I headed up to north-central PA for a couple nights in the Tiadaghton State Forest. The Balck Forest Trail (BFT) itself is a 42-mile loop with about 8500' of elevation gain. Many other trails intersect the loop to provide numerous alternate routes.
I set out on Monday afternoon after a 4.5 hour drive from Jersey. A quick ford of the Slate Run is followed by a nice 1200' climb over the next mile. Views up and down Slate Run from several vistas along the way.
Slate Run ford
Once up on the ridge, the trail levels out. The trail is well maintained and well blazed. The ridge lines are blanketed with mountain laurel which bloom around the third week of June from what I read.
I got in about 10 miles before dark on night one. I set up camp at one of the established campsites which can be found along the way. No permits or reservations are required for overnights in this area according to PA DCNR Guide Book.
The next 5-6 miles of BFT descends into the Young Womans Creek drainage and includes 20 stream crossings according to the guide book. With a forecast of rain and having forded twice on day one, I decided to take the Sentiero Di Shay Trail - the alternate high water route. The Sentiero Di Shay continues along the plateau through more mountain laurel and provides many views this time of year as the trees have yet to fill in.
After following the George Will Trail for a few miles, I connected back up with the BFT. After passing a few nice cascades, the trail descends steeply into the Callahan Run Drainage.
The trail climbs steeply out of the drainage and summits Hemlock Mountain. A great camp site at the summit with views down the Pine Creek Valley but with no nearby water I continued on.
The trail descends steeply after the summit into the Naval Run drainage. The forecasted rain was threatening so I set up camp next to the Naval Run.
The rain came in soon after I set up and increased in intensity throughout the night. I can happily report that my BMW Stealth Tarp is also waterproof when pitched upside down. This inadvertant test was a result of a hasty set up which I noticed once I settled in for the night. Temps dipped into the mid 30s overnight. I was plenty warm in my WM Megalite and Vapr bivy which shed most of the rain spray.
The forecast on the third day looked to be hypothermic - cold rain and temps in the 30s. I decided to cut the trip a little short and took the Naval Run Trail down to Naval Run Road which I followed back to my car.
A quick trip with some surprisingly diverse scenery and wildlife (whitetails, turkey, porcupine, and coyote scat?). I got to test my tarp/bivy combo in the rain for the first time and practice my wet camp break down (needs work). I'd like to go back in June when the mountain laurel is in bloom. The weather would hopefully be better and many of the swimming holes I passed would provide some refreshment. I'd highly recommend this area as a weekend trip for anyone within a few hours or Williamsport.