Last year, Sarah and I hiked at McCormick’s Creek State Park, in southern Indiana, with my family. That day was unusually warm, at 47 degrees — I wore a sweater, for a hike on Christmas day!
Well, it looks like the Christmas hike is becoming a tradition. This year was a lot different, as it was just Sarah and me, and here in NE Pennsylvania, we had snow and ice to contend with. We both were (and still are) sick, but it was great to get out anyway.
We went down to Nescopeck State Park, where mom and I hiked when she came to help us move in. Sarah and I had never been there together. We decided to hike the Creekside Trail, and now that we have done a little snowshoeing, we felt confident enough to bring the dog with us.
Wide trail, mountains
Another view of the creek
Rob, running alongside the creek
The trail was wide and easy for a while. It had snowed, warmed up, and then re-froze, so there was a fairly thick layer of ice on top of the remaining snow. It was very slick, but no real problem with our snowshoes. The crampons dig into the ice and have a very strong grip.
There was one thing we hadn’t counted on, though, that caused us some problems: with all the melting snow came some flooding. Parts of the trail were underwater, and we had to find a way to cross the water where it wasn’t too wide.
A thin layer of ice hovered above the water
Sarah found a good way to cross flooding in a couple of different places. She was a really good sport about it. We managed to step over/through the water without getting wet.
We reached a point where we were ostensibly supposed to continue in the direction we had been heading. However, the arrow pointing to the Creek Side Loop in that direction had been painted over, and there was no trail visible. We had to instead head back on the Fern Trail.
What happened to the trail on the left?
Another view of the creek
The icy/muddy/slushy Fern Trail
At one point as we hiked, Rob was clearly watching some kind of animal. Eventually a rabbit jumped up and Rob took chase. He didn’t catch it, but it was good to see Rob acting like more of a dog (he normally just lays on the couch).
Rob, stalking a rabbit
Shortly thereafter, we saw some tracks that I can only assume were bear tracks, unless there was some kind of bow-legged guy with weird boots hiking there previously. Can anyone confirm this?
Bear tracks, maybe?
After a while, the Fern Trail reconnected with the Creekside Trail, and we headed back toward the car.
Sarah and Rob
Back at the car
We really enjoyed our hike, despite the flooding problems and disappearing trail. I hope we can keep the Christmas hike tradition alive, as it’s a great way to celebrate the holiday and spend some quality time together.