Hiking: Hickory Run State Park

Posted By BrokenClaw on July 1, 1998

For our first week of vacation, we had some vague plans for an outdoor adventure, but nothing definite. On Sunday evening, Trailwalker packed the car with everything we might need for camping, hiking, packbacking, swimming, and generally having fun. We finally decided to head north toward the Poconos, with our first destination of Hickory Run State Park.

We drove up through King of Prussia and the Northeast Extension of the Pennsylvania Turnpike to the Jim Thorpe exit. We found the park with no problem. We picked out a campsite and set up camp. Then we headed into the nearby town of White Haven for some food supplies. Back at camp, we took a short stroll around the camp before turning in, with the baseball game on the radio.

The next morning’s skies were overcast, and we both had difficulty getting up. After a shower, we were finally ready to start the day. With a park map in hand, and advice from the park official, we planned to hike the Boulder Field Trail. It’s a 3-mile trail, with a steady uphill grade, ending at the famous lake of boulders. The park guide suggested it’s a two hour hike, but we easily made it in 90 minutes.

Hickory Run State ParkThe boulder field is an amazing sight: a geological oddity left over from the Ice Age. Acres and acres of nothing but sandstone rocks, broken into chunks of one to six-foot weather-worn boulders. With the field open as a public area, people are seen walking from point to point, as though crossing a frozen lake surface. The carefree attitude was suddenly broken when a girl from a nearby camp slipped and caught her foot in the rocks, with her leg buried all the way to her thigh. It seemed harmless at first, but the situation turned serious when the girl couldn’t pull her foot loose, nor could the adults immediately free her. Some of the people suggested trying to move the rocks that had her trapped, but that’s an impossible task. A few minutes later, another person tried to call the Ranger Station on their cell phone. After much ado, Trailwalker volunteered to help. She managed to reach down and untie the girl’s shoe, but her foot was still wedged tight. About twenty minutes had passed and no progress seemed to be made.

Finally Trailwalker suggested they just try pulling the girl up by force. After a couple of heaves, the girl’s leg came free. Trailwalker was the hero! An ambulance had been called, so we went on our way. We had decided to walk back down along the gravel access road. Shortly thereafter, some official vehicles passed us heading toward the Boulder Field, including an ambulance. A few minutes later the ambulance passed us again. We completed our 7-mile hike in about four hours. The next morning we folded the tent and headed for Cooperstown, New York.

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