Quehanna Trail and Historic CCC Cabin

Friday, June 15th, 2012
Quehanna Trailhead
We’re back from backpacking on the Quehanna Trail in the Moshannon State Forest and a restorative week at our historic CCC cabin at Elliott State Park. The Quehanna Trail was a simple four day loop originating at Parker Dam State Park and returning there four days later. We started hiking the same day that we drove from Philadelphia, so we actually set out at 4 pm and did five miles before finding a site about 6:30 pm. Because the total map distance of the West Loop is only about eighteen miles, we did a number of side trips along the way, bringing our total mileage to about twenty-five miles. Not much mileage for some hikers (I’ve done as much in a four hour marathon), but our goal is to appreciate the experience, do some mushrooming and foraging along the way, and enjoy our time sharing this together. We’re not destination or mileage focused; we're out to enjoy nature and wilderness. We encountered no other hikers the entire trip (these were weekdays in early June – not a busy time). Incidentally, we didn’t encounter hikers when we did our day hikes the next week, from the cabin.

 Weather was pleasant, dropping into the 40’s at night (the low 40’s one night), and not too hot in the daytime. It rained intermittently a couple of nights, but nothing that affected us (pleasant to hear it on the tent). Lots of communing with nature (we did not see any fracking, but at one point could hear something in the distance). We started an au natur frolic in Saunder’s Run, but cut this somewhat short when we discovered how freezing cold the water actually was (remember that painting September Morn – the model was probably shivering in freezing cold water, but they never tell you that part). We returned mid-day of the fourth day, in time to drive ten miles into town and have a nice lunch and get supplies for the coming week in our CCC cabin at Eliot State Park.

Incidentally, Fran hiked with a cast on her right hand, while her two broken bones were recovering from a fall while hiking to Pittsburgh two weeks earlier.

The Cabin (#4 of 6, set off by themselves in the woods) was perfect for us. One large room, with twin fireplaces (inside one and outside one, on the substantial stone porch). There are pictures that will tell you more. It was ideally located for setting out for day hiking on various trails nearby. We also drove one day to Parker Dam and hiked on trails there (including Fran’s attack in the blazing sun on a very steep mountain grade that followed a power line cut, followed at the top by our blazing a trail through everything imaginable to find the “short cut” that would get us back to Parker Dam in time for the ranger’s presentation and a cup of his sweet fern tea (Fran’s sweet fern tea was better). Another day we drove to Elk Country and hiked there and indeed saw an elk (but not at the formal elk blind, where there were no elk).

After a wonderful week, we returned via Lock Haven, for lunch with my good friend Jim Bean. We also stopped by Cabela's, one of the largest camping/hunting stores on the East Coast, but they did not carry any of the stick stoves that have become Fran’s interest. Fran constructed one of her own design while we were at the cabin and tested it successfully.