Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Passport to Adventure: Park #1 Black Moshannon SP

Santa Claus decided Chris and I needed to explore more of Pennsylvania, so he brought us the Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Passport published by the Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation. 
This 135-page passport includes maps, a history of the state’s park and forest system, a brief description and most memorable feature of each state park and forest, and additional online resources. Participants can track their visits to our public lands by initialing their book or having it stamped at the park or forest office. The Pennsylvania Passport not only guides people to our state parks and forests, but it also breaks down interest areas and challenges users to complete each area to receive recognition for their accomplishments with a special metal "dog tag" for the theme. - Pennsylvania Parks & Forests Foundation website/product description
We set out yesterday to get our first stamp at our "home park" - Black Moshannon State Park - which is just over 21 miles from our house. It was a brisk 29 degrees when we arrived at Black Mo with bright sunshine and a light breeze. After a quick stop in the park office for a park map, we debated our trail options. Chris originally had the Shingle Mill Trail in mind, but it would be very shady; we opted to hike the Star Mill Trail instead since we would be able to enjoy the sunshine.

"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood..." ...or, more accurately the trail split into two paths in the parking lot!

GIANT tree along the trail.

It is rare that ANY trail at Black Mo is not snow-covered at the end of December.

Huge downed tree.


The Star Mill Trail crosses Beaver Road twice...AND is bicycle-friendly! Noted!

Mountain Laurel buds in the sunshine.

Scenery at the lake.

Panoramic shot of the lake.

A look ahead along the trail.

Death happened here.

Deer skull.

Peeking out at the lake from the trail.

A small "island" in the lake.

Ice on the lake.

Another look ahead on the trail.

Chris dropped the map along the trail so he turned back to find it. While I was waiting for him, I heard the telltale tap-tap-tap of a woodpecker. After standing still and listening for a minute, I spotted the Hairy Woodpecker.

"Little full...lotta sap."

A beaver lodge on the lake.

The beaver's slide into the lake. We joked that we'd both FREAK if the beaver popped up at this spot while we were standing there!

Another shot of the beaver lodge.

Another panoramic shot of the lake.

Beaver damage to some small trees.

Informational sign at the end of the trail.

Aaaaaand we're official! Stamped and dated!!!

One down...MANY more to go! Thanks, Santa!!!

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