BY VICKI TERWILLIGER
If getting into shape is on the agenda for this new year, or just taking more time to enjoy the outdoors, goal-seekers may find the Schuylkill On the Move 2020 walk schedule helpful.
Hikes from January through June are listed, some easy jaunts, others more challenging. The SOM hikes include some new routes this year, according to Patrick “Porcupine Pat” McKinney, education coordinator for the Schuylkill Conservation District.
“Combined, we offer something for all people and at all levels in most parts of the county,” McKinney said.
A project of Schuylkill County’s VISION organization, SOM hikes promote “positive steps toward good health through walking and an appreciation of the natural beauty and fascinating history of our area,” the VISION website, schuylkillvision.com, states. A list of the 26 hike times and locations can be found there.
Mandy Fitzpatrick, program and development director for Schuylkill County VISION, is one of the hike leaders, along with McKinney, Mike Centelghe, Robin Tracey, Jim Eisenhart, Mark Schraeder and “Sojourner Steve.”
“A lot of hikes are tried and true, but we are especially pleased to see that Mandy is offering hikes during the week on the new stretch of the Schuylkill River Trail located at Tumbling Run,” McKinney said Tuesday. “ ‘Hiker Jim E.’ is also offering a walk on the new stretch of this trail from the Saint Clair Dunkin’ Donuts on up the mountain. Last year, a crew from Schuylkill Greenways cleaned and erected fencing along this segment.”
The next one, “The Pinnacle Hike,” is set for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 11, with Schraeder leading. Those interested in the 9-mile “difficult” hike should meet at the Hamburg Reservoir parking lot.
Sojourner Steve will lead an easy 5-mile hike to see abandoned mines, old railroad and old stage coach roads, and an old reservoir in a “Gold Mine Mountain Special” outing slated for 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 19. Hikers can meet at the game commission parking lot across from Boxcar Rocks on Gold Mine Road. The hike is dog friendly.
A “Wednesday Wander” with “Meandering Mandy” Fitzpatrick will lead hikers through a stretch on the Schuylkill River Trail that parallels Route 61 at Tumbling Run from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 1. The group will meet at the old 84 Lumber parking lot in Pottsville to carpool to the start location. The 3-mile walk is listed as “easy.”
Other excursions planned will traverse Blue Mountain, Mahanoy Plane, Sweet Arrow Lake County Park, Silver Creek Fire Tower and Reservoir near Locust Lake State Park, Frog Hollow, Tuscarora State Park, Big Lick Mountain, Stonehedge Gardens and Bear Valley.
Several organizations sponsor SOM walks, including VISION, the conservation district, Schuylkill County Visitors’ Bureau, Schuylkill County Conservancy and the Schuylkill County Historical Society.
Contact the writer: 570-628-6007