Saturday, July 18, 2015

Mt Davis, Pennsylvania State Highpoint

State Highpoint number 11 complete!

This highpoint was a Fathers day trip out to the Laurel Highlands region of western Pennsylvania. A few weeks ago, Kim had asked me what I wanted for Fathers day, and honestly, I'm not a big present guy.  I would much rather share experiences, so I told her I would like to do a local high pointing trip.   The original plan was to try and nab all three local high points (PA, WV, and MD), but after looking at the travel time, and how long our 18 month old would last in the car we determined it would be best to only do one.  We picked the closest (Mt Davis) and then planned a few other activities to go along with the trip to make it a weekend. 

We made our way down to Mt Davis from Pittsburgh early on a rainy Saturday morning and hoped that the weather would clear.  Unfortunately, the rain was persistent so we stopped for lunch at a local sandwich shop and watched the rain for a while.  Eventually it gave up and the sun peaked out.  At about 12:00 we made our way to the parking area at Mt Davis State Park.  We knew that the summit was essentially a walk up but had expected at least a little bit of a walk so we loaded our Son into the baby backpack and got underway.  The mountain laurels were in bloom all over the place which added a nice touch to "climbing" this highpoint during this time of year.
A little to our surprise the "summit" was only about 100m from the parking area.  We scaled the observation tower much to our small traveler's delight and spent some time taking in the sights.  There is a plaque showing the topography of the area which I thought was really interesting.
After coming back down off of the tower we decided to wander around a little bit and check out some of the trails in the area.  There is an interesting information center built just to the east of the tower that we perused and then did a short hike down some of the local trails but ended up turning around due to the fact that the trail was turning into a stream from all of the recent rain. 

Afterwards we headed into Confluence, about a 15 minute drive from the highpoint and on to our next adventure.  The little guy didn't feel like taking a nap at the Bed and Breakfast so we pulled the bikes off of the back of the car and loaded him into the bike trailer for a ride on the Great Allegheny Passage trail up into Ohiopyle State Park.  This is a really cool ride and I highly suggest it to anyone looking for something to do.  We were on our Road Bikes (skinny tires) and although we didn't run into a flat tires I think I need to either look at a different bike or maybe some new wheels/tires for rails to trails riding.  Nevertheless we rode about 10 miles into the park and then started working our way back to the bed and breakfast when the sky started to turn dark on us.  It was the sort of dark when you know the sky is just going to open up.  We picked up the pace a little to try and beat the rain and for a while it looked like we were actually going to make it.  Not the case.  With about 1.5 miles left the skys opened like the world was going to end.  Luckily our son was in his bike trailer with a rain fly so he stayed nice and dry but Kim and I were soaked through to the bone.  The trail turned pretty bad too, at points we were riding through almost 3-4 inches of water.  Finally we made it back to the B&B to shower and dry out.  

That night after J went to sleep we hung out downstairs with a group of people staying at the B&B with us.  They were all biking the entire GAP trail from Pittsburgh to DC.  It's about a 350 mile trip and they were all staying at local trail town B&B's along the way.  It was really interesting to hear from them how they were planning thier trips and what they had done along the way.  I had never thought about long distance cycling trips like that but it got the wheels turning.  I think a through tour of the GAP might be in my future...

On the way back to Pittsburgh we drove right by the Fort Necessity National Battlefield so we stopped to take a look.  This would be a great side trip for anyone climbing Mt. Davis.  It is pretty close to the high point and a really cool, really walkable place to visit.

Before we went to the park I had never really heard of Fort Necessity, but it is a really interesting story.  Long story short, this is where George Washington (at the time a Lieutenant Colonel in the Virginia Militia) holed up in a makeshift fort during a skirmish with the French who were colonizing this area of western Pennsylvania.  This action essentially started the French and Indian Wars,  It is really cool to see the scale that warfare took at that time.  Everything was considerably closer that it is now.  This is definitely a place to see, even J enjoyed himself!

1 comment: