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COURSE NARRATIVE & HISTORY - PART 2

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Indian Steps Trail leaving Aid Station #6.

Section 6: Jo Hays - Mile 36.6  to 51

14.3 miles | 2466 feet climb; 1,587 feet decline

14.3 miles of singletrack or doubletrack

After down Harry Valley Road, runners scale the Indian Steps (an unusual 500ft climb... straight up the ridge), then a right turn back to the Mid State Trail. Back on the MST, the course will soon descend the south side of the ridge on Campbell Trail (right) to Harry's Valley Road and then onto a snowmobile track called Lowry Trail. Lowry Trail will continue downhill on Tussey Ridge, crossing PA 26 and then paralleling the highway until it reaches Pine Swamp Road. (Somewhere in this section, there will be a course marshal checking runners in, making sure no one jumps the course.) Go uphill on Pine Swamp and Ironstone Trail. Turn left. Participants will go uphill until it reaches the Mid State Trail. Here, the course goes southbound on the MST up Tussey Mountain to Jo Hays Vista. Once your feet touch the pavement, keep the woods to your right until you reach the gate and Jackson Trail. A water-only aid station is here to keep you hydrated within this long section. Afterwards, the course will stay atop the ridge on Jackson Trail, past David’s Vista and its adjacent boulder fields. Agh! Jackson Trail... I'm sure you will rue the day when you traversed this path. In fact, we will mark this section with flagging ribbon.
After 2.6 miles of - JACKSON TRAIL -, the Mid State Trail rejoins the trail. After another 4.25 miles, Mid State Trail crosses Laurel Run Road then crosses Little Flat Fire Tower Road. Soon after crossing the road is AS 7 Little Flat. This entire section is also technical singletrack. We have loving renamed the segment from Musser Gap Vista to Sand Spring Trail as "Technical Difficulties" and from Sand Spring Trail to Aid Station 7 as "Hard Times". 

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David's Vista along Jackson Trail. This begins a section called, "The Cuddly Teddy Bear."  Mile 43.

History: Several Indian tribes have made this region its home, only to be displaced by another tribe every half century or so later. But in all those years none of the rulers sought to question the rights of the northern Indians until 1635, when the Lenni-Lenape invaded the country of the Susquehannocks and were decisively beaten on the plains near Rock Springs, in Spruce Creek Valley, at the Battle of the Indian Steps. There is great debate that more deaths occurred in this battle than at Gettysburg. 
Starting here, the Lenni-Lenape were driven east, eventually to the Delaware River Valley and present day New Jersey, only to meet the newly-arrived Europeans. 

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Indian Wells Vista offers some of the most tremendous and remote views in Central Pennsylvania. This view will be over your left shoulder and most mid-pack runners will arrive here at dawn.

Section 7: Bear Meadows - Mile 51.0 to 58.6

7.4 miles | 325 feet climb; 1692 feet decline
7.4 miles of singletrac
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AS 7 Little Flat Fire Tower is at the northernmost corner of Tussey Mountain. The Mid State Trail and the course will arc from northeast bound to the south and west atop Fourth Mountain as the trail encircles a large bowl valley called Bear Meadows. The trail stays high above the valley, it is technical and offers some boulder field traverses and vistas just off trail to your left. Many runners will see the sunrise to their left.  Wait- What? The sun set on my left and now it's rising on my left?  I know, right!  One of the biggest treats on the course is Indian Wells Vista, again another tremendous view on this course. Now only are these views expensive, but you will not see a house, street light or any other signs of civilization except for far in the distance to the northeast. At mile 4.2 in this section, there will be an unmanned water stop at the corner of state forest roads Gettis Ridge and North Meadows roads. The course turns eastbound (Thickhead Mountain) along the southern rim of Bear Meadows. The course crosses Bear Meadows Road and then descends the mountain – the longest downhill of the race, crossing Detwiler Road and reaching the junction of Mid State Trail and the terminus of Standing Stone Trail. The course will now follow the Standing Stone Trail southbound along Detwiller Run and atop an old lumber railroad, The Monroe Kulp Railway.

As one of the race committee members have said, "Running in Detwiller Run is like running through Jurassic Park - it is so wild, you half expect to see a dinosaur around the corner."

