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View Full Version : Raccoon Creek State Park - 14-16 Aug 2015



RangerZ
08-19-2015, 21:13
I spent last weekend in Raccoon Creek State Park in western PA. Itís not the AT but itís handy. The weather was nice and my wife worked all weekend so I took off for the woods just to get some nights under nylon.

The camp sites are only in the northern half of the SP, you have to reserve sites from the PA DCNR ($4 a night for PA residents). Somebody had my favorite site at Sioux for Friday night so I hiked through to Pioneer. It hadnít rained recently so the trails were dry. I didnít see anyone on the trail Friday night; there was a father/daughter team at Pioneer for the night. Temps were 86/59; I put the rain fly on my tent but folded it up to allow the air in.

Saturday morning I spoke with the father/daughter team Ė he was prepping to hike the Shenandoah in October, his pack was 60 pounds and he was having a hard time getting his stove lit for breakfast. I moved out, counterclockwise around the loop, the distances werenít great - only about 17 miles for the whole weekend Ė the point was to be out. I saw more people on Saturday than Iíve ever seen at Raccoon. There were two scout troops, the Friends of Raccoon Creek SP, several couples and another father/daughter team.

One goal of the trip was to carry less water (weight) and resupply as needed. I ran out and resupplied at the next creek that was flowing. Traverse Creek was flowing, its first order tribs were flowing or trickling and its second order tribs were trickling or dry. I filtered and treated two liters, had lunch and talked with people as they passed by.

I walked into Sioux through the car camping area, me with 30 pounds or so on my back and them with their SUVs full of ďstuffĒ. I tanked up on city water, got to the backpack area relatively early and found one of the scout troops there.

They were in the front of the area in sites 1-3, I thought I had site 2 but when I pulled out my reservation form I found that I had it reserved for Sunday not Saturday. [The PA DCNR reservation site was good until they improved it earlier this year.] Without a fuss the scouts picked up and moved a tent to make space for me toward the back of the area. I have no bad comments about the scouts, they were organized and quiet. I didnít get the troop number but it was from Warren, Ohio.

Saturdayís temps were 87/64, again I folded the rain fly up but lowered it when we got some thunder rumble. It didnít rain overnight. Both nights it was warm enough to sleep on top of my poncho liners in my long base layer.

At Raccoon Creek SP you get a 0630 or so wake up from the first departures from Greater Pitt airport. Sunday AM I got up and made breakfast while the scouts pretty quietly packed up, policed the area and left. I walked back out to the park HQ. The Friends of Raccoon Creek SP were there getting organized for a trail care day.

Lesson learned: Using your pack as a pillow is a good idea Ė if your reservoir fill port is tightly sealed, otherwise itís not a good idea. My Sea to Summit Aeros lightweight pillow should arrive this Friday.

The Hungry Hammock Hangerís Chili-Mac recipe is good: http://hungryhammockhanger.com/styled-4/index.html . Zatarainís jambalaya with a Spam single is good but not as good as the real thing in NOLA.

Thereís no trail magic but there was a hiker feed at the first McDonaldís on the way home.

Score: Miles = 17+/-, falls = 0, snakes/deer/varmints = 0, teenie tiny toads = 1

gonegonzo
01-26-2016, 12:19
Ranger Z ,

I live about 30 minutes from RSP . I'm just getting back into backpacking after a 15 year hiatus ( feet issues) . Tired of being a prisoner of pain I now am taking he approach of ignoring it and taking my life back .

Never the less , I have some training to catch up on for hiking more serious hikes . Would you consider RSP to be a good training ground for getting back into hiking shape ?

If my plan works , I want to do a couple of WV shake out hikes and one week of hiking the AT as a section .

Gonzo

Trance
01-26-2016, 12:28
I live very close to RSP.

I hike it extensively in March-April as I prepare for my longer hikes each year, and just recently trained there for my completion of the Tahoe Rim trail. My personal best on the park loop trail is 7hrs. The park loop is very mildly used... especially this time of year. Start early, and be ready for mud. You can get a map at some trailheads and also at the ranger station for free.

