About a month after my tour with Diane, my husband Matt and I left home on the two-day PA State Park Tour #5. The first park we visited this day was Shikellamy State Park along Route 15. I had visited this park many years ago as a child with my very good friend Katie (who grew up in Elmira) and her mother’s family. That day we picnicked at the upper park overlooking Northumberland and I remember being fascinated with the charcoal pits where the hot coals were to be placed after cooking. Those charcoal pits are still there and I have seen them in other parks as well although they don’t hold the same fascination for me any longer. On this trip we visited the upper park and enjoyed the view on a clear August day. When we left Shikellamy I had to retrace our path as I had forgotten to get off the highway in Milton on our way down. Milton State Park is located along the Susquehanna River and is a day-use only park. I used the bathrooms which were fairly new and in great condition (as is the general condition of every state park bathroom I have used!)
Leaving Milton and heading to our next park was a welcome change in scenery and pace as we got off highways and eventually drove into state forest land. Sand Bridge State Park is another day-use only park yet proved to be a lovely spot with a babbling brook, lush greenery, a new pavilion and bathrooms. It seems as though there has been some recent efforts to upgrade most day-use parks’ bathroom facilities. Not too far from Sand Bridge is Raymond B Winter State Park where we had hoped to camp. After driving through the camp ground twice, I decided to drive the short distance to Ravensburg and set up camp there. Along the route to Ravensburg we passed a Bald Eagle State Forest office and snapped a photo. With only 12 camp sites at Ravensburg, we fully expected to be alone at the camp ground however a group of volunteers was gathering there for a weekend of trail clean-up on the Mid-State Trail. This was the first time Matt had camped with me in my tent and the excursion would have been non-noteworthy had Matt not disturbed a nest of ground bees while chopping fire wood. He got stung a number of times but luckily I found one Benadryl in my purse that relieved his pain.
The following morning after packing up we drove from Ravensburg to RB Winter and in between we found McCall’s Dam State Park where there is no park sign and no dam! We had driven past the park the day before but without a sign of any kind I wasn’t convinced where I was. Having no sign made it rather difficult to determine where to take the photo of proof and I really ought to leave this park on my list for a future visit with hopes for a sign. It was a beautiful day when we reached RB Winter and we spent some time investigating the park. We agreed we would like to return to here in the future with our camper.
The drive from RB Winter to our next park was a long drive over hills and into valleys and through lush state forest land. By the time we reached Poe Valley State we knew we were running short on time but the beautiful sight of the lake and the new bath house were enough to make us want to linger. This park is high on a hill far from everything and very peaceful. Poe Paddy State Park is a few miles from Poe Valley and has a rustic camp ground. We did nothing more than drive through the park in effort to make it to our last park of the day and have our evening meal.
At Reeds Gap State Park we set up our small grill in the picnic area and made a quick, hot meal to re-energize ourselves. The map I had (outdated) indicated a swimming pool at Reeds Gap but it had since been removed and the old bathhouse was still standing unused. We determined the pool must have been old and rather than replace it, the DCNR put the money into upgrading facilities at Poe Valley a few miles away.
When we left Reeds Gap I decided to travel toward State College to come home and we drove through some beautiful farm country. One town we passed through had the narrowest main road I have ever seen with barely room for a sidewalk between road & house/building. You could easily imagine the town in the days before the automobile. We also saw the “dotted roadway” near State College which I found very interesting. If you’ve never driven near State College these large white dots on the road are meant to keep you at a safe distance from the car ahead of you in this hilly region where it’s difficult to see far ahead and traffic congestion is a real concern during certain hours of the day.
Home with twenty-eight state parks and five state forests checked off my list.