Monday, July 4, 2016

Hills Creek State Park–Wellsboro PA

 

Wed (6/15) to Sat (6/18):

We made the short drive from Bald Eagle State Park to Wellsboro PA and then tried to find Hills Creek State Park. Our Garmin GPS sent us down several county roads some of which were not paved. We finally stopped at the top of a hill, unhitched the Jeep, and Connie attempted to find the park. She finally found the park office and was told we had been assigned to Site 8.  I then drove the motorhome into the park and we managed to navigate to our site. This park is definitely not “big rig friendly” as far as the roads go. They have a strange numbering system in the park: Site 1, Site 2, Site 8 and then Site 11 (nothing in between). If you are not careful, you will drive right passed your site.The site itself was large enough once we were able to maneuver by backing up into the site. We later found out that the road that goes over the dam that is the main entrance to the park is only rated for 10 tons (we are much larger than that), so we had to take a back way into the park. Our satellite dish found one satellite so we were able to watch DirecTV even though we were situated among a number of large trees.

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Once we finished setting up, we decided to take the trail that goes around the small lake in the middle of the park. One side of the lake is planted with spruce trees while the other side has a number of pines tree planted. The original hardwoods in this area were all harvested before the park was created. The trail was about 2.5 miles and then it was another mile back to our campsite. The temperature was pleasant and the trail was not too wet. Within the park we saw lots of chipmunks, squirrels, deer, one bobcat and one fox.

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On Thursday we went into Wellsboro and walked around the downtown area. Wellsboro is the county seat and the downtown area is full of shops and restaurants. For being a small town of about 3,500 residents, it has an active downtown area (no Walmart yet). Early in the 20th century the town was the shipping point and trade center for a large area of northern Pennsylvania. It had fruit evaporators, flour & woolen mills, marble works, saw mills, foundry & machine shops and manufactories of cut glass, chemicals rugs, bolts, cigars, carriages and furniture. Very few of these are active today. We had seen an old “Diner” that looked interesting and so we ended up having pie and coffee at the Wellsboro Diner which began operating in 1939.

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We also went out to the Tioga Visitor Center and got information about the area, especially the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania which is located a few miles west of Wellsboro.

On Friday we again went into Wellsboro for the 75th Annual Laurel Festival. They have a lot of vendors (you have to be invited to the festival) selling all types of crafts, pictures/paintings & assorted knick-knacks along with groups/individuals selling all types of food. We walked around the festival, saw the “Queens” from the local towns getting their pictures taken and both ate Gyros & Bloomin’ Onions for lunch. A number of the vendors have been coming to this show for over 30 years. On Saturday they are having a “Festival Run”, “Festival Bike Race” and a parade through the downtown streets. We will end up missing this since we are moving north tomorrow.

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On Friday afternoon I started to feel a “bit under the weather” so we returned back to the campground where we both took naps. I continued to feel bad throughout the night (getting cold and then hot) before my fever broke early Saturday morning. We slept late on Saturday morning since we have a very short drive to our next campground. I had cleaned up the loop road out of the campsite earlier in the week by trimming a number of low hanging limbs. We still had a very tight turn and if we had been any longer I’m not sure we could have made it. Again we had to exit through the back entrance to the park along a number of unpaved roads (getting everything dusty).