Pennsylvania hikers don't slow down in colder temperatures - in fact, some hikers enjoy the trails even more in the winter. Trails offer a completely different experience when trees lose their leaves, ice forms along trickling streams, and snow dustings become the normal on mountain peaks. Enjoy a Pennsylvania hiking trail this December with the comfort of warm conversation from a local hiking group! Here are just a few happenings this month:
Before hitting the trails, make sure you're prepared for the season with these Winter hiking tips from Lancaster County Day Hikes including:
Q: How do you decide which first aid items to take with you on a day hike?
A: I look at the weather, length of hike, type of terrain, number of people, time of day/year (is there a chance I’ll get stuck out overnight?). You also want to think about items that cannot be improvised and consider those that can be. For example a cotton t-shirt or bandana can work as gauze or a cravat (triangular bandage), but we can’t improvise medical gloves and CPR masks. The first aid kit is fluid based on these factors.
Q: Which first aid items should you always carry with you?
A: There are a few essentials for any hiking trip including disposable medical gloves, pocket mask, blister care, gauze/bandages for bleeding control and cuts/scraps, an elastic bandage or triangular bandage, splinting materials. You also want to consider a way to clean wounds, and a way to purify water. The splinting materials can be improvised from items you might have with you like a fleece, bandana, camp chair, or hiking poles. I also consider items like matches/fire starter, headlamp/flashlight, and a pocketknife.
Q: Are there items people might consider adding to their kit for the fall/winter (as opposed to summer/spring)?
A: Absolutely! In all seasons I think of my backpack as my first aid kit - not just the gauze and bandages in the First Aid Kit. In cooler weather, first and foremost bring an extra base layer, such as long underwear, and a rain jacket/pants. Rain gear isn’t just for rain but helps to keep you warm from the wind and prevent heat loss which can protect against hypothermia. When caring for a sick or injured person in the backcountry, keeping them warm and dry is a high priority. It’s not a bad idea to have along an extra pair of socks especially if you are prone to blisters or there is risk of getting your feet wet. You still want to consider sun exposure during fall/winter and consider the reflection of the sun off surfaces like snow and exposed rock, which can cause a nasty sunburn, especially to the lips and face. If you are hiking above tree line or in the snow consider sunscreen, sunglasses and hat. In winter months consider bringing along a small camp stove. This will make for a fun way enjoy a hot chocolate or coffee break along the trail, but serve as a valuable tool if you do end up getting stuck out overnight. You can consider an emergency blanket or small emergency sleeping bag. One of the most dangerous things in cold weather is exposure - be prepared to avoid that. And as always, bring some snacks! :)
Interested in a training opportunity to become certified in Wilderness First Aid?
Here are some upcoming training sessions with Tara:
Wilderness First Aid - Dickinson College March 22-23, 2024 (https://www.wildmed.com/course/wilderness-first-aid-630/)
Wilderness First Responder - (no prior med training needed)
Philadelphia Outward Bound School Feb 24–Mar 1, 2024 (https://www.wildmed.com/course/wilderness-first-responder-279/)
Princeton Blairstown Center March 17-23, 2024 (https://www.wildmed.com/course/wilderness-first-responder-273/)
Wilderness EMS Upgrade (for EMTs, Paramedics, RNs, PAs, NPs, MD/DO)
The Lancaster Conservancy February 15-19, 2024
Stay tuned to the www.wildmed.com website for even more offerings!
KTA plans to host a Wilderness First Aid course with Tara in the Spring 2024, so be sure you're signed up for our newsletter to get notified!
I want to thank you for your efforts in furthering our mission of providing, preserving, protecting, and
promoting recreational hiking trails and hiking opportunities in Pennsylvania.
I hope you have been enjoying the colors of fall on one of many Pennsylvania hiking trails, especially
those who attended the fall KTA Keystone HikeFest in Johnstown, PA. We want to thank our staff
who put in many hours planning the weekend and programs.
At our fall weekend the KTA Council met to approve the KTA 2023-2024 budget, elect new board
members Joanne Heimer, Julie Queen, Anthony Vigliano, and Jim Hyland and Officers President
Wayne Gross, Vice President Karen Lutz, Secretary Julie Queen, and Treasurer Anthony Vigliano, and
carry out other business. At the Annual Meeting the KTA membership elected the KTA
Representatives At Large to the Council for Fall Meeting 2023 to Fall Meeting 2025: Joyce Appel,
Katie Barker, Pradip Bhatnagar, Rita Black, Steve Black, Kathy Borrell, Chris Brubaker, Blase
Hartman, Patricia Huston, Ted Ligenza, Cyril Quatrone, and Donna Thompson. We want to extend
our thanks to Bob Merrill, Jack Hauler, and Ben Cramer for their service on the Board.
Of particular great news announced was the generous bequest by KTA member George Probst who
passed away earlier this year. The Board will be planning the best way to invest this gift for the long term to benefit the members, clubs, and Pennsylvania hiking opportunities in order to further our mission. His gift, like others who have donated to the endowment fund, on going donations, and other financial support help ensure hiking experiences throughout Pennsylvania.
Congratulations to all hiking award recipients and especially to Ingrid Cantarella-Fox for receiving the
KTA Citation Award for Lifetime Achievement at our Annual Fall Meeting. And a special thanks to
those who participated in our Trail Cares throughout the year.
