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Topic: Loyalsock Trail TR, Brunnerdal Road to World's End State par< Next Oldest | Next Newest >
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PostIcon Posted on: May 01 2013, 11:28 am  Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

04/27 through 29/13 – Loyalsock Trail – Brunnerdale Road to World’s End State Park (Most photos by Treebeard): The 59 mile Loyalsock Trail is one of the most scenic trails in PA. In my opinion it is also one of the most rugged. Many of the stream-side trails are very eroded and when it is time to go up, the trail goes straight “UP” often jumping old logging roads that switchback up the sides of the mountains. These trails are so steep I don’t think erosion dams can be built to ease the degradation of the trail. Expect a lot of loose rocks. Obviously descents can be equally harrowing, especially on the final leg to the park. Despite this ruggedness I was quite pleased with the hike the way we did it. There were about a half dozen nice vistas as well as some amazing waterworks to enjoy.

Day 1 – 3.88 miles/855 ft E.G.: After planting two vehicles at the visitor center we drove down to Brunnerdale Road. Shortstack, Sparky, Bubbles, Andre, Treebeard, Wolly Bully, Cognac Jack and I started hiking around 3:30, first along pretty Ogdonia Creek and then up an old logging road. Just as I was getting my stride I heard a voice from above. No, it was not God but rather Treebeard telling me that I had missed the first “jump” of the previously mentioned logging road. As I looked up at him I got a kink in my neck. “Damned, that’s steep.” So I began the climb up to the next section of the logging road. I made a left onto it but only for a brief respite as the trail “jumped” again to the next level. And so it went until we found ourselves at the junction of the spur that leads to Angel Falls and Springs Window. We dropped our packs, grabbed our cameras and made the relatively easy 0.3 mile jaunt to visit the falls and view.





Scott Brown, PA waterfall aficionado and author gives seventy foot Angle Falls very low marks but I think he is ranking it through the perspective of a purely photographic subject. We all found it to be pretty impressive even though the water flow was low. It has the appearance of being taller than seventy feet but that is because, as you look straight down, you are also seeing Gipson Falls, an additional twelve feet of height. The Springs Window vista was equally impressive.

The rest of the climb was pretty gentle, going up and over a point jutting out from the ridge. From there it was a gradual descent to Kettle Creek. About halfway down we took a break at a vista overlooking the drainage.



We contemplated spending the night there, especially after Jack found a small stream cascading over the rock face, but decided in the end to get the extra planned 0.5 miles out of the way instead of adding it to tomorrow’s hike. The creek crossing was tricky but doable. We all made it across with dry feet. A few steps up an old railroad grade brought us to a nice campsite.



It would have been better but a large tree had fallen across the creek and stretched across its living room – the fire ring. We barely had enough time to set up camp, eat and hang the bear bags before the sun set.


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"Red is the color of the sun with my eyes closed." - Dave Matthews

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PostIcon Posted on: May 01 2013, 11:29 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Day 2 – 9.03 miles/1662 ft E.G.: Today’s weather was a repeat of the first day, clear skies and low humidity. We got on the trail around 8:00, following the grade as it paralleled Kettle Creek.



Then, as if on cue, the trail made a sharp left turn and proceeded straight up the side of the next ridge. There were two switchbacks but, being near the top of the climb, were pretty irrelevant. As planned, the lead hikers waited for us slow folks at the top before proceeding. After a nice ridge walk we descended to Dutters Run with its great campsite, miniature waterfalls and personal Jacuzzis.







If I were younger and in better shape I think I would have started yesterday’s hike a little earlier so we could make it this far on the first day. This area is far superior to last night’s campsite! Here we followed the run downstream, crossing it several times, before turning right and climbing to the top of the ridge again, following the Dry Run drainage but from high above. We took in the view at Mary’s Window but pushed on to Shanerburg Road before taking a “packs off” break.



The next section of trail that lies mostly  in the shadow of High Knob was quite boggy. To our left was a near continuous grove of Hemlocks but it was difficult to enjoy them as we made our way through the quagmire. With that bit of mess out of the way we undertook the OMG climb up to High Knob. I was so glad to see the reinforced switchbacks near the top. We felt that the view from the road crossing was adequate enough that we didn’t have to road walk down to the parking area. We did, however, move off into the woods to get out of the wind for a well deserved lunch break.



From High Knob we descended to and followed the west fork of Cape Run. Initially this was a combination of badly eroded trail and quagmires but eventually became an old woods road. We crossed the stream and took a brief break before continuing. The road ended at a set of nasty blowdowns. After expending a fair amount of energy negotiating the mess we began a long, slow slog up the east fork of the run. It was quite the challenge but thankfully the last climb of the day. Once on top the trail mostly follows a beautiful Hemlock lined grade with the exception of a brief excursion through a naturally refrigerated rock crevice called Split Rock.



We crossed Ketchum Run and selected the second campsite downstream from the crossing, a nice spot under the Hemlocks and nearly totally surrounded by waterworks.



It was only 3:30 so I set up my tent and took a power nap. The rain began around 8:00. It was a light gentle rain, soothing to the ears along with the white noise of the run and its tributaries. The sleep was good.


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"Red is the color of the sun with my eyes closed." - Dave Matthews

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PostIcon Posted on: May 01 2013, 11:29 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Day 3 – 6.23 miles/1040 ft E.G.: Another brief shower got us all up early on Monday. We were ready to hike by 7:30. We walked to the top of Lee’s Falls.



Since the connector trail is no longer maintained and the way down to the base of the falls looked rather slippery we enjoyed it from above. Then came a steep but thankfully short climb to get even higher above the water. When we reached the junction with the low water trail we took it visiting a nice upstream mini-falls before climbing down a ladder to visit Rode Falls.



