Morning walks followed by afternoon swimming


This past weekend I strolled down shaded trails to discover beautiful landscapes, to hear the beautiful sounds of the forest, and to enjoy photographing nature. After my walk I cooled off by taking to the beach! All of this and more I experienced just one hour away from Harrisburg. On my continued mission to visit 52 Pennsylvania State Parks in 2021 I was able to add two more to the list.

CURRENT TALLY OF STATE PARKS I’VE VISITED in 2021 : 22 

Explore Pennsylvania & Beyond

If you are reading my blog you might be thinking that you’d like to join me on the next hike, so I’ve connected the FB group I lead, Explore Pennsylvania & Beyond with this blog to offer readers a chance to join me – yes – you heard it here – IN PERSON!

This group started because I wanted to walk and talk with friends in the Harrisburg area but quickly expanded to a public group since I started to get several requests for joining. I also changed the name to Explore Pennsylvania to – Pennsylvania & Beyond – back in 2019 when I started to take my hikes across country, visiting Colorado, Arizona, and Texas.

IF YOU’D LIKE TO JOIN ME FOR THE NEXT HIKES, HERE ARE THE DATES:

(There is more info in the FB Group – Dates dependent on the weather)

Hiking at Hickory Run State Park – 10 AM, Saturday, July 24th

Hiking at Nescopeck State Park – 10 AM, Sunday July 25th

Tuscarora State Park

Tuscarora State Park – July 2021 – Photo by Deb Schell

Just over an hour from my home in Harrisburg is Tuscarora State Park – 1,618-acres with hiking trails and picnicking in front of Tuscarora Lake and in the valley of Locust Mountain. I started with the Lake View Trail and walked past the beach and over the dam to see the views of the mountains and lake combined. The loop can be made by hiking Lake View, Spirit of Tuscarora, and Crow trails. Later I found myself on Old Log Trail and Laurel Loop. On my walk, I discovered that not only does the park have camping sites, it has yurts! I would love to revisit this park and stay in a yurt sometime!

After about 90 minutes I was done with hiking in humid temperatures and took to the lake. Setting up my beach umbrella right at the edge of the swimming area and at the waters edge so I could set my chair up and dip my feet right into the water.

I floated out in the lake and was mesmerized by the calm and peaceful vibes of the mountain and lake. (When I was blocking out the screaming kids on the other side of the swimming area.) I enjoyed my picnic lunch on the beach while tucking my toes in the sand – yes there is sand on the beach!

Where to get the passport stamp – I picked up the stamp at the park’s office – stickers were located at exterior wall by the entrance.

Ridley Creek State Park

Ridley Creek State Park – Photo by Deb Schell

I really loved Ridley Creek State Park when I visited and was surprised to discover a beautiful fountain, lovely gardens, and the park is set next Hunting Hill Mansion – a large, historic English farmhouse, now an events venue for weddings and other celebrations. I arrived around 10:30 AM and headed to the visitor’s center but turns out it was closed ;(

I looked all over to find the stamp for my passport but alas, I realized it must be in the center. I headed towards the paved trail to start walking and ran into a park employee who was leading a nature hike. He kindly offered to walk over to the park office so I could stamp my passport book – yay! With my stamped passport, I headed to continue walking the grounds of this historic place and enjoying the sounds and scenery.

Where to get the passport stamp – I picked up the stamp at the park’s office – notice that if it isn’t open you may be able to contact the office to see if an employee is on the grounds – as I mentioned the stamp isn’t available outside of the building.

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