Anyone ever done French Creek State Park in Elverson, Pa?
Looks like one could put together a variety of trails there, which could make the 1hr.50min. or so drive there for us worth while. We're considering doing it this Saturday so any insight/input on this locale would be greatly appreciated. Thanks. :)
Well, you've done it again! Before I read your post here tonight, DH & I were just pouring over the new NY/NJ North Jersey Trail Maps and had pretty much decided on the HorsePond Mountain Loop Trail at Long Pond Ironworks State Park in Hewitt this Saturday (which is looking like the better day this weekend).
But then I checked out your blog post on French Creek. Driving distance for the two is pretty much a wash for us and thanks to your usual great blow-by-blow (or should I say "step-by-step") directions let's just say we're kind of back to square one on deciding.
Another regrettable factor in decision making is that I'm currently battling a bum knee at the moment so perhaps more "level" ground might be a better choice. If I read your descriptions correctly and based on your pics, FC seems to have less strenuous terrain. Normally I don't shy away from that, but under the present circumstances, it's unfortunately a consideration at present.
If you're familiar w/HorsePond Loop at Hewitt, would you say FC might be the better choice of the two in that case? I welcome your opinion. It's steered me right (literally) so far. :) Thanks. Linda
I haven't hiked the Horse Pond Mountain Trail but I have hiked just about all of the other trails in Long Pond Ironworks and Norvin Green. That terrain would most definitely be more of a knee killer than French Creek. If I remember correctly, French Creek was somewhat hilly but smooth ups and downs - don't remember anything really steep, definitely no scrambles. Nothing worse than knees giving out - they are kind of a hiking necessity. I had one go out last week on a long, steep descent and it's better now so I'll see how it holds up tomorrow. Feeling your pain! (I carry an Ace bandage in my backpack but do you think it would ever occur to me to actually use it?)
We haven't done FC yet, but have hiked most of Long Pond/Horse Pond area and it's mostly typical Highlands up-n-downs so if you have having knee issues, may want to wait a bit. Not sure of the exact Horse Pond route you were looking to do, but I recall a bit of a steep downhill off of Horse Pond somewhere, so I dug through our trail blog and found an entry... it's old so it's more casual and less detailed, but it might be a little help:
As far as cranky knees go... now everyone's knees are different, but I've had the best luck by staying hydrated - as silly as that sounds, I think it keeps the joints lubricated.
I also add dried tart cherries to our trail mix, as they are supposed to reduced inflammation (not entirely sure they help but are delicious anyway). And, oddly, I swear Clif Bars help - but have no idea why they would.
If it's a long or difficult hike, I might take an Advil halfway through, even before having issues, to reduce inflammation before it leads to pain (and this is coming from someone who seldom takes anything).
I also pack an ace bandage, the black neoprene wrap-around one, which helps alot if my knee is screaming on a downhill... but I hate using it because it makes me feel pathetic!
Thank you Daniela & Dawn. Spent the morning doing strengthening & stretching PT at home instead of my usual Manasquan Reservoir tour de force (**sigh**) in the hopes of being a little better prepped for whatever Saturday brings.
I'm extremely grateful and appreciative for both your input. (BTW: Dawn, thanks also for the link. As it happens it was among the ones we'd checked out in our researching the loop.) Seems every source has a slightly different take on it and mileage varies. The one we planned on following was THIS ONE from NY/NJ Trails Conference.
But now it's more the terrain than the distance that has me concerned as well as tricky stream crossings now overflowing thanks to mucho rains these past couple days and more to follow tonight. A shaky, compromised knee w/tentative quad thrown in for good measure doesn't make for safe footing in that scenario or one w/numerous ascents & descents either. (The descents in particular.)
The hydration makes sense and Advils are a part of my daily routine for the duration. Tart, dried cherries, eh? Couldn't hurt. :) Don't know what's in Clif Bars but perhaps my homemade chocolate chunk/raisin/almond granola bars could suffice. Besides...anything w/chocolate has healing vibes in my book.
I use one of those neoprene, velcro quad braces when that area has acted up before - mostly from speed walking the Reservoir. Can't use it while I'm moving though. Too encumbering but good to have on before & after to provide needed support.
We also carry those "crushable" emergency ice packs as well as heat compresses. But I think ice is better in this case.
Based on what you've both advised, I'm thinking HorsePond & Long Pond in general will be postponed. French Creek is looking better and better as are some of the trails in Ringwood. Checked them out earlier this afternoon and they all seem relatively benign. Just about the same travel time, too.
Thanks again. Sorry for the long diatribe. My computer time is usually relative to my physical condition:
Longer posts = Not feeling great
Shorter posts = I'm outdoors doing anything.
I think you both can relate.
Well Linda we may run into you on the trail. My daughter and I (with dog in tow) will be in French Creek tomorrow as well. I'm looking to scout it out for an overnight backpack. I heard it's a good place for that.
We had a very nice hike yesterday. It was a bit warm so I cut it a bit shorter than planned because Hannah and Orion couldn't keep up with the old man here :-)
Pennsylvania gets another poor mark for the trail markings and their relation to the official map. We hiked up Mill Creek trail, hooked a right onto a trail marked "Rail Creek Trail" which does not appear on the map. Buzzard's Trail shows up on the hike in a spot that it should not have. And the official map does not mention anything about the colors of the trail blazes.
Regardless, we saw turtles and frogs along the trail as well as our first encounter with Bear scat. I will definitely go back to do the other trails. It is a beautiful hike and finally one that is under two hours from home (1hr and 20min or so.)