As I opened my eyes, I heard rain pattering on the canvas of the pop-up camper. I rolled over and snuggled closer to Peter who was curled up on his blanket. I laid with him for a while, just listening to the peaceful sounds of the rain. The rain had begun the night before when we were coming back from Mill Hall. It was supposed to rain all day but I was OK with that. I enjoy a rainy day. Something about it seems so tranquil. It also meant that the day could be spent driving around to explore other parks.
After much debate, we decided to drive to Black Moshannon State Park which is about 30 to 40 minutes from the Russell P. Letterman campground. Black Moshannon State Park includes 3300+ acres of land, which is surrounded by the vast, 43,000 acre Moshannon State Forest. The far-reaching forests make the park feel secluded and remote. As we entered the park and pulled up to the park office, the small lake caught our eye. It was a long, narrow lake that was covered in aquatic flora. The lake is a mere 250 acres compared to the 1700-plus acre lake at Bald Eagle. But it was charming. The lake was inviting for kayaks and canoes, and the paddling pups who enjoy them.
After leaving the office with maps in hand, we went to one of the boat launch areas. I invited Peter for a short walk around the boat launch to which he happily agreed. We took in the views of the unique lake and strolled through a forested trail before heading back to the truck.
We drove around the lake to other launches and even road through the campground. We perused the most attractive, dog-friendly sites and wrote down the site numbers for a future visit. We also visited the camp store before turning back towards Bald Eagle.
When we got back to the Russell P. Letterman campground, Peter and I were itching for more adventure. Even though it was a wet and rainy day, we geared up with our waterproof coats and went for a hike. I decided to hike the Woapalanne Trail and drove to the trail head at Winter Launch. As Peter and I started our hike, Penn State University students hauled oars and long shells (boats) to the water. They appeared to be holding a team rowing practice.
We heard coaches giving instructions to the students as we carried on, strolling down the trail. The light rain added a misty tone to our hike as wisps of fog caressed the mountains. Red berries added a dash of color among the glistening green of the trail and forest. As we hiked along, we saw a groundhog eating an evening meal of vegetation. I also spotted at least 3 White-tailed deer as their white flags bobbed through the forest. Luckily, the breeze was blowing their scent away from the trail as my busy little Beagle sniffed among the grasses. A scent of deer would certainly be too overwhelming for my well-mannered hound to stay calm and collected.
As we approached Winter Launch upon our return, the sounds of coaches using megaphones came into my awareness. Our hike had mostly been silent apart from the birds and insects that created the melody for our adventure.
We headed back to the campground just as the trees started to dance wildly in the wind. Little did we know what would become of the Woapalanne Trail the next morning.