the tower steps, you’ll soon realize it was very worth the climb.

Speaking of climbs, there is actually an uphill hike you’ll have to take to get to the top of Backbone Mountain (Maryland’s highpoint AKA Hoye Crest).  It’s only a mile-long hike, but you’ll have a 700 foot increase in elevation, during that hike.  And hey, that’s not much to ask, considering you’ll end up 3,360 feet above sea level!  And I liked how this highpoint had a little log book you could sign, and a certificate to prove you had been there; Pennsylvania was slacking on that one!  The view’s not too shabby up there either, and you don’t need a tower to see it.

But instead of reading this boring text and trying to picture it in your mind, watch this video so you can see all of what I’m talking about:

HOW DO YOU GET HERE?

If you’d like to check out Mount Davis in Fort Hill, Pennsylvania then CLICK HERE for a map to where I parked.  The green arrow points to where you’ll pull in and park; there are bathrooms and picnic tables here.  To head toward the High Point Trail, just head to the right, to the far end of the open field.  There’s a map that will show you where to go, in fact, if you switch to the satellite view on Google Maps, you can see the trail I’m talking about, Southwest of where you pull in.

If you’d like to check out the Hoye Crest in Oakland, Maryland then CLICK HERE for a map to where I parked.  Yes, you will be parking in West Virginia, and you’ll want to look for a spot on the side of the road that you can pull off on and park.  The trail starts on a turn in a road, and there is a green sign that points toward the trail, telling you it’s the highpoint trail, but if you’re coming from the north, and you pass that sign, then you’ve already passed where you want to park.  I parked right at the trailhead, there’s enough room for maybe two cars.  I wouldn’t recommend driving up the trail, as it’s pretty rough.

HELPFUL TIPS

If you take the High Point Trail, to Mount Davis, then be sure to stay on it! Don’t be like me and get distracted, just before you get to the highpoint, by a trail called the Mount Davis Trail.  Yes, that’s what the highpoint is named, but this trail goes off on it’s own and is pretty dang rocky and narrow.  You don’t really need hiking boots for this one, even though there is one muddy patch, but other than that it’s smooth sailing and it’s free to enter the park.

The trail up Backbone Mountain, to Hoye Crest, is clearly marked by orange blazes, so you shouldn’t get lost or distracted.  You’ll probably want to wear hiking boots, bring water and put on the bug spray for this trail though.  There are a few muddy spots, and a rocky section, so the boots will come in handy.  And with moisture comes gnats and other bugs, so be aware that they will be in your face during some sections.  In fact, I would be walking along and hear hundreds of crickets jumping all around; that was actually kind of cool.  But, since it will take longer to get to the top, you’ll probably want some water along to way.  In fact, bring a lunch with you; there’s a picnic table right at the highpoint, so you can eat and enjoy the view.  Oh, and it’s free to hike to the top of this one as well!

WANT MORE?

If that wasn’t enough for you then here’s the official site for the Maryland highpoint: http://www.hmdb.org/marker.asp?marker=154

And if you’d like to see an instrumental version of the video, without me butting in all the time, then here you go:

And here are some more pictures:

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Whispering Giants and the Grave of Frankenstein

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

Rotaynah - 51st Whispering Giant

Rotaynah – 51st Whispering Giant

If you’re into huge sculptures carved out of wood or interesting tombstones, then you need to check out these places!  Peter Wolf Toth has been carving sculptures out of logs since the early 70s and has created what he calls the Trail of Whispering Giants.  They are carved by hammer and chisel and are made to look like the natives who live in that area.  So far, he has created 74 different Whispering Giants, some of which are 40 feet tall!  There is at least one in every single state of the United States and even a couple in Canada and one in Hungary; the country he was born in.

And you don’t have to travel too far from a couple of these giants to come across a graveyard which includes an interesting family tombstone.  This family may not have been that popular, but they bore a name that a very popular, yet fictional, doctor also shared… and that name is Frankenstein!  I’m not sure about the history of the family, but their family tombstone has become quite a unique “roadside attraction”, if you dare call it that.  And once you’re done searching for interesting family names, you can always head to the William McKinley National Memorial, which was constructed in remembrance of our 25th president.

It’s sometimes hard to come with things to do outside in the winter months, but if you’re just a little bit more observant you’ll come across creative and interesting things like these.  And not even the snow and wind I ran into could ruin a trip to see things like this, which is the beauty behind a little planning.  I saw the 51st and the 6th Whispering Giant on my trip, and it’s a lot different to see these things in person.  The 51st giant is so huge and detailed, and the 6th, although a bit under the weather, adds a little something special to the rest stop, where it is located.  And it was even interesting to see the creative designs and family names in the cemetery, and then to have the giant memorial right next door.

