Posted by: davepidgeon | February 9, 2009

Mother nature’s freezer

We in the mid-Atlantic reached 50 wonderful degrees this weekend, teasing us with April-like temperatures. But in early February, while my mind’s seduced by the ideas of the wilderness in spring, I’m not quite ready to give up on a winter experience. At this point, I want just one more ski trip or one more camp night on the snow. Or at the very least, I’d like to spy an ice fall like the one below along the Loyalsock Creek in northcentral Pennsylvania:


A backpacker moves toward an ice fall along the Loyalsock Creek, Pa.

A backpacker moves toward an ice fall along the Loyalsock Creek, Pa.

You just can’t find that shade of pale blue anywhere else.

Backpacker recently listed three great hikes to see ice: Chimney Pond, Maine; Chippewa Moraine, Wisc.; and the ironically named Lava Beds, Calif. 

But they missed one. Here in Pennsylvania, Ricketts Glen State Park turns into an ice playground when fall descends into deep winter. But this place located between Williamsport and Wilkes Barre is no spot for a novice, as the state park system notes on its Web site:

As of November 20, 2008 at 5 PM, the Falls Trail is closed to all except registered ice climbers and experience hikers with the proper gear. This gear should include crampons, an ice axe, rope, and a hiking partner. This closure is due to ice, snow, and hazardous conditions on the trail. Ice climbers must register at the park office porch area. 

But if you have a knack for finding out what life’s like inside mother nature’s ice cooler, you can hardly beat Ricketts Glen. Where else are you going to find 22 waterfalls in an 8-mile jaunt?



  1. I’m not into hiking, but after seeing something like that, I might start.

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