The world these days is full of confusion, uncertainty, and turmoil. Travel and vacation plans might be on hold but you can still find fun during quarantine and explore your local area. Hiking is a great way to discover new places and get some exercise (I might have added the Quarantine 15 ugh). My children and I decided to explore different parks and trails in our state, including some treasure hunts!
Our first weekend we decided to head up to Swatara State Park to check out Bordner’s Cabin, a cabin that was built in 1939 by a local teacher and his students with materials they found nearby. They built it right by a waterfall which adds to its beauty. The waterfall is called Aycrigg’s Falls and is a little over 40 feet high but plenty of room to climb in and up along the rocks carefully.
The trail itself is about 3 miles and is mostly gravel with a bridge so it’s easily accessible. My child of no fear instantly was up the waterfall when we got there before I could turn around while the rest of us sat and relaxed.
Our trip back to the car took a little longer as we went off trail and climbed on rocks.
Our next trip with our first treasure hunt from Uncharted Lancaster, a website started by a local man who pretended to be an explorer off on great adventures. You can locate his website at https://unchartedlancaster.com
It’s full of history, adventure, hikes and lots of fun. My middle son and I decided to try out the Tunnels of Enola Adventure, a 4 mile round trip hike through tunnels, along railroad tracks, up and down hill in search of clues that you need to unlock the location of the treasure! There’s 2 different paths you can take, the easy path or the hard one. Of course my 12 yr old had to choose the hard one so off we went. You start in Conestoga, Pennsylvania at the Shenks Ferry Wildlife Preserve and go all the way to the Safe Harbor Power Plant. You will need to print out the instructions as we lost cell service in several places but that didn’t stop us.
The trail will take you through four tunnels, one of which you have to bend down and one you have to sit in the stream to get down and up from. Each tunnel has a clue that you have to look for and then you have to match the clue to a page in the diary on the website. Once you figure it out, you’ll be given the location of the treasure and have to hike to find it.
We had so much fun that we decided to do another one with all my kids: the Haunted Indian Gold Adventure. This treasure hunt is about 3 ½ miles long and is on the opposite side of Conestoga. Pay close attention to the beginning part of the trail as we walked right by it the first time and had to retrace our steps. Once again, you have to locate four clues that will give you the password needed to unlock the treasure’s location. We walked along the Enola Low Grade trail and up to the Safe Harbor Overlook Point. From the Point, you can see beautiful views for miles.
If you’re hiking with a younger child, like my 6 yr old; make sure to take breaks and lots of water. But it was worth it to see his face when we unlocked the treasure! If you haven’t heard of Uncharted Lancater, please check them out both on the website and on Facebook. You won’t be disappointed!
Our latest hike was this past weekend. I only have my two youngest so I let the boys pick where they wanted to go off the AllTrails App. They decided on the Shades of Death trail in Hickory Run State Park, about 2 hours north of us. Yes you read that right, Shades of Death. The app said it was only a 2.2 mile trail in and out and was along a creek with waterfalls. We packed up some lunch and changes of clothes because well kids will be kids around water; then headed up. If you do decide to hike there, please get there early as the parking does fill up fast.
The boys loved the trail with rocks to climb up and over and trees to act like they’re Tarzan swinging on.
The good behavior lasted until we came across the creek! From that moment on, they were wet. And loving it! There are some deep spots so be careful but for the most part you can walk in the creek. The waterfalls were so pretty and we couldn’t resist getting close but oh boy was that water cold brrr! Make sure to wear good shoes as the trail goes up and down, sometimes smaller paths and even a stone staircase.
As we walked back, we stopped to rest at the one pond on top of the first waterfall. Even with how cold the water was, they were both in it completely. It was a perfect trail and made their brother and sisters jealous when we told them all about it.
Even when everything starts to open back up and we can get out of our state, we’ll keep planning these hikes. We have lots more treasure hikes with Uncharted Lancaster to do and an whole app of trails to explore. Maybe we’ll even turn some weekends into a camping trip to explore. Who knows? Our only limit is our feet and our desire. Have any of you explored your local areas or hit up any hiking trails? Please share with us where you’ve been, I can’t wait to hopefully get some more ideas. Stay safe, stay healthy and stay active!