Return to Bald Eagle State Forest - Victoria Day Weekend - May 2014

mortonm

Expedition Leader
#1
Late last summer, my brother and I took a week and explored the Pennsylvania Wilds. We had a great time, it was our first vehicle based trip of any substantial length and our first into the United States.

We had a spectacular time in Bald Eagle State Forest and knew immediately that we would have to return someday soon. The trip report from the previous adventure can be found here

http://www.expeditionportal.com/for...s-Allegheny-NF-Bald-Eagle-SF-Pine-Creek-Gorge

This winter we decided that over Victoria Day weekend (the weekend before Memorial day) that we would return to Bald Eagle to explore some new sections, and revisit some old. We decided to stay in Poe Valley State Park again in on of the cabins, as the weather can be sometimes unpredictable and cold that time of the year, and with four guys they are very cheap. Nothing wrong with being a little comfortable now and then!

Last trip we took was just my brother and I in my 2001 Xterra, this time we would add another vehicle and two more guys. My brother would be bringing his XJ and both of my brother-in-laws would be joining us for their first experience on a trip like this.

We decided that we would do some "drivable trails" but also incorporate more exploration on foot, to satisfy everyone.

Here are the trusty steeds:



http://www.expeditionportal.com/forum/threads/79780-Mortonm-s-2001-Xterra-Build
http://www.expeditionportal.com/for...on-s-00-XJ-Limited-quot-SuperStock-quot-Build

Stay tuned here over the next few days as I update with pictures and notes from our trip!
 

mortonm

Expedition Leader
#4
Our crew consisted of four guys, Mike, Mike, Bryan and Bryan....no my keyboard isnt on repeat.

Mike #1 and Bryan #2 are Brothers, Mike #1 and Bryan #2 married Mike #2's sisters. Confused yet?

Here is a pic of the crew in accidental order by height. Bryan #2, Mike#1, Bryan#1, Mike#2



Our plan was to set out from Welland, Ontario the Friday of Victoria day weekend (May 16) bright and early in the morning. For those of you who don't know, a quick history lesson. Queen Victoria was a British monarch who reined from 1837 until 1901 and is one of the longest reigning monarchs in modern history. As such she saw a lot of charge, expanding the empire and was also in power when Canada was declared a Dominion in 1867 and officially became its own country.

We had intended to meet up at my In-laws, have a couple of beers and plan the route down to Bald Eagle State Forest in the morning. Mike #2 and Bryan #1 ended up having to work so we just slammed the stuff into the car that night and got up bright and early.

For inter-vehicle communications we decided to use a pair of walkie-talkies that we had got on sale last fall, neither vehicle had a CB and we figured that we would only be a short distance apart, no big deal.

We had the walkie-talkie's off during the border crossing as we figured the border guards wouldn't appreciate two vehicles communicating in line. Unfortunately we hadn't really planned for the eventuality of the vehicles being separated at the border crossing. We ended up in separate lines, and although close my brothers XJ (with Mike #2 on board) ended up crossing about 15 minutes after us.

Bryan #1 and I decided to just drive slow, as the other vehicle was next in line, well the vehicle before them was searched and slowed them substantially. We had lost radio contact and they ended up getting lost. We were trying not to us our cell phones as most of us had not added US plans for the weekend. We ended up having to just call each other and organize, we met up at ZJs diner in Hamburg New York to have some breakfast and re-group.

15 minutes in, and we already were separated and one vehicle lost! what a great start to the trip, we vowed to not get lost again.......
 

mortonm

Expedition Leader
#5
We headed South down the 219 through Ellicotville, we had intended taking this much further south but decided at the diner we would take the more scenic route cross-country through Elk and Susquehannock State Forests, among others. We didnt stop really other than for fuel and lunch, but there was some nice scenery along the way.









We also stopped a couple of vistas along the way, sorry I didn't catch the names as it was just impromptu as we drove by.







This route took us significantly longer than we had planned, we originally were aiming for Millheim, Pennsylvania for around noon (we left home at 6am). A lot of the roads were 40 zones and there was a significant amount of wash-outs and water on the road so we didn't make very good time. We rolled into Lock Haven around 1 and stopped for some lunch.