It's not too early to start working on your hiking award to receive it at the Fall 2024 Keystone HikeFest.
In addition, throughout the coming year, please consider your fellow hikers and clubs for nomination
for Certificates of Achievement, Volunteer of the Year, Club of the Year, and the KTA Citation Award
for Lifetime Achievement. You can also plan to take on a 100-Mile Trail Challenge during the coming
Congratulations to Horse-Shoe Trail Conservancy for being the winner of our roll call of the clubs at
our Annual Meeting for having the largest membership in attendance.
For the trails and those who wander on them!
Wayne E. Gross
President, Board of Directors
Keystone Trails Association
The Statewide voice of Pennsylvania Hikers
Please take this opportunity to make a donation to The Keystone Trails Endowment Fund as a lasting
legacy to the mission of KTA. KTA organizational member clubs and other groups may also make
contributions to the fund. Consider making a donation in honor or memory of a club member who has
made a difference in your club or the hiking community.
The following giving levels were established to recognize individuals and groups who have
contributed to the Keystone Trails Endowment Fund. Contributions may be given over a time period
up to a five year period for Keystone Hiker and higher levels of giving.
Life Memberships - $750
Keystone Hiker - $1,000
Keystone Trails Sustainer - $5,000
Keystone Trails Legacy - $10,000
Keystone Trails Visionary - $25,000
Keystone Trails Benefactor - $50,000
Keystone Trails Guardian - $100,000 +
An application is available at the KTA website: https://www.kta-hike.org/keystone-trails-
Thanks for your support,
Wayne E. Gross
KTA Development Committee Chair
Did you know?!
After 13 Trail Care events in 2023....
October was a very busy Trail Care month as we wrapped up the 2023 season. First up was a return trip to work on the Chuck Keiper Trail September 27-October 1. After repeated efforts, the Boggs Run 5-mile section is now finally cleared of the mess of blowdowns. Unfortunately, this stretch, along with some other sections of the CKT, could use some brushing then rebenching. Sproul State Forest is hoping to utilize some PA Outdoor Corps crews next summer on some of these sections, as well as more KTA Trail Care work. Also this weekend, we completely reopened the neglected Little Beaver Trail. This involved finding the trail and some very faded blazes, painting some new beautiful yellow blazes, chainsawing, then DR mowing and brushcutting to re-establish the treadway. Now, hikers can enjoy the novice-friendly 3-mile Little Beaver Loop. Volunteers also cleared downed trees from the Yost Run and Drake Hollow sections. Tom Bastian, Al Germann, Sarah Mocker, Tony Robbins, Rick Stibgen, Donna Thompson, and Jenn Ulmer contributed 112 work hours from Thursday through Sunday -- thank you! Angela, Sproul's new Recreation Forester, also joined in the fun for two days.
October 7th found us returning to Gifford Pinchot State Park's Beaver Creek Trail (Mason Dixon Trail) for a Code Orange workday. One crew continued work on bog bridges and a short footbridge, while others spread some stone and lopped brush. 12 volunteers from KTA, Friends of Pinchot SP, and Mason Dixon Trail, plus staff, contributed 96 volunteer hours. Thanks to Erick Ammon, Tom Bastian, Joe Hardisky, DanHassell, Gozde Hazar, Wendy Johnson, Betsy Leppo, Cecil Leppo, Alan Noble, Tony Robbins, Jenn Ulmer, and Colin Wareham, and to the Friends group for providing Subway lunches.
The not-so-scary Shades of Death Trail in Hickory Run State Park was our focus October 12-15. Forecasted rain shortened our work days to Friday (the 13th!) only, but we still accomplished a lot. The entire trail was chainsawed, lopped, and re-blazed. Three separate wet areas were addressed with digging and rockwork. All working around the most hikers I've ever seen during a workday. That is one popular trail! 6 volunteers contributed 60 hours; much thanks to Tom Bastian, Martyann Gutierrez, Tony Robbins, Dave Schurr, Donna Thompson, and Jenn Ulmer, as well as Megan from HRSP.
The final Trail Care of 2023 brought us back to northeast PA to work on the Pinchot Trail October 26-29. Volunteer Leader Jeff Mitchell had scouted the entire trail and mapped out work sites. We had gorgeous weather Friday and Saturday, and 11 volunteers worked for 104 hours chainsawing, brushcutting, lopping, and painting. Thanks to Pinchot SF Recreation Forester Megan Finnen for all the help with gates and for working with us Friday. Almost half of the volunteers were new to KTA Trail Care; thanks for trying something new, and we hope to see you back next year! Appreciative hikers and backpackers thanked: Tom Bastian, Luther Case, Tim Caspar, Eamonn Connor, Matt Eckle, Al Germann, Martyann Gutierrez, Ted Lewis, Jeff Mithchell, Tony Robbins, and Jenn Ulmer.
Celebrate with us!
Lots of exciting plans for 2024 are starting to take shape! But first, we really want to take some time to fully appreciate everyone that helped contribute to 2023's success. To that end, we're planning a Trail Care Volunteer Celebration, to be held Sunday afternoon, December 3rd. Tentative location is Rock God Brewing in Daville, PA, with some food, beverages, and awards and rewards! All are welcome -- whether you came to one event or all 14. Also, there will be a virtual option for those who'd like to participate but not travel. Watch your email for your invitation!
Keystone Trails Association