Hind site being 20-20, we probably should have stayed on the high water route but I wanted the crew to see as much of Ketchum Run as possible. Now we had to pay the price, more climbing up steep and eroded trails with some old grades in between. We stopped at both the lower and upper Alpine Views. The view was still pretty good at the first one but by the time we reached the upper one you could tell the weather was really starting to deteriorate.





Would we out-run the impending rain? At this point I should mention that all of the elevation gain was behind us. The next mile or so took us through several dense Hemlock groves, so dense that what little light there was couldn’t penetrate the canopy. It was here that, despite my lack of speed and stamina, I realized that I had just done a good thing. I was at peace with myself. After the last grove we turned left onto the blue/yellow World’s End Trail, a wide grassy cross country ski trail. It felt good on the feet. As the trail came to Coal Mine Road the yellow section of the trail crossed it and continued as a footpath. We turned right, following the road for about a quarter of a mile and then turning left onto the continuation of the blue segment. Parts of it was much like the joint section that we hiked earlier but there were long stretches of boot sucking mud generated by equestrians. This added a little extra effort to a hike that was supposed to be more of a stroll. In about 1.25 miles the blue and yellow segments reunited. We turned right and descended steeply down the side of the plateau. At first it was just straight downhill, then a series of thin side-hill switchbacks. At this point gravity grabs a hold of the hiker and pulls him down to the valley below. You can’t do it slowly. One false steep and you’re going down … hard.



And so it was, as I could see the northern junction of the World’s End and Loyalsock Trails, I stepped on a slick rock. I was able to thrust myself backward but slammed my right hip and shoulder into the ground. I laid there, flat on my back, for about five minutes as I took inventory of my body parts. I told Jack, who was at the trail junction to stay there. Everything seemed to be OK except for my shoulder. It hurt badly but with less than fifteen minutes of hiking to get back to the park I wasn’t about to take my pack off. Besides, it seemed to be acting like a brace, keeping the shoulder from moving. I slowly got myself back on my feet, brushed myself off and completed the hike. We were finished by 12:30.

We changed clothes and drove the five minutes to the Forkville General Store … closed on Mondays … damned it! That’s OK, we simply turned around and drove to plan B, the Barn Tavern on Double Run Road, about halfway back to the other vehicles on Brunnerdale Road.



You can’t beat a grilled ham and cheese sandwich, a cup of onion soup and bottomless iced tea for $7.00! By the time we were finished the rain had settled in. Thankfully it didn’t interfere with the drive home.


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"Red is the color of the sun with my eyes closed." - Dave Matthews

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PostIcon Posted on: May 01 2013, 2:46 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

...and what was the fate of your shoulder?  Sounds like quite the ground smacking you had.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 01 2013, 2:48 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Rotator Cuff. I hope it's just a bruise. Can't extend my arm at the moment w/o pain. Got some really good anti-inflammatories I was taking before some hand surgery that help me sleep. Will go for X-rays if it doesn't improve in a week.

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"Red is the color of the sun with my eyes closed." - Dave Matthews

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PostIcon Posted on: May 01 2013, 2:58 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Part 2 - The Flora. Spring flowers were popping up all over the place.

Squirrel-corn



Wake Robin (aka Stinky Willy



Trout Lily



Spring Beauty



Violets



Round-leaved Yellow violets



Sweet White Violets



Early Saxiphrage




There was a blue one that I've never seen before. Waiting for a cohort to send me the photo so I can ID it.


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"Red is the color of the sun with my eyes closed." - Dave Matthews

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PostIcon Posted on: May 01 2013, 3:06 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Awesome.  I like that area a lot but I never had as good of an experience camping/hiking there as you did.

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“I’m just hanging on while this world keeps spinning and it’s good to know it’s out of my control.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned from all this living is that it wouldn’t change a thing if I let go…”
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PostIcon Posted on: May 01 2013, 3:27 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Oh ... and for you foragers ... Ramps were all over the place, growing nearly on every hillside.

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"Red is the color of the sun with my eyes closed." - Dave Matthews

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PostIcon Posted on: May 01 2013, 8:36 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE


(MRHyker @ May 01 2013, 2:48 pm)
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Rotator Cuff. I hope it's just a bruise. Can't extend my arm at the moment w/o pain. Got some really good anti-inflammatories I was taking before some hand surgery that help me sleep. Will go for X-rays if it doesn't improve in a week.

Ouchy
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PostIcon Posted on: May 02 2013, 4:53 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Nice pics and report.
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PostIcon Posted on: May 02 2013, 9:25 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

I will just chime in and say that this was a great BP.
Like MRHyker said - it was was brutal in many places but that is where the beauty of it lies.
Although I did curse our path down to Ketchum Run (and even more cursing on the way back up) - it was worth it looking back.

For those that are planning this:
I caution you to the wet weather (lots of leaves, bogs, rocks and roots).
There is a lot of erosion down by the run where the trail is literally as wide as a balance beam.
Foot placement along most of the hike is critical (see leaves, rocks and roots) and there is a bit of almost side hilling.
The elevation changes are many and steep.

To MRHyker:
Hope the shoulder is doing well.
Thanks for another nice adventure.


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"I like walking South. Some how it feels as though I am walikng downhill." Treebeard
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PostIcon Posted on: May 04 2013, 5:32 am Skip to the previous post in this topic. Skip to the next post in this topic. Ignore posts   QUOTE

Well done!  This one is on my list.

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PostIcon Posted on: May 16 2013, 2:38 pm Skip to the previous post in this topic.  Ignore posts   QUOTE

Maps, gps files, trail notes are now posted.

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"Red is the color of the sun with my eyes closed." - Dave Matthews

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