Some embarked on the journey half way in to Friday afternoon and others left at 'o-dark-thirty Saturday morning to meet at the campsites by 0800 hrs. We stayed at the Canyon Country Campground which has a tall observation tower that you can climb up and a pub right out front in walking distance from the campsites!
Once we all unpacked the cars, set up tents, and geared our packs for a day of hiking, we hit the trail! Directly from the campsites we were able to access the trail head which brought us to Leonard Harrison State Park. Through the park and visitor center, we saw a great overlook of the Canyon which was formed by several continental glacier events over the last 300 million years! About 20,000 years ago during the last ice age, several freeze/thaw events occurred which created a dam of ice and debris. The dam caused a huge meltwater lake to develop in this beautiful location that is now known as Pine Creek Gorge. As more glacier ice melted, the weight of the water overtook the dam leaving all the water to rush out taking with it all the soft shale and siltstone, eroding the deep gorge seen today.
After snapping some pictures and watching the dogs chase each other around, we headed down the Turkey Foot Trail which has incredible waterfalls! We were lucky as people told us it wasn't until the recent rains that the waterfalls began to flow again! A lot of work went into this trail as its paved with stone dust and has many deck overlooks and wooden steps on the steepest parts.
We climbed down off the main trail to the creek below in several spots to get right up close to the waterfalls. The views and photo ops were magnificent!
Once at the bottom, we relaxed and checked out Pine Creek which the waterfall stream flows into.
As a group we decided to split into two; one group going back up the trail we came and the other group going to explore another creek with waterfalls and blaze a new way back to the top. The exploration group was met with a great workout! Super steep sections of the woods along the waterfalls made it so you had to grab at small trees and lunge your way up! (No trail). Once the forest finally leveled out, we pulled up a log and ate our sandwiches and snacks. Some even found an ale treat in their bag to drink the reward of the climb!
The two groups linked up back at the top, bought some souvenirs, then we all marched back to camp. Fire was started, beers were popped, and food was prepared!
Before dark, we went up and climbed the fire tower--those views were amazing as well!
In the evening, we walked to the camp pub and played some games, had a shot for celebration of Dave's birthday, and we danced!
Around 3am, all nestled down in our sleeping bags in the tents, there was a stirring outside! Sounded like one of the dogs went tearing after an animal right through the tents. In the morning we quickly realized that the animal was a skunk! It must have been a light spray, but it "lightly" sprayed just about everything around! Even pillows and sleeping bags inside the tents had the smell!
We showered up, packed up, and headed to the other side of the Gorge for a good-bye hike. On the other side of the gorge at Colton Point State Park, the cliffs were severely steep! If anyone were to fall there, that would probably be a game ender. There is a neat trail that follows right on the edge of the canyon's rim which was wonderful. Tighter trails, less touristy, and many more views of the gorge. This is the side to be on to do some "real" hiking. There were a couple really neat (and dangerous!) rocks that jetted out over the views for a nice picture. Unless you're like myself and are afraid of heights; I was the cameraman for the others!
We did a nice loop and met at the cars. After a quick discussion we decided to share one last meal together on the way home in Wellsboro, PA at The Timeless Destination. It was a very nice place for the little town that it is!
One thing I love about friends in this group, is everyone can't seem to get enough of each other! Often times on a weekend trip everyone wants to get up first thing Sunday morning and bolt for home. It brings me a smile that we still all want to hike together, eat together, and keeping hanging out. I also love seeing the difference between everyone on day 1 and the final day; the contrast between the two, and how much closer of friends everyone becomes. Thanks guys for a great weekend! The Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania is definitely a great one to check out and make a weekend of if you've never seen it! Until next time, Happy Trails!