Personally, I never seen any dinosaurs, but I did the the largest rattlesnake I ever seen in my entire life. Note: there is almost a 100% certainty you will see a snake, snakes, rhumba of snakes, and/or piles of snakes somewhere on the course. 

The aid station will be immediately after Alan Seeger Natural Area - one of only 20 old growth forests in Pennsylvania. This 390-acre area along Standing Stone Creek includes virgin white pine and hemlock. Towering above the trail as it winds through 20-foot-high rhododendrons is a hemlock forest bypassed by the loggers at the end of the 19th century. This area is named after Alan Seeger, an American war poet who fought and died in World War I during the Battle of the Somme and is sometimes called the "American Rupert Brooke".

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Alan Seeger Natural Area is one of only 20 old growth forests in Pennsylvania. Along Standing Stone Creek, includes virgin white pine and hemlock tree and 20-foot-high rhododendrons.

History: In 1966, Dr. Boone Sumantri proposed a ridge-top hiking trail, the Central Allegheny Trail. The proposed trail, roughly sketched out on 15 minute topo maps hanging on Dr. Sumantri’s living room wall, started at the Colerain Picnic Area along Route PA 45. The other proposed trailhead was to be at a roadside rest on route US 15, just south of Williamsport. The plan, at least at the northern trailhead, was to connect the Central Allegheny Trail to the Loyalsock Trail.
On a sunny Sunday, in September of 1969, Dr. Thomas Thwaites and fifteen members of the Penn State Outings Club ascended to Little Flat just south of State College. With trail blazing tools in hand, this first group of Mid State Trail trail blazers began opening a trail from Kettle Trail towards the North Meadows Trail. Following the ridgeline, this first group of Mid State Trail trail blazers opened up a meandering trail on Fourth Mountain, opening up the first natural scenic view of the MST looking down on Bear Meadows. A monument is erected at the site of the first blazed section of the Mid State Trail.

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At the top of Broad Mountain is the second of two fire towers you will cross during the race. Its location is significant since at mile 60, you have 3.5 miles of downhill running to the finish.

Section 8: Broad Mountain (aka Mount Quads - Mile 58.6 to 63.5

5.4 miles | 1374 feet climb; 1407 feet decline
5.1 miles of singletrack; 0.2 miles paved

The final section offers one of the most significant climbs as the course follows the Standing Stone Trail up to the top of Broad Mountain and down the other side, crossing Seeger Road twice - before and after the summit. With 1400 feet up and 1400 feet down the other side, we affectionately call this gem, "Mount Quads".
At Greenwood Furnace State Park, the course will cut straight across a park service road, down another park access road into an elongated traffic oval past the Wagon and Blacksmith Shop before a right turn to Founders Pavilion. Congratulations on your awesome finish! 

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After purchasing the Freedom Iron Works in nearby Burnham in 1833, Norris, Rawle and Company needed a steady supply of iron. A suitable location with iron ore, limestone, water, and trees was found here so they built Greenwood Furnace, which went into blast on June 5, 1834. The charcoal-fueled furnace produced about four tons of pig iron ingots per day with an annual output of around 1,200 tons. The iron was hauled by wagons over Stone Mountain to Freedom Iron Works to be turned into wrought iron.

History: Greenwood Furnace was open for operation on June 5, 1834. The parent company, Norris, Rawle and Co., selected the site because of the ease in access to the needed natural resources, iron ore, limestone, trees for charcoal and a steady water supply. Greenwood Furnace was able to produce up to five tons of pig iron ingots per day at the height of its production.
Soon a small village sprang up around Greenwood Furnace to support the needs of the workers and the furnace. The village included 20 houses, a company store, company offices, stables and a blacksmith shop. A deposit of high quality iron ore was discovered in the area leading to further growth in the Greenwood Furnace area. A gristmill was constructed in 1842. Greenwood Lake was built at this time to create a water supply to power the mill. Greenwood Lake is currently used as a recreation lake by visitors to Greenwood Furnace State Park.
Ownership of Greenwood Furnace Iron Works was transferred to John A. Wright in 1847. Wright was one of the founders of the Pennsylvania Railroad in nearby Altoona. The ironworks at Greenwood and nearby Freedom Iron Works were supervised in part by Andrew Carnegie.

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Fishermen gather at Greenwood Furnace Lake. The lake offers a beach and a shower house for Ironstone participants after the race. (Image: Rusty Glessner, PA Bucket List)

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