Sunday, July 12, 2009

Hickory Run, PA

Hickory Run State Park (near White Haven, PA)

My family has camped here every year for as long as I can remember, sometimes even twice a year. About 15500-acres, the park boasts more than 20 different hiking trails totaling over 40 miles. Ice-skating, cross-country skiing, and snowmobiling is allowed in the winter, and Sand Spring Lake and Hawk Falls are always busy in the summer. Camping spots are almost all well shaded and spacious. My family goes on the same hikes every year and we always shoot for one of the camping sites near the playground/pond. It never gets old. The only major downside is that the little camp store has come under new management, and (to our shock and horror) no longer carries teaberry gum or small woodland animal figurines made in china (the latter is not such a loss).
They do, however, still carry the state-renown Lehigh Valley chocolate milk, unless of course you camp during our annual stay, in which case the store will be sold out due to Nik and Ricky's undying love for this delicacy (they have been known to buy several gallons in one day). The wildlife is also a plus. Each time we have camped we have seen tons of dear and about every other year we spot a bear or two. The most memorable bear experience of my Hickory Run camping generation was no doubt the time we had some neighbors pull into camp, unload an entire pick-up full of food onto their picnic table, and promptly leave the scene despite the signs tacked up every 5 feet reading "Beware of bears! Do not leave out food!" My entire family then watched with delight as two moderately sized black bears ransacked the feast (one of the many reasons that camping beats tv). We also had some personal food/trash stealing experience with raccoons and skunks. The best Hickory Run bear story by far though is from my mom's younger camping years when she and her uncles tried to convince my not-so-adventurous grandmother that
the mother bear and cubs crossing the street in front of their car were actually a family of black labradors. Knowing her, she probably fell for it. But even if you've got a touch of bearphobia, I'd still encourage a trip here. The hikes alone are well worth it.

Major pro: tons of beautiful hiking trails
Major cons: If you leave food out, it WILL be eaten by either skunks, raccoons, or bears… or a combination of the above.
Tip: Pack for colder weather than you'd expect. My mom had it snow in June during one of her stays...
Score: ∆∆∆∆ (4 tents)

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