5/29/09 - Redid boxes #1 and 2 with new clues. sam
McConnells Mill - Cleland Rock
Letterbox: McConnells Mill State Park Letterboxes #1
Placed by: SAM (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Difficulty: I am a Ďloneí letterboxer. Most of my boxes are relatively easy because I donít usually climb over difficult rocky passes, slide down slopes on my butt, or hike for more than an hour one way by myself in desolate areas.
Background: (excerpts from DCNR Recreational Guide). Cleland Rock Overlook provides a MAGNIFICENT view of the Slippery Rock Gorge. If you stood here 200,000 years ago, you would be standing on a ridge at a drainage divide.
Water to the north flowed north and water to the south flowed south.
If you stood on the same location 140,000 years ago, you would be standing at the edge of a small lake dammed by several hundred feet of ice. The ice was the edge of a continental glacier that stretched from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and covered most of north America north of Cleland Rock. The glacier dam created small Lake Prouty nearby. To the north was larger Lake Watts (modern version is Lake Arthur) and further north was giant Lake Edmund.
Eventually Lake Prouty spilled over the ridge near Cleland Rock and began carving Slippery Rock Creek Gorge. As the glacier retreated, lake Watts drained into the channel, enlarging and deepening the gorge, then Lake Edmund swiftly poured into the channel, scouring the gorge to over 400 feet deep.
When the glacier finally retreated back to the north, Slippery Rock Creek Gorge was so deep that streams that normally flowed north, now flowed south as the streams do today. The swift erosion of the gorge created its swift water and the many boulders that offer great challenges to modern whitewater boaters.
Slippery Rock Creek is 49 miles long and full of slippery rocks, yet is named for one exceptionaly slick rock in the vicinity of McConnellís Mill. It is believed that an Indian trail forded the creek at a shelf of sandstone near a natural oil seep, which made the rock exceptionally slippery, and gave its name to the creek, a town, a rock formation and many local businesses.
In the late 1800ís oil wells briefly flourished in the valley but the oil was swiftly invaded by ground water ane the wells were abandoned. The oil wells drained the oil seep and the Slippery Rock is no longer covered in oil.
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Letterbox #1: SLIPPERY ROCK GORGE at Cleland Rock
Placed: May 27, 2002
Difficulty: Rather steep, but short trek = EASY.
Time estimate: Once arriving at Cleland Rock, finding the box - 10 minutes.
To Cleland Rock: If you have a map of the park, go to Cleland Rock and skip this section.
Else-Cleland Rock is in McConnells Mill State Park. The main
entrance to the park is on US Rt. 422. If you are not familiar with the area, it is only 2 minutes West from the intersection of Rt 19 and 422 (about 10 min from IS 79 and 422)
I suggest that you pick up a park map at the Park Rangerís office which is the FIRST building on the right when you enter the park. But for those of you who donít have a mapÖhere are my directionsÖ
Once you have turned off 422 into the park, follow McConnells Mill Rd until the T.
-Turn right onto Kildoo Road.
-At the next T, turn left. (turning to the right here will take take you to the actual mill, the dam and, the covered bridge. Come back to visit this, later).
You are on Kennedy Road which winds through some country side.
-At the first stop sign, you will again be at a T, turn left. Donít go too far Ö. Watch for Pfeifer Rd on your right. It is the first right- gravel road. The road sign is missing.
-Turn to the right onto Pfeifer Rd.
-Watch for the first road on your right. This should be Magee Rd. It is a SHARP right.
If you intersect with Rt 488, you have missed Magee.
-Follow Magee to the T, turn right.
-Watch for signs for Cleland Rock on the left.
To Find Slippery Rock Gorge Letterbox at Cleland Rock:
Enjoy the view standing on the rock. When you are done viewing, return to the parking lot and head towards the cul-de-sac. Where the cul-de-sac meets the cornfield, there is a path leading into the woods.
Follow the path into the woods. When it splits the first time, stay to the right. You will come to a tree that splits the path. The tree has some letters spray-painted on it. Stay to the right here.
The path becomes very small- continue along the ridge until you see an 8 foot snag. From the snag, spot a 2 sister tree at 360 degrees with lots of little rocks around it. The box is hidden at the base of the tree under a suspicious pile of rocks covered by a suspicious pile of sticks.
Letterbox #2: Hellís Hollow
Placed: May 27, 2002
Difficulty: EASY once you are on the path to Hellís Hollow Falls. Path is relatively flat, few rocks, protruding roots.
Time estimate: Once arriving at the path - 30 min To Hellís Hollow: There are two main ways to get to Hellís Hollow.
1. One is hiking the Slippery Rock Gorge Trail which extends from Eckert Bridge to Hellís Hollow. This 6 mile non-loop trail is designated as part of the North Country Scenic Trail. This is a long, and in places, difficult
trail. See the directions starting from Letterbox #3.
2. The other is from a small parking area near the Hellís Hollow Falls. This parking area is on Shaffer Road, near the intersection of Center Church, Heinz Camp Road and Shaffer.
