Tour de Clarion steps off

Hikers line up to register for the first of 12 Tour de Clarion hikes along the North Country Trail. 150 hikers started at the trailhead below the Parker Bridge and ended in Emlenton.
From staff reports

PARKER – Around 150 hikers joined the first Tour de Clarion hike along the North Country Trail Jan. 23.

The first installment of the monthly event started at the Parker trailhead and set out north along the Allegheny River though Foxburg to Emlenton.

There they were greeted with hot drinks and cookies around a fire, all provided by Kathy and Paul Kentzel of The Barnard House Bed and Breakfast.

The Tour de Clarion includes 12 monthly hikes of six to 11 miles each that will cover the 93-miles of the North Country Trail maintained by the Clarion Chapter of the North Country Trail Association.

It was a typical January day but Susan Giering of the Clarion Chapter said the sun was shining when the hikers got to Emlenton and everyone had a wonderful time.

Participants each received a bag containing a trail map, a journal to record the mileage completed, coupons from area businesses and a copy of the NCT magazine.

The next Tour de Clarion hike is set for 10 a.m. Feb. 13 at the Emlenton trailhead and will extend seven miles to the Rockland Tunnel.

Later hikes will continue to the Kennerdell tunnel, across the Belmar Bridge, to Van and into Clarion County

The trail in Clarion County will wind past Shippenville, through State Game Land 63, past the Clarion River Bridge, State Game Lands 72, Cook Forest State Park and end in Vowinckel in December.

Organizers set a 10 a.m. meeting place for each hike and provide shuttle service back to the meeting place.

Those who finish all 93 miles of the challenge the challenge will receive a long-sleeved t-shirt noting the accomplishment.

It isn’t necessary to participate in the 12 organized hikes; participants can complete the 93 miles at any time during 2016 and in any manner they wish.

For more information, contact Dave Galbreath at dgalbreath@zoominternet. net or 814-226-5574.