The Chesapeake watershed is awash in walks, from leg stretchers to day trips to multi-day backpacks. This month’s puzzle features trails in Pennsylvania and Delaware. Match the description with the trail or site/area it passes through. Other Bay states will be featured in upcoming issues. Answers are below.
ALAN SEEGER NATURAL AREA, PA
BOYD BIG TREE PRESERVE
CONSERVATION AREA, PA
GOLDEN EAGLE TRAIL, PA
LUMS POND STATE PARK, DE
RICKETTS GLEN STATE PARK, PA
TRAP PONDS STATE PARK, DE
WEST RIM TRAIL, PA
1. This 9.7-mile trek includes two streams — Bonnell and Wolf runs — situated in two gorges. Although there are a couple of steep climbs, hikers are rewarded with four vistas and sandstone wind formations. Nature lovers might be treated to ravens at Raven’s Horn Vista, large trees, mountain laurel, and colorful birch and maple in the autumn.
2. Rhododendron tunnels, towering ancient hemlocks, bridges crossing pristine streams… All in less than a mile with almost no elevation gain. It’s like being in another world and ranks among this author’s favorite rambles.
3. Visitors on this site’s 5-mile Loblolly Trail will hike around a pond, through forests, across bridges, over dams and past the historic Bethesda Church’s cemetery. The trail also links to a path that takes them to Cypress Point for a view of bald cypress trees.
4. Like waterfalls? This site’s Falls Trail is for you. The 7.2-mile loop goes past 21 waterfalls whose heights range from 11 feet to 94 feet. (For those who are unable to go that far, a 3.2-mile loop created by linking three other trails offers views of most of the falls.) This difficult rocky hike is not to be taken lightly, though. Trail conditions can be dangerous and those who undertake it should wear proper hiking boots or shoes and be in good physical shape.
5. Not too far from Harrisburg, this 949.49-acre site is a sanctuary for mature trees and an environment education study area. Its 10.6 miles of trails include the 0.9-mile Coach Trail that follows the base of Blue Mountain. On the 1.2-mile Pond Loop Trail, hikers can view the various amphibian. Large beech, oak and hickory trees are found along the 2-mile Upper Spring Trail
6. This 30.5 mile hiking trail runs along the top of Pine Creek Gorge, about 800 feet deep and 2,000 feet across. Hikers can trek a portion of the trail or turn it into a backpacking trip. The trail includes numerous overlooks of the gorge, also known as Pennsylvania’s Grand Canyon, with exposed rock estimated to be more than 350 million years old. Other features of the trail include mixed hardwood stands and oak forests; boggy meadows, mountain laurel; beaver dams; and abandoned logging roads and railroad grades from when the area was lumbered in the 19th and early 20th centuries.
7. This site, just barely outside the watershed, includes an easy 6.4 mile Swamp Forest Trail that includes many elevated boardwalks and bridges, and a 0.1-mile accessible Sensory Loop Trail. Tired of hiking under trees? Go through the trees via this site’s Go Ape tree-top adventure course’s ziplines, Tarzan swings, magic carpet and trapeze.
ANSWERS: 1. Golden Eagle Trail, 2. Alan Seeger Natural Area, 3. Trap Ponds State Park, 4. Ricketts Glen State Park 5. Boyd Big Tree Preserve Conservation Area, 6. West Rim Trail 7. Lums Pond State Park