Loyalsock Trail Hike #1

The Loyalsock Trail is a 60-mile footpath in the Loyalsock Forest that runs through Worlds End State Park.  When we first began camping at WESP in 1998 I became interested in the challenge of hiking the trail but over the years to follow I came to terms with the fact that I really did not want to do any back-pack camping.  For the past few summers when camping at WESP we have hiked the same portion of the LT to a site on the Loyalsock Creek known as The Haystacks.  This year (2013) when we camped at WESP the park hosted a local woman’s presentation of her hike alone on the LT.  She convinced me not to give up the trail and to do it in sections rather than conquer it whole.  This trail has probably the best trail guide & map available and it divides the hike into eight sections with easily accessible trail heads.

I’ve talked about The Haystacks enough to make Diane want to see this place regardless of my descriptions of the rough terrain.  The last section of the LT begins at Sones Pond, ends at the trailhead along Route 220 in Ringdale and is 5.8 miles.  Diane was up for the hike but try as we might; neither of us was successful at recruiting anyone other than Matt to join us.  It was a cold morning when we left NYS but the weather forecast had promised sunshine and warmer temps.  We left one vehicle at the trailhead in Ringdale and drove to Sones Pond where we started our trek.  Finding the trail from the parking area proved impossible so we headed down the road where the trail crossed the road and encountered four men backpack hiking.  They had lost the trail and walked up the road we drove on and said they had camped the night before at The Haystacks.  We walked along with them for a while until we parted ways when we turned off the road and entered the woods.  This section of the trail was quite nice and we thought it was too bad they had missed it. One section required us to clamber down over large rocky outcropping but it was nothing more than I had expected.  We crossed the Loyalsock Creek on the historic iron bridge made by the Horseheads Bridge Company in Horseheads, NY.  There was once a CCC camp in this area & we encountered some other campers here.  The trail from here takes you over old logging roads and railroad grade before you take a sharp right down a steep grade to a trail register & The Haystacks.  If you’ve never heard about, read about The Haystacks mad of Burgoon Sandstone and you have an ounce of curiosity I encourage you to check it out.  From the Haystacks to the trailhead parking is only two miles and there are more than one way to get to the trailhead parking lot.  We kept true to the LT where part of the trail is enjoyable and part of it is just plain grueling because all the climbs are at the end when you’re already tired.  We saw thirty-four people and two dogs on our 5.8 mile hike which was thirty-four more people and two more dogs than Diane and I had encountered on our hike to Sand Run Falls earlier this summer.

We showed Diane around the camp ground and park before performing the ritual of visiting the Forskville General Store.  We had dinner at Highknob Inn where Matt and I had found our favorite beer while camping this year.  A drive up to High Knob Overlook then over the hill to Canyon Vista Overlook were a perfect end to our day and we all returned home worn out.

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