Beginning in mid-March, the trail-marker teams have been out on the Susquehannock Trail System measuring each mile and putting up mileage markers. This involves running a measuring wheel every foot of the trail while the team also cleared what they could with loppers and hand saws.
After each section was covered, a report was sent on what, if anything, remained to be cleared on that section. Usually some of our maintainers were able to go out and clear the larger blowdowns that were encountered, so most sections have been pretty much cleared.
Hikers will find a round disc with the mile number on it, on each side of a tree (sometimes one disc will be on a nearby tree), numbered 1 through 83, going clockwise around the loop, the same direction the guidebooks cover. If hiking it counter-clockwise, the numbers will be in a descending order.
Hikers should find this helpful, knowing how far they have traveled and how far they have yet to go. It will also be very helpful to the maintainers when problems are reported, as we will know almost exactly where the problem is.
The Hammersley stretch has yet to be measured and marked, but probably will be done by the time you read this. Club President Wanda Shirk took the lead on this project, accompanied most of the way by Lori Szymanik and Susie Gribble and, at times, by various others, including Baylee Hazel-Klimek, Curt and Penny Weinhold, Joe and Barb Allis, Carol Szymanik, Larry Holtzapple, Doug Wetherbee, Heather Klimek, Corrie Amick, Tom Oliver, John Zimmer and Dawn Bieser.
Meanwhile many others have been out working on the trail, with every one of the 20 maintenance sections receiving some attention. A great many blowdowns have been removed, countless limbs lopped, some signs renewed, quite a few benches placed at various spots, a lot of blazing renewed and the log bridge over Greenlick Run finished.
Now hikers will find no wet crossings of Greenlick Run; cross this one bridge and the trail runs all the way to Italian Hollow on the west side of the run. This was a combined KTA/STC effort, as the Donut Hole Trail and the STS run concurrently through this area for about eight miles.
We of the STC feel that we are fortunate to have quite a robust trail maintainer team to look after the STS. We usually have around 50 people on our email list, and when a problem arises or a project is planned, we can usually get a team together to deal with it.
Some trail systems are not that fortunate, and that’s where the KTA comes in. Each year they plan around 15-17 trail care events all over the state. Some of this year’s events are being canceled on account of the virus threat.
For fans of the great outdoors, the Pennsylvania state forests and the multitude of trails are a blessing. It’s about the ultimate in social-distancing, and you are getting great exercise and clean air in the bargain.
You do realize that trees take in carbon dioxide and give off oxygen, right? So maybe that’s why you always feel better when out in the woods.
I still hear about some people who are afraid of things like bears for example. I believe your fear is almost totally uncalled for. If a bear sees, hears or smells you, it is off to the races away from you. You are very fortunate to even get a glimpse of a bear.
I say “almost” because there’s no guarantee that someday, someone won’t encounter one that is having a bad day — but I seriously doubt it. So guard against ticks and get out there.