If you are looking for a good hike try the loop trail... it's 22-24 miles if I remember correctly.... covers the Heritage/Forest/Appaloosa trails. If a smaller hike.... try the Heritage trail from the Mineral Springs. A word of warning however..... I have had multiple ticks on my pants, latched on to my arms, and all over my dog when I have taken him there. Sometimes the forest trail is extremely over grown with a few blowdowns that you have to bushwhack around.

Other great trails to train on would be McConnells Mill area, the Laurel Highlands trail starting from south to north, Coopers Rock down by Morgan town, and also the Rachael Carson trail. None of these areas are like hiking the whites or North Carolina mountains.... but they are great fior endurance training and that goes a long way.

RangerZ
01-26-2016, 13:40
Ranger Z ,

I live about 30 minutes from RSP . I'm just getting back into backpacking after a 15 year hiatus ( feet issues) . Tired of being a prisoner of pain I now am taking he approach of ignoring it and taking my life back .

Never the less , I have some training to catch up on for hiking more serious hikes . Would you consider RSP to be a good training ground for getting back into hiking shape ?

If my plan works , I want to do a couple of WV shake out hikes and one week of hiking the AT as a section .

Gonzo


When I started backpacking again I used Raccoon as a place to train up and shake things out. The trails are obvious and well marked, and the hills mild. I don't like the mud, in some locations the trail is the drainage, but that's all part of it. It's a close and easy get away. It's real close to Wellsville.

Get a map and look at the trails. There are loops north (10+ miles) and south (10++ miles, I don't remember) of PA 18. The camp sites are on the north loop, the tenting areas are easy and the shelters ok, you have to reserve a site. I prefer tenting to the shelters. Privy and portalet, well and city water. Plenty of streams for water also. Park at the park headquarters on PA 18, there's soda machines and porcelain.

Depending on what time I get out there, I hike the north loop clockwise (longer) or counterclockwise (shorter) to a campsite. I then hike the southern loop and back to a camp if I have the whole next day. Then hike out the third day. There are enough internal trails to add distance to your hike.

Trance's suggestions for other trails are good. My first mild weather spring hike might be to the Kennerdell tract up the Allegheny River. It looks like only a 10 mile loop and has some hills. Oil Creek state park has a good loop also with hills. The Northeast Ohio Backpacking club seems active, as is the SW PA Backpackers.


PM me if you'd like to try to get together. I try to get out once a month and could jump on an opportunity in February if it's only cold and dry - Tipi Walter I'm not.

gonegonzo
01-27-2016, 01:29
Trance & Ranger Z,

Thx for the input . I'm very close to RSP I know . I appreciate the trail suggestions Trance . It sounds like a good training ground . That's what I need after being out of commission so long .

Ranger Z >>> it would be good to get out sometime in February . I'm good a mid 30's and sunny for just starting out . As I mentioned above , I have feet issues (neuropathy) and don't want to hold anyone up on the trail . I can hike at my own pace in hopes of building the speed and endurance I once had . It's a matter of will power at this point of warding off the pain .

I'm going out Thursday at Beaver Creek State Park here in Ohio . It will be my first in about 15 years . I'm excited about it so as to see how well I can do . So , as for scheduling a day to hike at RSP , let me see what/how I can do on Thursday . If all goes well , I'd love to get out as much as possible .


I'll touch base with you here after Thursday .

Thx ,
Gonzo

RangerZ
01-27-2016, 08:46
If you can, determine the distance you do tomorrow and keep track of the time. Keep track of the trail conditions/pack weight/etc and your pace. Scott Jurek I'm not, for planning purposes I use 1.5 MPH as a fully loaded/hills pace (but typically do better than that), 2+ MPH light load/over hill and dale, and 3 MPH on good flat trail.

I could day hike the last three weekends in February, overnight the last two weekends. (First weekend is our Mardi Gras party, I may be the only guy in PGH that celebrates MG; the second weekend is Valentines Day, I want to preserve the domestic tranquility.)

Lurk here, every question has been asked and answered.

I may have some of the same conditions as you but not to a degree that it bothers me.