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Jul 09 2020
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 25
 Routes 321
 Photos 6,886
 Triplogs 515

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Rachel Carson TrailPittsburgh, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Hiking avatar Jul 09 2020
DarthStiller
Hiking11.75 Miles 2,802 AEG
Hiking11.75 Miles   5 Hrs   30 Mns   2.20 mph
2,802 ft AEG      9 Mns Break
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Got a chance to do another segment of the Rachel Carson Trail. This time I decided to start over at the west end of the trail, in North Park. My friend from childhood, Paul, lives 20 minutes from there, so it was a good chance to hike this and visit with someone, which is hard to do when all the bars and restaurants are closed. I've known Paul since we were 4 years old and met when I moved into the neighborhood. Now we're two old guys hiking the woods in PA.

this end of the trail is much nicer than many of the segments I've hiked on the east side. North Park is a slightly ritzier area in suburban Pittsburgh, so that probably has something to do with it. There are fewer urban areas to hike through, and they're not so bad. The first mile or two was in North Park, then a short segment along train tracks and a road, then back into single track in a valley.

We got off trail a couple times onto intersecting trails. Nice to have the track with me so I can check that and get back on track. There was a heat advisory for this day, but since most of this hike was in the shade, I really didn't notice the heat so much. It was very humid and I was pretty drenched when we were done, but it wasn't as bad as I remember it last summer when I hiked two segments of this trail. The bugs were in full force, and even in the shade I found it useful to have my hood up to keep them away.

The funniest part of the hike was when a hiker was coming the other way with his dog. We stopped to let him pass and started talking a little. During our talk, we mentioned where we're from. I said how I live in AZ now, but I'm from New Kensington originally. he then asked me if I knew a certain person from there, and it was another friend of mine who I visit with. Alot of times people ask if you know someone from an area you mention, this was one of the few times I did.

Paul doesn't hike all that much, but he hung in quite well. The hardest part for him was coming down a steep hill on our last mile, which slowed him down due to a gimpy knee, one of the benefits of middle age.

Finished up just before noon, and hung out a bit by the lake and boat house before I was on my way to get some lunch. Nice to do a hike with another person for the first time in several months and to see an old friend again.
Culture
Culture
Wooden Dwelling
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Jul 08 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 25
 Routes 321
 Photos 6,886
 Triplogs 515

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Rachel Carson TrailPittsburgh, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Hiking avatar Jul 08 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking10.50 Miles 1,625 AEG
Hiking10.50 Miles   5 Hrs      2.10 mph
1,625 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
Went back to where I hiked last week and started another section of the RCT. There wasn't a whole lot of elevation gain at first and not too steep, but that started to change the last mile and a half on the way in. One section went thru a neighborhood, but that was because it goes past the Rachel Carson homestead. Another section of about a half mile was on pavement.

Saw another deer and it stayed still for a picture, but I forgot my camera in the car, so I got what I could with my phone.

The humidity wasn't too bad today. Skies were mildly overcast, making the temperatures not too hot.

Turned around where the trail crosses some more paved roads. Looks like some possible parking spaces for another section to try another day.
_____________________
Jul 03 2019
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 25
 Routes 321
 Photos 6,886
 Triplogs 515

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Rachel Carson TrailPittsburgh, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Hiking avatar Jul 03 2019
DarthStiller
Hiking8.90 Miles 1,891 AEG
Hiking8.90 Miles   4 Hrs   11 Mns   2.13 mph
1,891 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
The Rachel Carson Trail is a mostly urban trail that is nearly 40 miles long and stretches from Harrison Hills Park south to North Park. It's named after Rachel Carson, a pioneering environmentalist who wrote the book "Silent Spring", which I remember teachers telling us about when I was in grade school. It's meant to be hiked in sections, although finding a proper trailhead to park at is a bit of a challenge if you don't know the area. There is a Rachel Carson Trail Challenge that's done every year on the summer solstice to maximize daylight since it's such a long trail with a lot of AEG.

I hiked a short section 11 years ago, and wanted to try a new section to try to eventually knock this one out. It's very convenient that this trail is only a 10-15 minute drive from the house where I grew up. Looking across the Allegheny River valley from that house, you can see the mountain ridgeline that part of the trail follows.

