Uploaded on Jul 15, 2009
This is the first part of a video record depicting a hike to Devils Race Course, a blockfield located on Pennsylvania State Game Lands no. 211 and partly in Middle Paxton and East Hanover townships, Dauphin County, Pennsylvania. The roughly six-mile round-trip hike was done on 13 July 2009. A previous unsuccesful attempt to hike to Devils Race Course was documented in the bapyou video 'hiking Stony Mountain | 30 June 2009.'
CORRECTION: At 5:44, while standing on top of Stony Mountain, I misspeak identifying Peters Mountain as a "ridge to the south" . This is wrong. Peters Mountain is a ridge located to the north of Stony Mountain, not to the south. To the south of Stony Mountain are Sharp and Second mountains.
Blockfields are usually classified as periglacial (near-glacial conditions) geomorphic features, a remnant of the various glacial periods which came and went during the Pleistocene Epoch of geologic time. (The Pleistocene Epoch began approximately 1.6 to 2 million years ago and came to a close approximately 10,000 years ago with the onset of warming and the beginning of the Holocene Epoch of geologic time.) Blockfields require (1) a bedrock source for the boulders of which they are comprised, and (2) a nearby slope down which the weathered boulder-sized material is fed to the block bed.
There are a number of well-known blockfields located in the state of Pennsylvania. Perhaps the best known and most-visited is Boulder Field, located in Hickory Run State Park in northern Carbon County. Blue Rocks blockfield is located on a privately run campground of the same name near Lenhartsville in Berks County, whereas River of Rocks can be found in the valley down below Hawk Mountain also in Berks County. The Devils Potato Patch is a blockfield located on top of the ridge Blue Mountain in the wind gap called Little Gap just north of Danielsville on the Northampton County/Carbon County line. The Devils Race Course is the least accessible (and therefore the least visited) of all the blockfields in Pennsylvania.
Directions to Devils Race Course:
From the parking area where the Appalachian Trail (AT) crosses Route 325 in the valley of Clark Creek (Dauphin County, PA), cross the bridge over Clark Creek and turn left off of the gravel road onto the AT. Hike on the AT (white blazes) until its intersection with the Henry Knauber Trail (HKT) after about 1/4 mile or so.
Turn right (south) onto the HKT (red blazes) and follow it for about one mile up to the top of Stony Mountain.
At the top of Stony Mountain you will come to a cairn. Turn left to remain on the HKT.
You will descend into a shallow valley and, eventually, cross some swampy areas, a few small brooks, and begin to rise on the other side of the shallow valley through some leafy areas. (Keep an eye on the trail as you go.)
NOTE: As you hike on these forest trails, take care to notice double blazes marking the trail. A double blaze -- two blaze marks, one above the other -- indicates a significant change in direction for the trail. A blaze mark is a (usually) rectangular patch of paint on a tree trunk, though sometimes they are painted on rocks.
Eventually the HKT intersects with the Horseshoe Trail (also called the Rattling Run Trail on the USGS topographic maps depicting this area), a wide grassy vehicle road (or former vehicle road?) probably used by hunters during game season. Turn left (northeast) onto this road/trail.
Walk about one to one-and-a-half miles keeping an eye through the trees to your left (north) as you walk. You will eventually notice an expanse of light-colored rocks at a distance of about two-hundred yards through the trees. When you see these light-colored rocks through the trees, make your way northward through the forest and you will come to the edge of the Devils Race Course.