By Shirley McMarlin, Tribune-Review
Paul Nieman of Ligonier and his yellow Lab, Lily, hike all around Forbes State Forest, but one spot they visit repeatedly is Spruce Flats Bog.
On a late summer trek around Laurel Summit State Park, Nieman was going to skip it, but Lily insisted on leading him down the ¼-mile trail from the parking lot to a boardwalk ending in an observation platform in the midst of the bog.
“It’s certainly a beautiful, quiet spot,” Nieman says of the 28-acre, roughly circular wetland. “And there are so many things growing here that don’t grow anywhere else.”
Due to its seclusion, it’s often overlooked by visitors to the surrounding forest, which is crisscrossed by hiking trails and points of interest such as the Beam Rocks and Wolf Rocks overlooks — although it’s a prime spot for viewing fall foliage, according to Dave Planinsek, a Laughlintown-based forester with the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.