DOC Hawk Mountain Hike Nov. 2014

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The weather for our November hike was a little cold. When we got there the thermometer registered 29 degrees, but once we got started things began to warm up. Our first stop was at the lookout on Lookout Trail. We spent a little time there looking for the raptors listed as migrating November 15th, which included: the Golden Eagle, Northern Harrier, Red-tailed Hawk, Rough-legged Hawk, Red-shouldered Hawk, Northern Goshawk, and Vulture. Continue reading

DOC Little Buffalo Christmas Trails

DOC LogoOn Sat., Dec. 20th join the Duncannon Outdoor Club for a night out at the Little Buffalo State Park Christmas Trails.  This event is for the whole family, especially the little ones.  Learn about where common animals go in the winter, and then walk the quarter mile trail lit with lights and decorated with many Christmas displays.  Stop at the North  Pole to visit Santa and stop by for cookies and hot chocolate on the way.  We will meet at the Duncannon Family Health Center at 7:00 pm. to carpool.  Call 717-395-2462 or email to register.  Bring some money since donations are requested and a small fee may be asked for the hot chocolate and cookies.  Hope to see you there!

DOC Volunteer Opportunity

DOC LogoOn Sat., Dec. 6th join the Duncannon Outdoor Club as we help the workers at Little Buffalo State Park decorate for their Christmas Trails to be held Dec. 17th through the 23rd.  They are in need of volunteers to make this event a wonderful experience for all.  If interested in volunteering call 717-395-2462 or email   We will be helping from 1:00 to 4:00 pm,  We will meet at the Duncannon Family Health Center at 12:30 to carpool or at the park office at 1:00.  Please consider lending a hand for this free community service,

Ricketts Glen Hike Review

Duncannon Outdoor Club Group Photo at Ricketts Glen

The Duncannon Outdoor Club at Ricketts Glen

Our hike to Ricketts Glen State Park was a little wet, but we still had a great time.  Mother Nature rained on us off and on, but we did not let that dampen our spirits.  The falls were beautiful since it had rained a few days before and water levels were high.  You could hear the roar of the falls all along the trail.

We had the privilege to hear Judy Adamac, the park naturalist, as she spoke about the history of Ricketts Glen, past logging practices, trail safety, and the best way to hike the Falls Trail.  She recommended we change our plan and go down the less steep side and go up the steeper side since trails were so wet and slippery.  We followed her recommendation on the Falls Trail, but chose to hike Highland Trail back to the beach parking lot where we started instead of taking Bear Trail back.

We learned a lot about Colonel Robert Bruce Ricketts, who fought in the a Civil War.  At one time he  owned or had control over 80,000 acres of land Continue reading

Oldest Female Thru-Hiker

Couple at Hawk RockWhile hiking to Hawk Rock today, I met a young couple sitting on the rock and enjoying the view.  I presented my usual speech about the DATC, what we do, how they could help, and added some general trail info.  While doing this, a lady and her gentleman friend arrived and overheard our conversation.  After I finished talking to the young couple, I turned my attention toward the older hikers.  I was glad they had arrived early enough to hear our conversation so I wouldn’t have to repeat it for them.  I got to talking with the lady in the older group and correctly guessed that she was section-hiking and had come in from the south at Rt. 850.  All of my other assumptions about her were incorrect.

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Duncannon Outdoor Club Nov. Hike at Hawk Mt.

DOC LogoOn Sat., Nov. 15th join the Duncannon Outdoor Club (DOC) for a day at Hawk Mountain.   Learn about and observe raptors as they migrate.  We will then go on an average paced approximate 6 mile hike over rocky, rough and moderate terrain with two lookouts for a beautiful view.  There is a strenuous climb at the end of the trail we are going to be on, River Rock Trail.  Bring binoculars, water, a snack and lunch.  Cost is $6.40 if there are more than 10 people 13 years and older.  Otherwise, cost is $8.00 per person.  Meet at the Duncannon Family Health Center at 7:30 am. to carpool.  Alternately meet at the Kmart parking lot in Summerdale at 8:00 am.  Please reimburse drivers 10 cents to the mile for gas.  Distance is 59 miles.  Call 717-395-2462 or email to register. Wear orange.

Litter Below Hawk Rock is Gone!

Volunteers collected litter from Duncannon's Hawk Rock overllokAfter removing the graffiti from Hawk Rock and improving the trail below, there was only one thing keeping our cleanup project from being a complete success: the trash littering the base of Hawk Rock.  During our previous cleanup we picked up the trash far below Hawk Rock but we couldn’t climb all of the way up to the plateau just below it.   We needed an experienced climber to get to the most inaccessible areas and that’s where Kevin (The Axe Man) Dunleavy comes in.

