The late fall day was unseasonably warm as we headed up Steel Hollow …destination “Black Mo”. Surrounded by 43,000 acres of forest there are many opportunities for a variety of recreation- today we are short hiking.
No kids, no dogs for this trip. Leaving too late to get in any long trails, we chose to check out the Bog Trail with every intention of doing a portion of the Hanne Moss Trail around the bog.
This is a great walk through the park, featuring a boardwalk encased by the wetlands of the bog. There’s no elevation change, no rocks and it can be cut short. Expecting to be able to do some colorful fall photography and although I love the nakedness of the forest in winter, it was just too warm – we must have just missed the spectacular colors of fall provided by the oaks, maples and white pines that tower over the trails.
We decided to cut our hike short, skipping the Hanne Moss trail. Instead we took the Indian Trail to the Hay Road Trail to find another destination. The difference from the usual dense and rocky trails that steer you through Rothrock State Forest was a welcome one, and the black water of Black Moshannon Bog was soothing to the soul. Yet, it was not enough to keep our interest.
With only a couple hours of daylight left we headed to the beach parking lot and picked up the Ski Slope Trail, hoping to get some nice views of the park before dark. The 2-mile Ski Slope trail leads you up switchbacks to the highest point of the park, where we finally got to see a bit of that fall color. From there the trail, descends gently back down the mountain and intersects with the Snowmobile Trail. The trail down Ski Slope provides a great opportunity for mushroom hunters. Fungi everywhere!
The Snowmobile Trail portion of the loop is a flat grassy path that leads back to the beach parking lot.
Although Black Mo didn’t provide the vibrant fall colors I was hoping for, I believe it provided me with what I needed…solace, serenity and very peaceful afternoon!