Last night my wife and I began to discuss local trails and which ones might be good candidates for today. The weather prediction was for a beautiful day, with temps no higher than 80 degrees. For those not familiar with the recent weather pattern in north east PA, this is an incredibly welcome change!
After discussing a few options, we resurrected an idea from the past… the Loyalsock Trail. We thought that we might use this trail to begin backpacking trips, but that plan never materialized. So, instead of a multi-day trip, we decided to tackle the trail through a series of day hikes. The LT has a length of just under 60 miles, and its western trail head is about 90 miles from home.
The first section of the trail is 4.8 miles. We parked at the end of this section and walked the 1.3 miles along the road to the beginning of the trail. This served as a welcome warm-up. We signed in and immediately began to climb.
And we continued to climb for the first mile or so, taking a break for a handful of gorp or a special photo from time to time. You can tell by the fresh smile on my wife’s face that this was taken near the beginning of the hike!
Near the top of the climb is a spot known as sock rock..a great place to stop for a snack! When we were about to resume our hike, we heard a ruckus in the woods just behind us. We paused, and then turned to continue. As soon as we did, we heard more noise and turned to see to fawn cross our path about 20 yards behind us. No sign of the mother, but there is no doubt that she was close at hand.
We soon reached a level part of the trail and picked up the pace. Stopping for lunch at a nice soft spot and then continuing on to an area where we caught glimpses of the valley below. Just at the 3 mile mark, we heard a crashing noise ahead of us. Something large had escaped down the steep embankment to our right. We could not see anything, but we heard a grunting noise. Each time we proceeded ahead, we could hear movement below us, followed by more grunting. Our guess is that it was a bear, but we do not have any experience with them, so it is difficult to say with much certainty.
We began a descent which was steep at times. We were both happy to have brought along a hiking pole to assist with the climbs. In time, the sound of a stream signaled that we were near the end of the day’s journey. During the entire time on the trail, we did not encounter another human being.
The goal that we set for ourselves was to complete the trail by the end of this year. That may be slightly ambitious simply because the trail is a long way from home. We may try to spend a couple of weekends camping in the area so that we can knock off major chunks of the trail. Regardless of how long it may take us to hike the entire trail, it is a worthwhile goal which will help us to focus our planning for outdoor experiences throughout the rest of the summer and early fall. Wish us luck! jt