Explore Pa.: Hiking & Brewpubs
Until this week, winter weather seemed to drag on and on, probably giving us all some serious cabin fever. I’ve been a little desperate for some sunshine and fresh air, so I was more than happy when we finally had some much-deserved warmer weather last weekend.
What better way to enjoy the sunshine than visiting a state park for some (free!) hiking? I wrote about visiting and hiking at Gifford Pinchot State Park last summer, but on Sunday, we visited Boyd Big Tree Preserve, a state park located just off of Fishing Creek Road. It’s hard to believe how close we were to downtown Harrisburg, as the quiet park was a stark contrast to the crowds, restaurants, bars and hustle and bustle of Second Street.
The Preserve offers 12 miles of trails, each one ranked by difficulty and marked with different colors. Being the adventurous duo that we are, we sought out the “difficult” hiking trail, called the Janie Trail. We began by hiking on some of the easier trails to get deeper into the park and pick up where Janie started. All of the trails were well-marked with their appropriate colors, but the trails also were well worn, making them easy to follow.
Although it’s been relatively cold over the past few months, signs of life are starting to emerge at the park. Trees are beginning to bloom, and there were traces of wildlife. This trail offered some steep, narrow and rocky climbs (I definitely regretted wearing my Vibrams after stubbing my toes for the hundredth time), but it was worth it to get to the top of the mountain.
Although the trees blocked most of the view, it was still quite gorgeous up there, and we lingered, appreciating the peacefulness and scenery before beginning our descent, which was much easier than the climb up. All in all, the hike took us about two hours, but it didn’t feel that long by any means. While I am someone who swears by high impact and sweaty workouts, I can’t deny that my quads were definitely burning on some of those inclines and we were both more than ready for some fuel after we came down the mountain. We decided to make a day of our hike, and get a late lunch at the Selin’s Grove Brew Pub (or, “The Brewpub”).
Sara wrote a column on the brew pub, so I won’t rehash all of the details (too much). I went to college in Selinsgrove, and I have been itching to return to town (and the pub!) for quite some time. It took us about 45 minutes to get to the pub from Boyd Big Tree Preserve, and it was well worth it.
I’ll drink beer, but my true love is hard cider. They offered the Keewaydin cider on tap, and it was absolutely delicious, sweet but not overwhelming so. Tim tried several of their brews, a 4 oz. pour is $1, but for his full glass, he opted for the cider as well. We very rarely like the same kind of booze (I prefer sweeter drinks, typically), so I think Keewaydin has got a winner on their hands. We were also impressed with the small menu, we both got salads and they were gigantic and delicious. I can’t wait to return when it’s slightly warmer so we can sit outside.