View Full Version : Three days on the Raccoon Loop (apologies to Tipi Walter)

01-17-2017, 22:00
Faced with a three day weekend and my wife away on a trip, Idid the logical thing – went hiking. Someof us don’t have exotic trails nearby – I decided on the Raccoon Loop inRaccoon Creek State Park near Pittsburgh.

Day 0, Friday 13 January – with a 4 AM ticket counter timeon Saturday morning for an international flight, to reduce the potentialfailure modes (car wouldn’t start, bridge/tunnel problem, accident on theParkway, etc) we stayed at the Pittsburgh Airport Hyatt within walking distanceof the ticket counters. Dinner at arestaurant and a king sized bed for the night.

Day 1, Saturday 14 January – got to the ticket counter, lefther at security and went back to the hotel and bed for a couple of hours. Drove the rest of the way to RC SP, car thermometerwas 28*. Each half of the loop is about10 miles, I decided to do the SE portion around the lake first. I started there because when I was here lastAugust I didn’t complete the whole loop – I short cut to the beach concessionfor a hamburger and coke. The HeritageTrail portion has a very nice pine plantation. There is about a half mile road walk on the Forest Trail because a foot bridgeover Traverse Creek is still out.

I saw the only other backpackers of the weekend on theForest Trail, two guys – from NY and OH – who decided to meet up at Raccoon fora hike. It was about 2:30, they weregoing the opposite direction and planned to stay at the same place that I was –about 2 miles for me and 10 for them. When I saw them on Sunday, they told me that they got in at 10 PM.

I put up my BA CS 1 at the Souix Campground. Part of the reason to go hiking was to testmy Christmas present, a ThermaRest ProLite Plus. I stacked up my ZLite Sol, reflectix roll andthe ProLite for a total R of about 7. Iwasn’t cold from the ground at all. Dinner was rehydrated beef stroganoff from the Hungry Hammock Hanger, Irecommend it. Dark was early, like 5 PM,I was in the tent and bag by 8 and asleep not much later. Total for the day 12 miles.

Day 2, Sunday 15 January – wakeup was at 0620 with the firstdeparture from the airport. Breakfastwas rehydrated Cheesey Creamy Potatoes with bacon, good but not worth theeffort compared to instant mashed potatoes and bacon. Sunday’s hike was around the NW loop about 8miles to the Pioneer campground. Dinnerwas chicken Isle Royale, I’d made it before but this time it was disappointing. I was in the tent and bag by 6 PM and read untilabout 10. Sunday night seemed colderthan Saturday (although both were about 23*) so I put on merino 200 bottoms undermy UnderArmor, warmed my legs up nicely.

Day 3, Monday 16 January – wakeup was a bit later. Breakfast was mashed potatoes and bacon andit was good. The hike was just about 4miles to my car at the Park HQ, car thermometer was 37*. A hiker feed was held at the first McD on theway back to the city.

Total for the weekend was 24 miles and completion of theRaccoon Loop.

I like the ThermaRest but it’s bulky to pack.