Mount Davis: Pennsylvania's Highest Point

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Mt. Davis

Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of visiting Mount Davis, Pennsylvania with a couple of Pittsburgh-based friends of mine.

Mount Davis is the highest point in Pennsylvania, but you wouldn't know that if you stood there and didn't take a close look at its commemorative plaques. Surrounded by forest, the high point offers no sweeping vistas.

Even driving to the summit doesn't feel particularly special. Nearby towns are already at 2,000 feet, so ascending an extra 1,200 feet by car isn't all that particularly dramatic. (Mount Davis is part of a longer ridgeline which extends south into Maryland where it is very unfortunately-named Negro Mountain, which state legislators have failed at renaming.)

All is not for naught, though. Mount Davis High Point is home to a parking lot, a set of relatively short hiking trails, and some commemorative plaques.

Most importantly, it is home to an observation tower, which provides an expansive view of the surroundings.

Mt. Davis

James Buchanan's Birthplace

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The pyramid, as cinemotagraphic as I can photograph it.

In the early days of November 2020, we were all subjected to a multi-day anxiety attack. Votes trickled in, but no one knew what would happen. We held our breath as states slowly changed color, and news anchors told us it was too close to call.

And then, rather unexpectedly, on Saturday November 7th -- four days after Tuesday's vote, Pennsylvania was officially called as a blue state. Joe Biden officially became the 46th President-elect of the United States.

The bar for Biden is rather low.

I cannot imagine that it will be challenging to be less divisive, and more responsible, respectful, and professional than Donald Trump.

I also cannot imagine that Biden will not be regarded as the best Pennsylvania-born president in history.

Up until now, there has only been one President whose birthplace was Pennsylvania.

Unfortunately for my home state, and for the nation, that man was James Buchanan.

I visited James Buchanan Birthplace State Park on Saturday. I will discuss the man and the place in this post.

Old Logger's Path

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Okay, so I finally, finally, finally got around to doing some really serious solo hiking/camping.

I hiked Old Logger's Path, a 27.31-mile loop trail in the Loyalsock State Forest, up in Lycoming County in North Central Pennsylvania.

I spent the first four days of October there, Thursday night to Sunday morning.

This is the first time I went backpacking (hiking and then camping overnight) since... 2013, when I hiked a section of the St. Paul trail with my friend and classmate Allison, which basically consisted of a really scenic hike up a mountain, and where I made some incredibly stupid choices, such as... somehow carrying more lemonade on me than actual water.

Fortunately, I've learnt from my experiences.

Enough to backpack solo?

Warning: a LOT of images follow, which is part of why it took me so long to finish this post.

More of this view to follow...
More of this view to follow...

Six Penny Trail (French Creek State Park)

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The sign for the trail.

The Six-Penny trail is another loop trail in French Creek State Park. It is longer and more scenic than the sedate Turtle Trail, as it passes both the Six Penny creek, and some ruins of old campsites.

The trail was also much less trafficked when I was on it, perhaps owing to the need to take a short hike to the trailhead itself.

The Turtle Trail (French Creek State Park)

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Fall overtook Summer, leaves began falling, and the amount of light in a day started its decrease.

A typical view along the trail, closer to sundown. Any other photos I have are very similar to this one.
A typical view along the trail, closer to sundown. Any other photos I have are very similar to this one.

The last one of these facts was a little bit of a concern for me, as I slipped out to hike the Turtle Trail at French Creek State Park on a Wednesday evening in late September.

I started hiking after work around 5:30PM or so, meaning that I had until sundown to finish, which was definitely doable.

It's roughly a four mile loop, though there are folks on the internet who claimed that they hiked it and it was twice as long.

It turns out, the trail is actually about a four mile loop. It's well-marked, and I really can't fathom how people would hike here and make these claims. Maybe they got lost or have really inaccurate fitbits?

The trail was popular with cyclists & dogwalkers, and no one else. This is understandable, because it is not particularly scenic and lacks basically any features worth describing, but is easy to access and is not too challenging for those uses.

Simply put, it's an alright trail.