I started from a TH in Springdale, which is actually where Rachel Carson was raised. From there I headed north to where I started hiking 11 years ago and turned back, making for a nearly 9 mile hike. I did my typical early start. With the tree cover so dense, it wasn't until I was nearly halfway done hiking that there was enough daylight to get decent pictures.

The trail is built in some sections through some forested areas, but in a lot of sections it follows power lines, dirt roads, and even paved country roads to connect to the proper sections of trail. There are also no switchbacks. The one section I got through was particularly treacherous, especially with how slick and muddy it is with all the rain this summer. At the very start of this hike, not only do you ascend a very steep and loose hill, but you have to duck under some power lines that are uncomfortably close to the ground.

About 2 miles in, I spotted a whitetail buck with the antlers in felt. I was able to get my camera out, but as soon as he saw me aiming it, he took off. The deer here get very skittish when you aim anything at them. Later on I saw 2 turkeys running, but they were also gone too fast to get any shot.

This trail is actually pretty strenuous, making for a good workout. The scenery is spotty, depending on where you're at, but overall the tremendous amount of green as a contrast to AZ at this time of year made this very nice. The humidity, on the other hand, was oppressive. Within a half mile of starting, my shirt was soaked, and by the end, my pants were totally soaked. I was fortunate enough to not have rain, but other than the lightning, that wouldn't have made much difference.

Hoping to maybe do another section of this before I leave, as well as some other local parks.
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4 archives
May 25 2011
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 25
 Routes 321
 Photos 6,886
 Triplogs 515

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Harrison Hills Park, PA 
Harrison Hills Park, PA
 
Hiking avatar May 25 2011
DarthStiller
Hiking8.90 Miles
Hiking8.90 Miles   4 Hrs   30 Mns   1.98 mph
 
1st trip
Linked linked
Partners none no partners
I got another chance to get out to some local parks around Pittsburgh and do another hike. Harrison Hills Park is one of many Allegheny County parks surrounding metro Pittsburgh. This one seems to have more trails than most others from what I've seen of the online maps. It's elevation is higher than most of the surrounding area, which gives some nice views overlooking the river along the one section of trail.

The Rachel Carson Trail, named after the late conservationist, begins in this park and continues for 35 miles total ending at North Park. I hiked some sections of this trail today and made a shortcut for the end of it to see where it continues to for a bit.

The weather was cloudy and foggy in the morning, but soon cleared, making for some nice photo oppurtunities. At the end of this it really seemed like I had hiked over 10 miles easy, but my track ended up at only 8.9.

It was nice to spend a couple days out hiking in the greenery and cool, shady environment back east before I came back to the impending AZ summer.
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Jul 06 2008
DarthStiller
avatar

 Guides 25
 Routes 321
 Photos 6,886
 Triplogs 515

51 male
 Joined Jul 05 2006
 Mesa, AZ
Rachel Carson TrailPittsburgh, PA
Pittsburgh, PA
Hiking avatar Jul 06 2008
DarthStiller
Hiking4.50 Miles 900 AEG
Hiking4.50 Miles   2 Hrs   30 Mns   1.80 mph
900 ft AEG
 
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
This trail is in western PA northeast of Pittsburgh. I did a small section of it from one of the rare spots where this an actual trailhead and parking. The trail quickly goes up about 400', soon connnecting with a powerline. Follow the powerline for a bit and then keep following the yellow hash marks on the trees. After about 2 miles, the trail seemed to stay on powerlines more often than it was an actual trail. One annoying part was where it dropped down to a local road and follows the asphalted road for about 0.3 miles. This was nice as a contrast to the heat in Phx right now. Most of the hike was in the shade (and mud) and all of it was very green. The humidity was a bit to deal with. Once you start to sweat, it never evaporates from your clothes. After 2 hours, I was ready to finish and go back home and change.
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average hiking speed 2.04 mph

WARNING! Hiking and outdoor related sports can be dangerous. Be responsible and prepare for the trip. Study the area you are entering and plan accordingly. Dress for the current and unexpected weather changes. Take plenty of water. Never go alone. Make an itinerary with your plan(s), route(s), destination(s) and expected return time. Give your itinerary to trusted family and/or friends.

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