As a runner and as an officer of the Indiana Road Runners Club, the parks and trails created and maintained by Indiana County are very important to me and to my fellow club members. Our parks and trails provide us with beautiful natural areas where we can run, walk, and bike safely. Facilities in the parks and along the trails provide water and restrooms for those of us doing long training runs.
As an undergraduate student, I used to walk to Musser Gap from my dorm room on campus to spend a weekend or more backpacking. In the past few years, trails were created that connect Musser Gap to Shingletown Gap and the Mid-State Trail–one could start a hike at Musser Gap and hike for weeks without leaving the woods.
Fifteen years later, it is now a regular part of my job as a park ranger to share my wonderment out on the 6 to 10 Trail. It’s been almost ten years since the trail was developed. Some sections along the oldest parts of the railroad are for hiking only. The trails are still fairly primitive, but much improved since my first time out there. Other parts of the trail, where the rough ballast rocks used to give me so much trouble, have now been covered with smooth, crushed limestone for the enjoyment of thousands of hikers and bicyclists every month.
The trail provides an excellent surface, completely traffic-free. It traverses a region of unusual natural beauty. The trail tracks through forests along Kratzer Run, Anderson Creek, and the Susquehanna River. Running on this trail evoked the history of the region—especially that of the Susquehannock native people, who lived in villages along these streams, and traveled the rivers and pathways of the area for centuries.
Spring Creek runs clear and cold, and is fed, as its name indicates, by the many springs along its course. The trail is a walker’s delight. Each meander of the stream is an invitation to new discoveries. The riparian environment is perfect for turtles, and the numerous insects the wary trout depend upon. A wide variety of trees, bushes, ferns, and wildflowers adds additional interest. The path, much of which follows Fish Commission access roads, makes for easy, pleasant walking.