We were really close now, Bald Eagle was just a little further south and we were all getting excited....
 

matthewp

Combat Truck Monkey
#7
Keep going... If you're going to have us excuse continued Canuckistani incursions into our sovereign territory, you'd better provide good picture threads! :elkgrin:


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 

Haggis

Appalachian Ridgerunner
#9
What??? No obligatory stop in Benezette to see the elk herd? Too many Mikes, too many Bryans, questionable marriage entanglements, a lost car and no elk vieiwng...I'm not sure if this is the start of a great tale or a prelude to disaster. ;)

Welcome back to the Keystone State boys!
 

mortonm

Expedition Leader
#10
What??? No obligatory stop in Benezette to see the elk herd? Too many Mikes, too many Bryans, questionable marriage entanglements, a lost car and no elk vieiwng...I'm not sure if this is the start of a great tale or a prelude to disaster. ;)

Welcome back to the Keystone State boys!
Haha so much Pennsylvania so little time. I'll stay awhile just don't make me drink any keystone beer.

Stay tuned in the morning for the next update!
 

mortonm

Expedition Leader
#11
Keep going... If you're going to have us excuse continued Canuckistani incursions into our sovereign territory, you'd better provide good picture threads! :elkgrin:


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Lots of pictures and lots of Canadian bacon and beer, what more could you ask for?
 

rkj__

Adventurer
#12
Ahh, looking forward to seeng the rest of this trip unfold.

I was hoping to explore BESF this winter / spring with Niagara Overland, but we had to cancel due to an illness and mechanical issue. We rescheduled, but then could not get a camping permit as all the roads in the forest had turned to ice.
 

mortonm

Expedition Leader
#13
Ahh, looking forward to seeng the rest of this trip unfold.

I was hoping to explore BESF this winter / spring with Niagara Overland, but we had to cancel due to an illness and mechanical issue. We rescheduled, but then could not get a camping permit as all the roads in the forest had turned to ice.
Lots to offer here, I would think a week would me need to see a good chunk of what's here. The trails aren't anything crazy but enough to be fun in a stock-ish vehicle. Certainly lots of hiking, biking, fishing and hunting.

I believe Poe Valley State Park where we stayed is closed during the winter, hope you make it down soon!
 

mortonm

Expedition Leader
#14
....After we finished up lunch in Lock Haven we forded the West Branch Suquehanna River and headed due South towards Millheim, PA. See what I did there? "forded" aka drove across a bridge, but sounds way more bad ***.

Millheim is a great little town, situated just a few miles north of Bald Eagle State Forest (BESF) it has a great little grocery store, a couple of gas stations and a great restaurant, the Elk Creek Cafe and Aleworks. They also happen to brew their own beer which you can buy in growlers (60oz glass jugs for those not aware). I dont have any pics of ours from last year but they look identical to the ones we got last year.



We had a fairly simple menu for the weekend, sausages, steaks, pasta and meat and bread for sandiwches. Breakfasts mostly consisted of peameal (Canadian) bacon, sausages, eggs and hash browns.



Now that we were properly provisioned, we headed into BESF. This was the first time for Bryan #2 and Mike #2 and as we are from a flat section of Ontario the Mountains were mystifying them. We decided to head right to Poe Valley State Park and get check in as it was getting on in the afternoon, we wanted to make sure park staff would still be there.

We ended up renting one of the cabins for the weekend, it ended up being about $10 per person per night, pretty good if you ask me! Especially in the land of Ontario where a tent pad site at a Provincial Park is the same price. The washrooms are only a year or two old and in great shape, the showers were nice and hot as well. Inside each cabin is two bunk beds (one of which has a double on the bottom) as well as a table. There is also a picnic table outside under the porch roof, its a little tight but on a trip like this you dont spend much time inside!





 

mortonm

Expedition Leader
#15
After we had checked in and unloaded most of the unnecessary stuff from the trucks we decided we would take the guys on a quick tour of some close by neat stuff and one of our favorite drivable trails in the area, Poe Paddy Drive. It isn't particularly difficult, any stock 4WD could easily complete it, in fact most 2WD trucks or vans would have enough clearance to easily get the job done. It doesn't, however, have two spectacular views back into the valley to the north. Bryan #2 has a nice DSLR camera and decided that it would be better to photograph in sunlight as it was quite cloudy, so rest assured we came back later in the weekend. We do have some pictures of the trucks though, and everyone loves pictures.

Getting some of that pesky air out of the tires



More air, where does it all come from?



We both went down to about 20 psi for the weekend, not too low as there wasn't anything extremely challenging and there was lots of forest service road pounded so we didn't want to get too low. I am running 235/85R16 tires and my brother 215/85R16, both at around 50 psi so without tire deflators it took a little while to get this done, luckily there was a nice view at this spot.

Curvalicious dirt! The first real dirt of the trip



If there is one thing my brother likes, its smashing puddles, here are a few from a nice little sequence









Little offshoot section here that leads to a nice view on both sides of the mountain.