Pine Grove Furnace State Park
Gardners Travel Blog› entry 5 of 16 › view all entries
Ever since I was a little girl, my parents would take me camping at one of PA oldest campgrounds. It has so many historical features there that you can see the shadows of all the people that have been there for as long as it has been used. The campgrounds are just now in 2008 updating to flush toilets. For all these years it has had outhouses and only cold mountain water to wash your hands from. The campsites in the last 15 years started allowing pets to come and in the last 10 years have they allowed rafts at one of the lakes (Fuller Lake) that has the deepest point of about 42 feet. The lake is roped off to 5 feet and then again at 42 feet. It is fed by the mountain springs. Laurel Lake which is about 3 miles away only reaches about 20 feet deep but it is much colder since the dam is nearby and the water is constantly running thru. There is boating of all types at Laurel Lake. Of course the Appalachian Trail runs thru Pine Grove furnace and the Park Store sells ice cream and for the hikers hiking on the Appalachian Trail if you eat a half gallon of icecream in one sitting, you are given a wooden spoon engraved for a trophy!
The Iron Masters Youth Hostel is nearby if you really need a shower or if you are hiking thru and want to stay in a dry clean place. It is $22.00 / night now.
There is an ampitheater near site 17 which used to show only nature movies, but as the years have passed they now gear it for children and show disney movies that deal with nature.
I love listening to the katie dids and crickets at night which will lull you to sleep and the owls every now and again come flying around. I have been on night hikes there where we follow the park ranger with no lights and just listen to what is described and the actual sounds of nature around you.
If you go to PA, and are heading near Carlisle, head to Pine Grove State Park up the mountain and enjoy the peaceful part of nature!
While at Pine Grove Furnace near Laurel Lake there is a nice long trail up the mountain. If you are in shape it will take about an hour to get to the top, if not, you may not make it. My mother can not make it to the top. There are a lot of rocks and cliffs to climb near the top to get to the top. Once on the top of Pole Steeple you can see out over the entire Laurel Lake and the local area. I have to find those photos and I will add them to this journal.
People camp out up there during the day and have little camp fires and cookouts if they can carry the supplies which they usually have to go up the longer side which takes longer than an hour due to it circling around the cliffs instead of climbing them directly.
I remember when I was a little girl my Dad and I used to climb up there and spend the whole day to get away from all the crowds and the noise in the campgrounds and spend one on one time with each other. We would talk about life.
Eventually when my parents split up, I brought my mothers new husband up the mountainside, but he is not as strong and athletic and has a lot more trouble climbing up. But nonetheless he enjoys it the same and feels like he accomplishes somthing amazing everytime we climb.
I did bring one of my boyfriends up there way back when and he climbed out to one of the edges of the cliffs and enjoyed the solitude and peace and quiet and serenity.
Braver souls enjoy rapelling up and down the cliff. Even though I did my time in the United States Marine Corps, I still will not rapel up or down the side of the cliff.
Make sure you carry water up, but once you make the descent back down the pipe is there which produces fresh water from the moutain to be enjoyed. It is always cold too.
So if you are hiking on the Appalachian Trail one day and heading thru Micheaux Forest in Pennsylvania make sure you go to Pole Steeple.