On the afternoon of January 12, 2019, air temp was around 27 Fahrenheit, no wind, and pretty dry day. I have figured it would be a good day for a roughly 4 mile hike in the area of Rothrock State Forest I did not visit before. In the area of Greenwood Furnace State Park, one can take a bit of Standing Stone Trail, gradually climbing onto Stone Mountain, then take Turkey trail to descend the mountain and finally take Lorence and Monsell trails back to the parking lot, and that what I did – If you care to know how it was – Read Ahead !
Somewhere in the eastern part of Rothrock State Forest by the route 305 there is Greenwood Furnace State Park. The lengthy Stone Mountain cuts right through the park going from north east onto south west or in opposite direction, depending on one’s point of view. In just 4 miles hike, one can climb small section of Stone Mountain and witness a powerful view to south west. To do that you would take Standing Stones trail roughly 2 miles to the vista and another 2 back, or you could continue down through Turkey trail followed by Lorence and Monsell trails, and that what I opted to in my hike on that fine Saturday afternoon.
1. From one of many Greenwood Furnace State Park parking lots we start walking Standing Stone Trail (SST) – for a long while it is an old road that gradually climbs onto Stone Mountain
2. After a bit of a climb, to the left side of SST one can gaze upon some creek and a lot of dead trees – it does look dangerous, yet it has some interesting sense of uniqueness to it
3. Looking to the right of SST, one can observe rising slope of Stone Mountain with many dead trees once again, some of which have a pretty artistic look to it I would say
4. Somewhere along SST we come upon artistic carving of sorts on a tree that was sliced long time ago
5. The old road continues ahead but SST makes a sharp turn to the right
6. For roughly next half of a mile the climb continues to be graduate, but it is more of a hiking trail now with lots of moss
7. And then SST started to become rocky
8. A bit further and the trail start looking very similar to famous Thousand Steps Trail, about which I would perhaps tell you one day in another photo story.
9. The incline is not that steep, but it is rocky
10. Along the trail there is a lot of dead wood covered with moss making for truly unique atmosphere perhaps only available in the particular season
11. Moments later, we come to Stone Valley Vista and meet two other hikers enjoying the view.
12. The view itself is pretty powerful for the place such as Rothrock State Forest, and likely could offer unique sights if it visited in the fall or in rare time when the valley is white with snow
13. The hikers, Nikhil and Thaddeus, who are both students of Electrical Engineering in Penn State University happen to be avid hikers, which makes this meeting truly awesome. In the moment of writing this photostory, I happen to know roughly 10+ people interested in hikes, but none of them really have time to hike more or less regularly, and these guys said that they try to hike at least 2 times per month – looking forward to possible hikes with them in the future.
14. Well, it is register time. Often, trail registers are used to help potential rescue party to locate someone who got lost in the woods. However, in some of places, people just use it to share with others things they have on their mind at the moment.
15. Looking through register, I have realized that SST is heavily traveled place, and what people happened to write in the particular register was pretty diversified – some just give you their names, others share their mood with you, some would express their existential views, and some would simply tell you of their plans ahead – see for yourself
16. Done with the register, we continue our hike on SST, and are greeted with a bit of “jungles” – those ever green bushes are pretty common for Rothrock area
17. A bit of gradual downhill, and it is time to part our ways with SST and go right down Turkey trail.
18. Turkey trail becomes relatively steep pretty fast and of my buddies, Mike, decides to descent in a swift running style.
19. Myself and my older pal Paul follow in much slower pace
20. After a short semi-steep section, Turkey trail goes into series of switchbacks
21. Mossy areas come back
22. And then the trail changes into something different – I would think it would be interesting to see how this place looks in the fall foliage time
23. Steepness of the trail increases allowing Mike to do his swift descent once more
24. Well, Turkey trail is finally over and now we go onto Lorence-Monsell trails leading back to where we started our hike
25. This area has a lot of tall trees. Now the wide lens usually make things to look different, but in this case the particular tree, Mike is walking towards, was indeed very tall
26. What can I say, now you know, I am the fan of mossy areas, that’s all
27. A bit later, we come to few crossings of the small streams – trail starting to get a bit wet, but nothing challenging really.
28. Such crystallized frozen water was actually in many, many places of a lower sections surrounding Stone Mountain.
29. That was it, but it would be unfair to finish my photo story without mentioning my hike buddies, Paul and Mike. Thanks to them, I could show you Stone Mountain slope grade and overall scale of the trail and surrounding areas. Actually, that was my first hike with both of them and hopefully not the last.