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Topic: Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve TR< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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MRHyker Search for posts by this member.


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PostIcon Posted on: Apr. 04 2014, 2:48 pm   Ignore posts   QUOTE

04-04-14, Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve: About three weeks ago we parked at the Preserve’s lot while we hiked the Glatfelter Area of Michaux State Forest. Back then I thought that their trail system consisted of a couple of trails along Middle Creek. When I got home that day I Googled the Presrve and found that it has about 8 miles of trails on the north side of Mount Hope Road so I decided to take the girls (Precious and Abbey) for a walk in the woods.

The hike starts at the pink cabin directly across from the parking lot. The white blazed Nature Trail immediately passes a small pond and passes through a copse of magnificent spruce before turning left onto an old woods road to parallel pretty Swamp Creek. The trail soon crossed the creek on a stout bridge. Immediately after the crossing the pink blazed Swamp Creek Trail comes in from the left. The on line map shows this junction to be a bit further up the creek. At that time I thought that this was a new extension but later found out from management that this is a defunct section that is no longer maintained.
We followed it anyway wanting to stay close to the stream. It was pretty wet in some areas but the trail builders went to a lot of effort to cobble together flat rocks like so many pavers in the wettest of areas. It kept my boots dry but I think it was a bit hard on the girls paws.

Once we arrived at the correct trail junction we stayed on the Swamp Creek Trail until we reached the blue blazed Bakers Knob Trail. This is an old double track trail that climbs 450 feet over 0.5 miles. Most of it is moss covered. At the top we found a picnic table and kiosk but no vista. The road continued, un-blazed, beyond the kiosk. We followed it for a bit but it became obvious that the vista wasn’t in this direction and the trail, more than likely, would run into private property. Later management informed me that this is called the Turkey Twister Trail and does not tie in with the rest of the trail system. We backtracked and took a brief break at the picnic table. (Management also told me that the rock outcrop with the mostly winter view is a couple of hundred yards southeast of the kiosk but there is no trail leading to it.) At 1343 feet the knob is supposed to be the highest point in the venue but we would pass a higher knob later on.

The Baker Knob Trail is roughly spoon shaped so we took the opposite side of the spoon’s bowl back down to its handle. We continued up the Swamp Creek Trail enjoying the constant sights and sounds of the stream. The logs enjoyed playing in it. The trail veered westward passing through a swamp full of moss covered rocks, rivulets and mostly dead hemlocks before joining the green blazed 2.7 mile long Foothills Trail. (Signs claim it is 4 miles in length but I think that includes the trails needed to get back to the start point of the trail system.) Initially the trail follows an old woods road but soon leaves it to the right passing through more swamp before gaining higher, dryer ground. Here we walked on a series of very old roads but could still hear the creek to our left as we paralleled it. In short order we splashed across a branch of the creek. Still we could hear the other fork and even got a short glimpse of it just before the trail turned uphill. At about 0.5 miles the Foothills Trail turns right onto a newer woods road. Hiking is easy for here on out. At about another 0.4 miles the trail crosses the west fork of the creek (barely perceivable at this point) and nearly doubles back on itself. The trail intersects with a couple of other roads that I believe are inside Michaux State Forest boundaries (Maybe some more hiking opportunities?). In 0.5 miles the trail crosses a service road and begins a gradual descent towards Mount Hope Road but in another 0.4 miles it turns left onto another old road (My Garmin calls it the Broken Limb Trail.) and climbs up an over a hill with a viewless knob to the left. At 1424 feet this is the true high point of the venue. The trail then descends and crosses the same service road it crossed earlier in another 0.5 miles before ending at the Pink Swamp Creek Trail in another 0.5 miles.

We turn right onto it and the hiking continues to be easy as the road is several hundred feet above the creek, grassy or mossy, flat and straight and otherwise as smooth as a baby’s behind. In another 0.4 miles the road joins the white nature trail straight ahead and to the left. To the right is the brown blazed Quarry Trail. My initial plans included hiking this little side bar but Precious was slowing down considerably so we continued straight through the trail junction and found ourselves back at the pink cabin in another 0.6 miles. We hiked a total of 7 miles and climbed around 1000 feet.

"Red is the color of the sun with my eyes closed." - Dave Matthews
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