First and foremost, I would like to extend a hearty "thank you" to forum member Kevin Babione for his assistance in the planning of our trip. Not only did he provide me with a complete .gpx file of the waypoints from his trip, he alerted me to a washed out road that I would have used to get to the trailhead. Using my Droid for driving directions, it would have taken us down that road, lost signal, and we would have been left to navigate a maze of backcountry dirt roads and two--tracks in total darkness, as we didn't arrive until darkness had fallen. Thanks again, Kev. You really were an invaluable resource!
The Old Loggers Path is a ~28 mile loop that starts and ends in the ghost town of Masten, Pa - an old sawmill community that existed from 1905 until 1930 (I'm assuming that's when the area was pretty much completely clearcut). After it was abandoned, it became a camp for the Civilian Conservation Corp, which lasted until 1940. The only remaining buildings are now hunting camps. Speaking of which, the morning we started, JC (my friend who did the trip with me) decided to use one of their outhouses. He reported that there was an old Folger's can with "Emergency TP" written on it. Upon further investigation, he found that it was filled with a bunch of old corn cobs. We got a good laugh out of that.
We ended up arriving around 10 pm on Wednesday night and planned on camping near the trailhead. We were pleased to find that all the old building foundations had been converted into car-camping spots, supplied with firewood and a picnic table! Perfect for us, as it was pretty dark and we really just wanted to get a nice fire going and relax in preparation for our hike the next morning.
Upon waking, we took our time getting ready and enjoying the beautiful morning. We had to savor the sun that day as much as possible, as the forecast for the rest of the week called for high possibilities of rain, and night time lows below freezing. We enjoyed a nice breakfast of egg and cheese burritos (with real eggs, on a real frying pan), packed up, stashed the pan in the car, and were off.
Porky we saw not far from our campsite on Wed night. He wasn't a very big'n.
Enjoying a relaxing fire and passing a bit of bourbon
Only remaining structure of the ghost town
Old spigot next to Pleasant Stream, which was rushing pretty hard as it had rained the past few days before we arrived. This unnerved us a bit, as we would eventually have to cross it without a bridge!
The hike started with a gradual ascent for the first couple of miles. We ran into a couple who were hiking in the opposite direction that we were, both wearing ULA packs, and I wanted to ask them if they were BPLers, but both of our groups were moving pretty fast so we just gave them a cheery hello and a nod that said "I see you, fellow ULers!". A couple of miles in, we came across this oddly-shaped tree. JC said he thinks it was damaged, but continued to grow. What do you all think?
Some of the only green we saw the whole trip
Sprout Point vista. There was a very cool (but dry) campsite here that I would definitely like to use in the future.
Sharp Top vista. There was a two-track road that linked this awesome spot with civilization, and as we left, we saw couple driving up. I'm guessing it's that area's "make-out mountain".
We got a late start, so we ended up hiking into the sunset, with just enough light to set up camp as we arrived.
What would a TR be without a token illuminated shelter shot? Pleased to say that we both fit into my Copper Spur 1 pitched with only the fly and footprint.
The dreaded stream crossing. We chickened out. The water was flowing FAST and looked to be up to our stomachs in the middle. It was also a chilly 36 degree morning. We opted for a different method to cross.
JC tightrope-walked this slippery, wet log. I was not so brave, and shimmied across on my butt.
I lost count of how many of these we crossed.
As we ascended Sullivan Mountain (probably just after this picture was taken) tiny sleet crystals began to fall. By the time we reached the top, all you could hear was the tapping sound of the sleet bouncing off of dead leaves. Pack covers went on, but rain gear didn't come out yet. The crystals were bouncing off of us for the most part, and we stayed relatively dry.
As I said, the sleet mainly bounced off of us. After hiking in it for over an hour, my sleeve only looked like this.
Soon this would become a long green tunnel
Hiking up an old rail grade, we found this remnant of the area's history: a piece of coal!
Great view of the storm coming at us from the top of Sullivan Mountain.
When we arrived at camp, the sleet was starting to turn into actual rain, so we decided to go to bed early. It rained steadily all night. This is our soggy, sagging shelter the next morning.
All of our clothing was fairly damp, so even with the vent open and the door cracked, we had plenty of condensation.
Rock Run was absolutely gorgeous.
This is the famous swimming hole at the confluence of Rock Run and Yellow Dog Run. At the beginning of the trip, we were both talking about jumping in. When we actually got there and it was 40 degrees, we got a bit of a reality check.
Cool fire pit next to our campsite, overlooking Rock Run. Too bad it was too rainy to get a fire going.
Rock Run was really raging.
Lots of fungi in PA
JC was trying news shoes for the first time. They rubbed his heel the wrong way a bit. Good thing he is a "blister is half-full" kinda guy.
Soon enough, these little guys would grow up and form a sea of green.
Even though it didn't rain on our last day, it was very misty all day.
An old logging tool along the way.
They say Pennsylvania is really just Pittsburgh and Philadelphia with Alabama in between.
Ok, I hope you all enjoyed my pics and TR. I will update this thread soon with some cool panoramas I took along the way. Cheers everyone!