But, I don’t expect you to get too much from this text, or even the pictures, so feel free to explore these locations through the video below:

HOW DO YOU GET HERE?

If you’re curious how to get to any of these locations, then I’ve got your back!  The 51st Whispering Giant is in a field right in front of the Fairlawn Elementary School in Akron, Ohio and if you CLICK HERE you can get directions right to the exact spot.  You can park in the preschool parking lot and walk right over to it.

If you’re interested in seeing the Frankenstein family tombstone, then you’ll want to go to section Z in the Westlawn Cemetery in Canton, Ohio, but you can CLICK HERE for directions to where you need to go.  It’s at the far end of the cemetery and, when you face the tombstone, the Mercy Medical Center is right behind it.  In fact, as you drive around the cemetery, you’ll notice how close you are to the McKinley Memorial too.

And if you want to check out the 6th Whispering Giant as well, then it’s right off of Interstate 80, heading East, in Sharon, Pennsylvania.  It’s right outside of the building at a rest stop, but CLICK HERE to get directions to exactly where you want to go.  You’ll probably need to rest a bit after a long road trip like this anyway!

HELPFUL TIPS

The 51st Whispering Giant is right along a busy road, so be careful if you bring kids with you.  And the Westlawn Cemetery is only open during daylight hours, like most cemeteries, so be sure to get there before it’s too late, because there’s a fence around the whole area.  Oh, and don’t let Google Maps lead you the wrong way down the one way street, right in front of the cemetery.  Lawn Avenue NW is a one way street which starts at the entrance of the cemetery and heads toward 4th Street NW, so if you’re coming off of 4th Street NW then take Lincoln Avenue NW to 7th Street NW and you’ll see the entrance.

WANT MORE?

If that wasn’t enough, then here’s a handy site that shows you pictures, descriptions and locations of the Whispering Giants: http://www.waymarking.com/cat/details.aspx?f=1&guid=8fbd270d-3a97-42ab-8631-b73cf6c32335

And here are more pictures:

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Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted in Art Parks, Ohio, Pennsylvania | 1 Comment »

PennDOT Road Sign Art

Wednesday, January 4th, 2012

Read Between the Signs (PennDOT Road Sign Art)

Read Between the Signs (PennDOT Road Sign Art)

If you’re into art, the outdoors and you love when people beautify a somewhat ugly location then you need to check out “Read Between the Signs”!  This is a project that was carried out by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Arts & Entertainment Initiative from Allegheny College’s Center for Economic and Environmental Development (CEED).  They are an organization who likes to create art to not only bring awareness to environmental problems but also to change how people react to their environment.

And if these recycled road signs, cut into different designs and composed into a long mural, weren’t there then all you’d see is a bunch of trucks and equipment behind PennDOT’s fence.  So, do you think the art changes how you react to that location a bit?  I think so too!  And there are even giant flowers, made out of road signs, in front of their parking lot, from a different project called Signs & Flowers.  These things are anywhere between 10 feet and 12 feet tall and they get really creative with their designs; my favorite is the stop sign flower, with the one way petals.

And if you were to randomly drive by this mural, you’d be pretty amazed at the details and size of it… I mean, it is 1,200 feet long and 9 feet tall!  And it’s composed of all different images that relate to the area, but enough out of me for now.  You can check out my trip here:

HOW DO YOU GET HERE?

If you’re curious about checking out this place yourself, then all you have to do is head to Meadville, Pennsylvania and hop on Route 322.  The mural is right beside Route 322 and you can park in PennDOT’s parking lot (near the giant flowers) or across the street if you like.  But, to make things easier on you, all you have to do is CLICK HERE and you’ll see a map of exactly where you can park, and you can get directions right to this location.

HELPFUL TIPS

There is plenty of room to look at and enjoy the long mural, on foot, up until you get close to the end of the fence, farthest from the building.  There’s a wide patch of grass that you can walk on, in between the road and the fence, but if you have kids you’ll want to keep an eye on them.  You can still walk to the other end of the fence, it’s just that there’s a drainage ditch in front of the fence which really minimizes the area of grass you can walk on.

WANT MORE?

If that wasn’t enough for you, then you can check out their official site here: http://sites.allegheny.edu/ceed/projects/arts-environment-initiative/read-between-the-signs

And here are more pictures:

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Waterfalls at Ohiopyle State Park

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Shawna in front of Cucumber Falls (30 feet high)

What seems to be my last outdoor adventure for this year turned out to be one of the best.

There are a lot of different things that you can do at Ohiopyle State Park, but I’m going to focus on the waterfalls.

I came here to check out 5 different waterfalls, but only 3 of them are worth mentioning.

Take a look at the video from my trip below!

Follow the link below to get directions and a full rundown on my trip…

Trip Report: Waterfalls at Ohiopyle State Park

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Posted in Pennsylvania, Waterfalls | No Comments »