Sunday, January 4, 2009

Horseshoe Trail (Chester County)

Is was a mid-30 degree, gray day, but I wanted to get out again especially in anticipation for a repeat of Saturday.

I've been researching the State Game Lands #43 which fringe Berks, but are primarily in Chester county. These three fragmented lands border either French Creek State Park, Hopewell Village, Crows Nest Preserve and St. Peters Village. The Horseshoe Trail passes through two of the three land bodies.

We parked on Trythall Road then went west. Immediately off the trail on the right is a pond which appears to be part of a campgrounds. At this point, the trail was a former railroad bed which is flat and wide. I find some of these old beds rather uninteresting so when the trail splinters off I was happy to be in the woods. On one side of the trail was SGL and the other side was the Crow's Nest Preserve. I can just imagine the deer, on non-hunting Crows Nest land, taunting the hunters on Public hunting land.

Shortly off the railroad bed, Max and I had a stream crossing which may be easy for horses with 48" legs, but no so for mini dachshunds' with 3" legs. I gathered him up then hopped across 4 rocks which fortunately were not ice covered.

We followed the Horseshoe Trail up over a hill until it came to a field, just a few hundred yards from Northside Road. I didn't want to go past the road so we turned and headed back. Max fell behind and acted disinterested, signs that he was tired and/or cold.

After about a mile we were back to the car and I unlocked the doors to let in Max. Suddenly, he caught a scent and pulled me back to the Horseshoe Trail heading east. This too was former railroad tracks, but nature had reclaimed most of it except for a narrow path.

I was fully ready to head home for the outing was uneventful up to this point, but so glad when Max caught his second wind. Right away, I could tell this leg of the journey was going to be different.

Meandering next to the trail was the Mine Run stream. In about a half mile we came upon an aged railroad bridge. The bed was a combination of nothing and rotten scraps of plywood, but still had plenty of structure to be safely crossed.

The bridge was cool, but the stream running under it was awesome. Small islands, big rocks, moss, reflections, ice, and great trees made this a destination point. My day was now complete, so we headed back to the car and home in time to watch the Eagles game.

Total walk was over 3 miles.

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