Kevin is a skilled climber, caver and hiker who has accompanied the York Hiking Club and the Susquehanna Appalachian Trail Club on many trail maintenance outings.  Mr. Dunleavy kindly volunteered to help the DATC and the Mountain Club of Maryland by rappelling down the face of Hawk Rock and cleaning the unsightly mess caused by years of carelessly discarded litter.  After descending 65 feet to the base of the rock, he spent an hour filling a large trash bag with bottles, cans, food wrappers and miscellaneous garbage.  We then hauled the whole mess up and out of the woods where it was properly discarded along with our regular household trash.

It’s appalling to consider the fact that people can carry full and heavy containers UP the trail but they can’t be bothered to carry them DOWN once they are empty.  It’s sad really.  Some people don’t care or they just don’t know any better.  Fortunately, Duncannon is surrounded by good people who work hard to protect and preserve our outdoor natural resources!

Second Hawk Rock Cleanup a GREAT Success!

The cleanest Hawk Rock has been in more than 35 years.

The cleanest Hawk Rock has been in more than 35 years.

Our second outing to clean the Hawk Rock area was a GREAT success thanks to the many wonderful volunteers who donated their time on a beautiful Sunday afternoon. I think almost everyone managed to get at least a gallon of water up to Hawk Rock.  We were hoping for 20 gallons of water at the top of the mountain but ended up with about 35 gallons and we used every last drop to blast off as much graffiti as possible. There’s still some paint left in the nooks and crannies but nothing is legible and you can see more of the rock’s natural color coming through.

Third Rock, the rock closer to the bottom third of the mountain, came out almost perfectly clean since it only had a couple layers of paint on it.

In addition to hauling water and removing graffiti, volunteers from Day Hikers of Central PA, Reddit, DATC, MCM and SATC also helped: trim back trail vegetation, clear water bars, slide a big rock off the trail in the avalanche area, fix the step at the bottom of the stairs just before Hawk Rock, and collect 2 HUGE bags of trash from below Hawk Rock. Continue reading

DOC October Hike at Ricketts Glen State Park

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On Sat., Oct. 18th join the Duncannon Outdoor Club (DOC) for a day at one of the most beautiful state parks in PA. We will be spending the day at Ricketts Glen State Park, known for its 24 pristine falls ranging from 9 foot to 94 ft. We will be learning about the history of Ricketts Glen and hiking safety from park naturalist, Judy Adamic. Then we will hike over moderate to strenuous terrain at an average pace as we walk a total of 3.2 miles down the falls trail and back up again. It is known as the most magnificent hike in the state and one of the top hikes in the East. Pack a lunch, plenty of water and your cameras. Wear hiking boots as the trails by the falls are wet and slippery. This is an all-day event in that the ride there will be approximately 2 hours one way. Meet at 8:00 am at the Duncannon Family Health Center to carpool. Please reimburse drivers 10 cents per mile for gas. Call 395-2462 or email to register.

DATC Newsletter – September 2014

Duncannon AT Community SignTHE JUNE DATC FESTIVAL:  The DATC Festival went pretty well.  We probably had about twice as many people in attendance than we did last year, we had a lot more volunteers, vendors were happier, and everyone seemed to like the location on High Street.  I would say it was a successful collaboration between the Appalachian Trail and the Duncannon community.  We polled the vendors after the festival and we received overwhelmingly positive responses with almost all saying they would return for next year.  We still have plenty of room to grow and look forward to your cooperation and participation next year on Saturday, June 20th.

HAWK ROCK VANDALISM: Some time during Friday, August 1st, a lovestruck loser decided to proclaim his love by setting up a table and chairs at Hawk Rock, painting about 30 red hearts along the Appalachian Trail, painting graffiti on a large rock a third of the way up the mountain, and spray painting a love message across all of Hawk Rock.  You can read more about it here.  We also happen to have a pictue of a guy who might know something about it.

HAWK ROCK CLEANUP – PART 1: On Sunday, August 24th, the DATC, the Mountain Club of Maryland and the Appalachian Trail Conservancy joined together to remove a large amount of the new graffiti and some of the old stuff too.  Hawk Rock is looking better than it has in years but our work is not done yet.

HAWK ROCK CLEANUP – PART 2: We have scheduled another cleanup day for this coming Sunday September 14th, and we are asking volunteers to carry water and help with some light trail maintenance.  We will be at the Duncannon Recycling Center between 10AM and 2PM and you are welcome to come out and help us or just bring some water jugs and get to know us.  Either way, Continue reading