I’ve written about the Horseshoe Trail before, and about State Game Lands 43 as well. However, the post about SGL 43 concerned the graffiti scarred falls and trails at St. Peter’s Village. This time I hiked from the other side of the game lands, parking on the shoulder of Trythall Road at the Game Commission gate. The entrances on both sides of the road bear the yellow blaze of the Horseshoe Trail. I took the east entrance, heading towards St. Peter’s Village.
This part of the Horsehsoe follows the bed an old railroad, possibly part of the Delaware River and Lancaster, better known by its nickname of the “Sowbelly Railroad” since its grade rippled like, well…. Regardless of its name, the first half mile of the trail is the flattest and least rocky I’ve come across in Rocksylvania. From there the scree gets worse and we are back to normal hiking conditions in the state boots come to for death. A couple of trails branch off from the railroad bed, including the Horseshoe. All of them eventually take you to French Creek and St. Peter’s Village. You can tell you are approaching St. Peter’s by the increasing quantity of rocks and graffiti.
My hike covered part of the Horseshoe, a stretch on a blue blazed trail that would have led directly to the parking lot at St. Peter’s Village, and a third trail along Mine Run. I first learned of this part of the trail from photographer Mike Roush and his Berks Awhile blog. In his post about this stretch of the Horseshoe Roush wrote of an abandoned railway bridge over the meandering Mine Run. And as he described, the bridge stood in ruins over the water. However, it was built for trains carrying stone, and so even if some ties are deteriorating and some are missing the structure is strong enough to walk over. I proceeded to do just that.
Or, at least I tried to. Once I got to the middle of the bridge I had to look down to balance on a damage tie, and looked straight through the floor of the bridge into Mine Run 15 feet below.
My vertigo kicked in with a vengeance. I became dizzy and began to feel I was losing my balance. And because it was the middle of the bridge I couldn’t reach out for a support to steady myself. I tried to calm myself as I became agitated as I was becoming dizzy. I bent over and grabbed a bridge support, and using four points of contact crossed the troublesome section. I then carefully stood up and crossed the rest of the bridge.
And once across, I threw up.
Fortunately Mine Run was close by, and I doubt my lunch will have any major environmental impact. I calmed down, took some photos, and girded myself for the walk back across the bridge.
The second crossing went better. Once again I went on all fours across a segment of the bridge, but I got across.
Once back at the car I crossed the road and took the west entrance. Once again the trail was a flat railroad bed. Part of the trail is shared with a parking area for Warwick Woods Camping Resort, but once past that you are on a wide, flat trail in the woods. I turned around shortly after I left the campground parking area, as I’d already hiked a mile and a half and I didn’t want to overdo my return to exercise. I finished with about two miles of hiking, a few good photos, and aside from my problems crossing the bridge a good time.