I got out onto the Mason-Dixon Trail Saturday and completed Map 5. This is an almost 30 mile section along the Susquehanna River from Otter Creek Campground to the PA/MD state line. I ran west to east so had my wife drop my off at Otter Creek Campground a little after 7am.

The parking lot in Otter Creek Campground.

The trail was very well marked in the campground with blue ribbons tied around trees in addition to the normal blue blazes. I did have some problems finding the exit to the campground. There were ribbons tied around 3 trees and I thought this meant turn so I followed the camp road upwards. I turned around when I didn’t see any blazes and tried the other road right next to it. Still no luck so I tried the first road again thinking I may have just missed a blaze. Nope. I backtracked to the 3 ribboned trees and noticed a little sign by the woods and sure enough there was the trail. Not the start I had hoped for.

The trail starts down a little path next to this stream. Careful crossing the bridge in the back as there are a couple missing boards.

I was a little confused as I started along because the maps had me taking Sawmill Run Road to Furnace Run Road, but I didn’t see any roads. The trails were clearly blazed, however I was wondering if I went out the wrong side of camp.

This was one of the “roads” I started out on. Lots of climbing through here with over 600 feet in the first 3 miles.

Luckily, the power lines were right were the map said they’d be and I finally started to relax into my run.

Mile 1.9. You make a left onto this maintenance road for a half mile.
Nice views of rural PA.
Mile 4. Here’s the right turn into PA State Game Land 181.
A nice long downhill run through the State Game Lands takes to the trail along Oakland Run.
I really need to learn how to take a decent picture because this one is a travesty to the cool view of the sun coming through the trees.
Have I mention yet how beautiful the trails were through here?
More half track than single track trail though.
The trail eventually reaches the Susquehanna River just ahead where you make a right and follow it for a while.
Mile 7.4 . . . I think.

It was right about here where the trail stopped matching up with the map directions. The blazes where clear, however I retraced my steps once as I got a little nervous when I didn’t see a blaze for a while. It’s always such a great relief when you see than next blaze.

Two blazes on the concrete guardrail points up the trail to the right.
And up you go. To this nice overlook of Holtwood Dam.
Trail gets a little rocky in places.
Parking lot just past PP&L’s Lock 12. You head to the left here.
And pass by some restrooms.
Mile 10.9. There are some metal rungs in these huge rocks that help you climb up and over them.
Not much of the trails through here are this smooth so take advantage while you can.
Mile 11.8. Just past PECO’s Lock 15 you reach a large parking lot. The right turn up the access road wasn’t well marked so I did a complete loop before I found the blaze leading up it.

I didn’t take a picture of it (probably because my hands were on my knees), but River Road is straight up. It was very steep in places and felt like it was never going to end. Eventually, it flattens out a bit before intersecting with Slabb road.

Slight left onto Slabb Road here.
McKinley Road has a nice long gradual downhill where you can practice running again.
At the bottom of Paper Mill Rd, you cross Muddy Creek on a bridge then make a left onto this trail.

It was right about here where I started running low on fluids. I had brought a water filtration system with me, but decided to wait a bit because Muddy Creek was . . . well, pretty muddy.

Ahhh. . . now this is more like it. I filled up 2 of my bottles here.
After crossing the stream above, you turn and head back towards Muddy Creek.
Cruising along Cold Cabin Road.
Robinson Run Road is another easy downhill section which eventually leads you. . .
. . . to this little group of houses by the river.

You go between 2 houses straight ahead. The trail past here doesn’t seem to get much traffic as everything was overgrown. It didn’t quite require bushwhacking, but it was a near thing for some short sections.

Left turn here into the woods and onto Peach Bottom Power Plant property.

The picture above leads to a short wooded section a couple hundred yards long. It opens into this huge meadow and I was briefly confused on where to go since there was nothing remotely close to a trail around. I headed straight up the middle of the open hill and found my first marker.

Trail post marker at the top of the hill as you enter Peach Bottom.

The remaining 1.5 miles through Peach Bottom were very well marked. Over marked even. It was clear they don’t want you getting lost and wandering around the property. Don’t forget to call ahead to get permission. It took me less than a minute when I called the day before. I’m guessing they don’t get many requests considering how overgrown the trails looked.

You make a left off Atom Road and cross this stream.
And then another stream crossing.

And then it’s 3 miles of roads. . .

Left onto Krick Rd. from Burk Rd.

. . . roads. . .

Left onto Cooper Rd from Orchard Rd.

. . . and more roads to finish off the section.

Cooper was another mile plus long easy downhill decent.

Overall, just another glorious day out on the M-DT. My Garmin measured it at 29.3 miles (vs. 30.4 in the 2016 version of the maps) with 3900 feet of elevation gain and an equal amount of loss. For some reason, this section seemed a little harder than those numbers would suggest. Perhaps that’s what made it so much fun. Only 4 more maps until I finish the entire Mason-Dixon Trail!

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