I’ve been swamped with work this week, and my only hike was a short ramble on the Horseshoe Trail. It’s amazing what working 60 hours a week before Christmas can do to your free time if you let it. And unfortunately I let it.
Still, while I was unsuccessful in making time during the week, I set aside part of the afternoon on Sunday for a hike on the Horseshoe Trail, the 140 mile walking and equestrian path running between Valley Forge and Hersey. The stretch I chose was located near the Mount Pleasant Trailhead at Warwick County Park, to the east of St. Peter’s Village and State Game Lands 43, and to the west of Welkinweir. The trailheads are a short walk over the bridge from the parking area, and the yellow blazes are very easy to spot.
On crossing the bridge, you have a choice of right or left, east or west. To the west you head into the main part of the park, and the trail conditions are very good – mostly dirt, with some rocks and roots. While this part of the trail gets a lot of use, its also well cared for. And you pass from along French Creek up the ridgeline into the forest of hardwoods.
To the east conditions are a bit different. Here the trail abuts privately held land. While the overall consistency of the trail surface is the same as to the west of Mount Pleasant Road, it appears that water flowing down the hillside on its way to French Creek causes muddy patches. I turned around at a big washed out area. While there were stepping stones to cross the swamp, I didn’t have poles with me and I didn’t want to risk having a problem so late in the day. When I fall, I don’t get up so easily.
Still, while I was stopped to the east, what I saw was enough to encourage me to do more of the trail. And getting back outside on a crisp December day was a great Christmas gift for me.