15 – Sweetwater – Allegany 18 Challenge

The weather did not look promising for a full day of hiking. But there was a rain-free window in the early morning and we opted to take it to bag another of the Allegany 18.

The trail is listed as 2.7 miles. But the “loop” starts .4 miles from the parking lot and ends .7 miles from the parking lot. We hiked a total of 3.6 miles, according to my GPS.

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Several of the Allegany 18 trails can be accessed from the Art Roscoe Cross Country Ski & Mountain Bike Area Trailhead.

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Proof we made it to the #15 marker!

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Black Cohosh was in near bloom in several places along the trail.

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These trails are well-maintained and groomed in winter for cross country skiing. We saw 2 other hikers and one biker on the trail this morning.

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View from the memorial bench where we ate a little snack and sipped some water.

Here is the hike:

Twelve more to go!

5 – Bear Springs Trail

My daughter Emily, her dog Gretchen, and I have begun hiking the original trails at Allegany State Park with the goal to complete them all this summer. This challenge, the Allegany 18, was put out by the Park. I sort of tricked Emily into it by leading her to believe there might be a patch at the end of it. I never said patch. But the logo for the contest looks like it would make a good patch and so she leapt to a false conclusion. Not my fault. Haha.

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Bear Springs is an easy out-and-back half-mile trail. I say easy, and it was on this dry, almost summer day. But it is obvious there are sections that would be very sloppy in the spring after snow-melt and rain. There are several places where clever built structures help you over seasonally wet areas, though not all mucky areas have them.

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The spring itself is pretty neat, covered by an igloo-shaped stone structure. I’m not sure why the water coming from the spring is orange. I suspect iron.

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There are other structures nearby, too, that look like they were grills/ovens at one time.

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A pretty little moth.

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A plant! At first I thought it was a fern. But those seed heads seem to be coming from the fern-like foliage.

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Obligatory selfies!

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4 – Three Sisters

I retired from job at Audubon. Friday, June 12 was my last day.

Today, on my first official would-have-been-work-day of retirement, my daughter Emily, her dog Gretchen, and I started the Allegany 18 Challenge. This challenge put out by Allegany State Park is to hike and document all 18 of the original hiking trails. We started today with two short ones so we could see how Gretchen would do. Turns out, she’s a trooper and I think she’ll be fine, even on the longest of the trails.

Three Sisters is “hike #4” of the challenge, a 2.5-mile loop that starts very near the Quaker Administration Building.

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We did the loop “clockwise.” When we got to this sign, we went straight (left).

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This took us into a camping area which was a little confusing. We found a trail marker on a high on a tree leading us up a gated road. That road led to a mowed power line and no indication of where the trail picked up. Hmm… We found it eventually by going right and headed up the steep woodsy trail.

At the top of the hill we found the engraved number 4 where we took our obligatory selfie.

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There weren’t many wildflowers in bloom. Lots of Virginia Waterleaf on the descent, but my picture didn’t turn out. 😦

This Wood Sorrel turned out pretty good though:

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There were areas on the descent that are obviously very wet in spring, but were dry on this almost summer day. It was a perfect first hike of The Allegany Challenge.