I grew up playing in the woods. Behind my house there was a patch of woods where we played hide and seek. Down the lane to the Schwab's house my friends and I climbed trees and had our "monkey club." Up the mountain, way up Deepwood Drive, were the trails and sledding runs for the winter. Those were at the edge of the Rothrock State Forest - 90,000 acres of wonder.
As a teenager, I found another part of Rothrock in the Shingletown Gap. It's an amazing world of hemlocks and white pines, rhodedendron, huge tumbles of scree, and a riot of blooming mountain laurel in late May and June surrounding Roaring Run. Two and a half miles up the trail you come to a fire circle by Sand Spring, Roaring Run's headwaters.
Deep in Rothrock rests Alan Seeger Natural Area, a place as close to primeval as you can get in Pennsylvania. According to DCNR, "This 390-acre area along Standing Stone Creek includes virgin white pine and hemlock. Towering above the trail as it winds through 20-foot-high rhododendrons is a hemlock forest bypassed by the loggers at the end of the 19th century. Here are magnificent trees, many over 4 feet diameter at breast height and reaching several hundred years old. Scientists believe the largest tree in the area could be over 1,000 years old, possibly the oldest in the state, some on small islands in the middle of Stone Creek." It is a magical place. In fact, Rothrock is home to a lot of magical places.
There are few people alive who know these places in Rothrock - and many others as we will hear - as Mike Hermann do and Frank Maguire do. Frank's the regional director of the International Mountain Bike Association. Mike is the cartographer and owner of Purple Lizard Maps. He's made trail maps of Rothrock State Forest and the Raystown Lake so that people can go on adventures in our area. Whether you want to do a short hike, a day hike, camp in a wild, go to a vista, chart your way across some of the Mid-State Trail, or better yet, take an amazing mountain bike epic ride from Whipple Dam to Cooper's Gap via Greenwood Furnace and then back again...you can find your way with these maps.
And what's the purple lizard about anyway?
Mike will join us today at 4 pm on The Lion 90.7 fm to talk about the woods, their past and future, and of course playing in the woods. He has some upcoming projects we'll learn about too. As always, tune in to the live feed online and call in: (814) 865-9577. Remember you can join us on Facebook and on Twitter too.