Purchases of our 2024 PA Calendar and PA Amusement Parks Book

2024 PA Calendar and PA Amusement Parks Book Purchase Options


Roaring Run Natural Area Hiking Trails: Laurel Highlands, Forbes State Forest: Creek Crossings, Wildflowers, Woods & Great Elevation Changes

Roaring Run Natural Area in Forbes State Forest and the Laurel Highlands is a fantastic place to hike. Thousands of acres that include very steep ascents up to rocky outcroppings, and descents into creek valleys and dozens of creek crossings at valley level. Wear a pair of boots that you don't mind getting soaked, because they will get soaked. This natural area is on the hill heading up to Seven Springs Ski Area, and adjacent to Hidden Valley Ski Area. In the spring, it has great opportunities for checking out wildflowers. In the summer, the hike is very well shaded, breezy, and involves crossing a beautiful mountain stream to cool off. If you have a pup that loves to hike and wade in the water, this is a fantastic place to go. This hike offers a little bit of everything that you often find on hikes across the state and the views are pretty dramatic. The land encompassed by the natural area is a mix of clear cut land and farm fields reverting back to nature. The trail in the creek valley was the grade of an old mountain logging railroad. Certain areas were not cut due to lower lumber quality oaks and hard accessibility, so forest age is pretty varied. Overall though, this is a fantastic place to go spend an afternoon relaxing in the woods, for it is within an hour of Pittsburgh. This beautiful property was purchased by the Western PA Conservancy and transferred to the state. 
The hikes are varied, offering a glimpse of most of the different kinds of hiking conditions that you run into across the state and it is extremely scenic. If you took a "core sample" of what the state has to offer in a hike, you would find just about every kind of condition in this location. 

You also get a glimpse at this site of what the landscapes of Hidden Valley and Seven Springs Ski Resorts would look like without the development. In the spring, the hollows and hillsides in many areas are covered in spring wildflowers, especially trillium.  We hiked about 15 miles and it was a challenging, varied, fun, and sometimes treacherous hike, especially at the dozens of creek crossings. 

Early spring shows a green and colorful blanket of fresh shoots of spring flowers. In my opinion, spring, summer, and fall wildflowers are more exciting than autumn color change, because they always deliver and offer such a stark contrast to the dormancy of winter in the Pennsylvania forests.
Beautiful trillium.

CeCe loving those creek crossings.

This hike is well worth checking out. It is varied enough to cover most of the types of hiking conditions that you will find anywhere within the state, and the wildflowers are fantastic. It is also very easily accessible from most points within western PA, including just an hour drive from Pittsburgh. 



A Relaxing Early Spring Day on the Beach at Presque Isle in Erie

I usually go for more structure in an article, but today I decided to loosen up a little bit and do something different. It was an April day that was unseasonably warm, with temps up in the 80s, which ended up being just shy of the overall record for the day in Pittsburgh and western PA. Morning came along and we wanted to do something. We headed up to Erie to do one of our favorite things on a warm day, spend a day on the beaches at Presque Isle State Park. 

Naturally because it was just coming out of winter, the water was still frigidly in the 30s and the air temps were also significantly cooler out on the peninsula due to winds from the lake, but it was a lovely spring day and way to cool off from a quick heat wave/ 

CeCe, being all about play as usual.
"Hmmmmm waves. What do I do with these things?"
We dipped our feet in for half a second before we could feel the hypothermia already kicking in like pins and needles, so swimming this early in the year is not only a no go, but dangerous as well, but we knew we would not be swimming anyways. 

We sat out on the beach, played, CeCe explored, and Brit flew a kite. Sara's Drive in had just opened back up for the year. It had been a long pandemic winter and getting out on a weekend like this was just perfect. 

This was just a perfect day and relaxing days like this are what really sticks out in memories. Hopefully seeing the fun we had lifts your spirits a little bit.
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