On the Minister’s Creek Hikes

10984995_892877894106843_2321569444000461387_nWe had planned to stay at Allegheny National Park for three nights. Our arrival was later than expected, so there wasn’t much time to hike Friday. We wandered around the camp area and explored a little before going to sleep. Kenobi wasn’t fond of the tent. He examined it as he does everything. Our first night sleep was a good one.

11218079_892697344124898_3010176812158137984_oWe woke early, ate a quick breakfast, and started out on the longest hiking trail–The North Loop. We saw no other people. It was wonderful. The sun rose, but the underbrush was still dark. Large, dark stones covered in moss, ferns, and tall trees everywhere. Only the sounds of nature surrounded us, and it was calm and relaxing. Great climbs up steep trails got us sweating. We saw the white tail of a deer bounding over the ferns, several birds, a couple small lizards, and heard wood peckers. We stumbled down damp rocks and crossed the creek three times to head up another climb to a treed area. There was a problem.

11052500_892877937440172_9026093720946884994_nThese trees were all down. They all stretched down the hill with their roots sticking up at us. We continued along the trail as far as we could through sawed trees. Then it just stopped. We paced back and forth, looked under the roots that stood in the way, considered going over and looked for another way around. As I searched, Kenobi searched, too. We wanted to move forward, but it became clear that it wasn’t to be. We back-tracked the way we’d come and then branched off to the Middle Loop for some variation. It was a good hike, but not the complete six miles we’d expected.

10952851_892697287458237_1823491436570082379_nThe campground hosts explained that their was a storm, the trees had been blown over while people were camping killing one young girl. I had no idea, and the map I’d gotten didn’t mention anything. The majority of the trail is closed.

We didn’t fish, so we stopped at the store. Dinner was hamburger and potatoes cooked on the campfire. Yum! I’d brought seasonings along–Spice House Jerk Seasoning Mix, to be exact. It’s the best. The firewood we bought was way too much for one night. Piled up, it stood about four feet and included a fire-starter block and kindling. It was all for $10. Dinner used three logs. I let the white fire burn hot and put the food wrapped in foil in the hot coals. It takes about 10-15 minutes. Fast, delicious, and hot.

11143518_892877784106854_8417227853444865516_nSaturday night was really cold and a rough sleep. We just weren’t prepared for the lower temp, and that made for one miserable night. So, the next day we left after a hike around the South Loop. This was a much easier hike–only two miles, but very pleasant and still went by the Minister Valley Overlook. Again, we saw no other hikers and got a chance to see a few deer bounding around.

 

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