To the Letterbox:
-Follow the trail to Hellís Hollow Falls.
-After viewing the falls, climb back up the stairs and take a seat on the bench.
-See "Mom" in front of you? Follow the trail to her left up the hill and towards the left.
-You will see an old overturned evergreen with multiple branches protruding like spikes. This tree acts as a bridge over a large sink hole.
-Follow this tree up the hill. At its base, you will see another fallen tree which is LONG and moss covered. Follow this tree up the hill as well.
-When you reach the end of it, you may notice a tree on your right with lots of letters carved in it. From the end of the long, moss-covered tree, look left and see another fallen tree laying almost at a right angle to the long tree.
-At the end of this tree is a SHORT stump. The box is hidden on the left side of the stump under a large pile of sticks.
Still pretty easy, eh?
There are more McConnells Mill's boxes to find!
Letterbox #3: ALPHA PASS- CURRENTLY UNAVAILABLE!!!!!!
Placed: April 6, 2003
Difficulty: Moderate, still good for kids and novices. Remember, I do this myself (or with kids) and donít climb trees or ford streams for fun! The path IS ROCKY and in some parts steep.
Time Estimate: Round Trip from Alpha Pass Trail Head to Eckert Bridge is about a mile and a half of moderate hiking. Factor in the time to look for letterboxes and you figure it out.
- Start at the Alpha pass trail head
- Go to the bottom the steps. Follow the BLUE marked trail.
- Watch for a GIANT rock formation that looks like a natural bridge / underpass on your left. You could walk underneath it from the path.
- From the mouth of the underpass, look 330* (degrees) for a DoubleTree about 40 feet downhill.
- Standing on the roots on the EAST side of the DoubleTree, turn 45* (degrees) and walk under the fallen tree and around the large jutting rock.
- On the NE side of the large jutting rock, note the dead, but upright tree trunk on top of the rock.
- The box is hidden near the roots on the SE side of this dead tree.
Letterbox #4: TWEETY
Planted by: Sarah and Autumn Feb, 14, 2009
Difficulty: MODERATE. Rocky trail well marked. Steep hill climb to box.
Clues: From the OLD MILL go North (upstream) on the EAST side of the river.
-follow trail until you get to a nice Lookout Point on the left side.
-Standing on the lookout point, facing the river, to the left you will see a GIANT WOODMAN hoding a Twisted Woody in his arms
-Continue North on the trail.
-A MASSIVE SMOOTH ROCK WALL will soon be on your right. Note the small tree with the roots growing over the rocks. Cool, eh?
-Continue North just around this giant rock.
-See an Dead SPIKEY WOODMAN. He's been laying here a long time.
-Follow the Spikey woodman uphill.
-If you pass a bench, you've gone too far. Go back and find the Dead Spikey Woodman.
-Farther uphill, just to the Left is a GIANT ROCK FORMATION!! Climb to South side of this GIANT Formation.
-Once there, look down hill to the stream.
-See the Valentine's tree?? (LK + DK '98)
-From this tree walk 19 steps North. It may not be exactly North.. it's about 330degrees.
-You wil be seeing a "bowed tree" growing out of the rock.
-This tree will be about shoulder height for an adult.
-The box is in the roots about 3 feet to the south of the bowed tree.
Letterbox #5: COVERED BRIDGE
Originally placed: by Sam, March 30, 2003
Replanted with same stamp: February 14, 2009
Difficulty: EASY- except for hill climb to the box! Macadam trail.
Clues: from the small handicapped parking lot near the covered bridge, (if you are coming from SNAKE, you will continue on trail. It comes to the parking lot.)
- Follow the trail SOUTH down the EAST side of the river- This is the Kildoo Trail.
- Enjoy the scenery
- The rushing water can be dangerous. (This is not a clue. It is a statement.)
- Soon you will cross a small wooden bridge. Note the beautiful waterfall!!!
- At the bottom of the steps, LARGE rocks on the left.
- Continue on trail with LARGE rocks on your left.
- As the LARGE rocks end, look ahead to the BIG WHITE DEAD WOODMAN (tree). It's on the left side of the trail.
- Directly behind the tree (uphill) approximately 4 crawling steps are two smaller shrubs. The box is hidden in the roots on north side (upstream side) of these shrubs
Letterbox #6: Snake
Many thanks to jhjaj who recently found Snake which was believed to be lost!
Go to the Point picnic parking area.
-Go down the steps to the road.
-Cross the road and go down the steps to the trail. At the bottom of the steps you will see a sign post with ALPHA PASS to the left; Old Mill to the right and a lifeguard emergency flotation device.
-Follow the blue blazes and go back towards the mill.
-Follow the trail through the rocks.
-Go to small hand railing. From the south end of the hand rail, turn 90 degrees.
-Head uphill (NE) toward a large overhanging rock.
-Go to the south side of the large overhanging rock. Almost to the top of the large rock there is a trail of small rocks leading to the left.
-In the trail of small rocks there is a "double rock". The letterbox is wedged under the rock on the right, next to the double rock.
Let me know if you found this ok. I LOVE this park!