A few weeks back we decided a trip to the mountains in Pennsylvania were in order. We’ve been keeping at home quite a bit and needed a release of sorts that was a bit further from home. We decided to head to the State College area, an area we’d like to spend more time in. The scenery in the area is very unique and different from that in other parts of the state.
After some research, we decided on neat sounding trail that followed a stream for a little ways before climbing up to the highest point on the SST. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize the water would come at the end. It was bright and sunny and to be honest, those aren’t my favorite conditions to take photos in. There were no clouds in the sky, it just bright blue with little interest. So I made the decision to hike without my gear.
The hike began through a hardwood forest and almost immediately started to ascend. There wasn’t much snow left on the trail except for a few patchy spots that were very icy and made it hard to get footing. The ascent was roughly 2 miles and steep to the very top to meet a fire tower and the highest point on the SST. From here we took another spur trail back down that was even rockier and steeper than the way up! This dropped us off on a gravel forest road that was a solid sheet of ice. By the time we got back to the car we’ve logged 7 very hard miles in the cold and made one dire mistake … we didn’t take any water!! Duh ..
Late in the afternoon and I was still looking for photo opportunities, I decided to check the sunset forecast. Some clouds had come into the sky and I thought it would be perfect for a nice sunset before the next day’s snowstorm if the weather wanted to cooperate.
Driving to the lake at Whipple Dam State Park, I didn’t realize the park was in a valley of sorts surrounded by forest. The forest roads were icy and I slid a few times before finding a spot right next to the lake. It was completely frozen over which allowed me to take a few steps on the ice. All I could do now was wait and hope that the nice clouds I saw would be visible from my location and color would light up the sky. Luckily for me, this lake sunset did not disappoint.
Be safe going out in nature during the winter and during this time, mask up, save others.