Know when the hunt begins…
By: Pat Coate
Marilla Springs trail near Bradford, PA has been on my list to check out for a while and I got my chance November 20th. It was a nice hike but a bit of an adventure…
The trail starts out by crossing over the spillway at the Marilla Reservoir, then follows the reservoir for a bit before heading off to the southwest to follow Marilla Brook. The initial part of the trail (up to the White Pines trail cutoff) is gravel with a couple bridges and has a nature-trail feel as a number of trees have signs indicating species. After the White Pines cutoff, the trail heads into the woods with the brook ever-present to the right. It is a beautiful (and wet in many places) trail, with many small streams feeding into the brook. Our dog, Kadin, and I had the trail to ourselves and we thoroughly enjoyed the 3.5 mile hike out to the spring that is the beginning of Marilla Brook. The trail ends at Forest Road 173H and there is a trailhead marker at the road.
As I reached the road, an SUV with four orange-clad hunters was going by and much to my surprise informed me that it was the first day of the bear season in PA. They said that it was the first time it opened on a Saturday and there were a lot of idiots out (I must admit at that point I felt squarely in that category) and to be careful. So, after they left, I rearranged my clothing layers so I at least had bright purple as the outer layer – not quite the required orange but enough to make it awfully hard for a hunter to explain why he/she thought I was a bear – and started back down the trail. I did hear some gunshots on the way back and ran into two groups of hunters. They were not particularly stealthful and I heard them well before I saw them – I think they were amused by my calls of ‘hiker not a bear’ to let them know I was there before making visual contact. I also ran into two other groups of hikers who were also surprised by the hunting activity.
All in all, it was a fun hike. I definitely plan on coming back and checking out the Marilla Overlook Trail and Marilla Rocks – just not in hunting season!
Some shots along the way:
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