Ten CMU-X adventurers headed to Raccoon Creek State Park for an afternoon out of the city and back to nature. The park features a variety of natural habitats including deciduous and coniferous forest, wetlands, streams, and a wildflower reserve; a dammed lake with a swimming beach and boat launches; and numerous trails maintained for hiking / backpacking, cross-country skiing, off-road cycling, and even horseback riding. The weather for our hike was sunny, warm, and humid with autumnal changes just beginning to appear and the air tinged with the scent of fallen leaves. Around the midpoint, three hikers continued on to complete the entire approximately 20-mile park loop while seven hikers elected to explore other trails and areas of interest near the park office / visitor center.
Raccoon Creek State Park is one of the best recreational areas in the Pittsburgh region. Other than the occasional overhead commercial aircraft--either preparing for landing or departing Pittsburgh International Airport--to remind visitors that they're not far from civilization, the park allows hikers to immerse themselves in protected natural surroundings and is perfect for quiet contemplation and discovery.