RAVENSBURG AND HICKORY RUN STATE PARK

Pennsylvania must be one of the most underrated and beautiful states. This weekend we camped and hiked in Ravensburg State Park--a park we'd only previously driven by or briefly stopped in on the long drive to Michael's parents house. While my last post found us there on a snowy November day, September's rainy weather made for a misty, mossy, ferny trip that made me wonder if we had been transported to Maine. 

On the drive along I-80, we made a pitstop at the Boulder Field in Hickory Run State Park. Aptly named, this massive field of small reddish boulders (also a National Natural Landmark) is the geological result of thousands of years of glacial melt that carried broken sandstone boulders from the surrounding Poconos. 

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Besides beautiful, the campground at Ravensburg State Park is thankfully small and relatively secluded. Although fairly close to Rt 880, the creekside tentsites (no RVS allowed) are still fairly quiet. In the morning you can hear hoofs on the road as Amish horse and buggies from neighboring towns pass through. All campsites have a raised earthen platform--the majority of which are covered in a soft bed of moss (and adorable little mushrooms and acorns and slugs). 

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After setting up camp, we ran into a park ranger who suggested part of the Mid State Trail for a good hike. While the trail itself meanders through the entire state of Pennsylvania, the portion we hiked also included the Thousand Step Trail--or rather, the Bushwacking and Sliding Straight Down the Mountain and Over Slippery Rocks Trail. Both trails just charged straight up (and down) the mountainside so that we gained 750 feet in elevation over the course of the first half mile. The hike was slippery but gorgeous, and soon evolved into a full blown study of the hundreds of different types of mushrooms that sprout up all along the trail. 

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RAVENSBURG STATE PARK

Halfway through our 8 hour drive across snowy Pennsylvania, the onset of restless leg and butt-rot forced us off the highway onto unplowed back roads of beautiful Ravensburg State Park. This place had been calling me like a siren the last three times we've driving this route and we finally took the opportunity to pull off and get a short hike in before we hit the road again.

 

DELAWARE WATER GAP IN WINTER

When I moved out east in March, a snowy  hike to Raymondskill Falls in the Delaware Water Gap was a stunning (and surprising) introduction to some of the beautiful parks of the Northeast. 

This area remains one of my favorite places out here and when my little sister flew into town from South Dakota, I was happy to bring her here and explore new areas I'd never seen before. The Delaware Water Gap spans the border of New Jersey and Pennsylvania where the Delaware River cuts between a large ridge of the Appalachian Mountains. As we drove deeper into the park, we came across an amazing abandoned farm that might have been the highlight of the trip. Upon recommendation of our Airbnb host, we also did the easy short loop hike in George Childs State Park that crisscrosses over and along a series of waterfalls.