[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[at-l] Loyalsock Trail Trip Report

This is not part of the AT.  The Loyalsock trail is a 60 mile trail in
Northern Pennsylvania.  I hiked the second half of it with a group from the
Genesee Valley chapter of the ADK (Adirondack Mountain Club) this last
weekend.  We started Friday morning, and finished up Sunday afternoon.

This was my first backpacking trip of the year and I had a fair bit of new
gear.  My new stuff included:

	My backpack (Osprey Flyte)
	Bivy sack + tarp (Integral Designs Unishelter)
	Stove (Trangia Westwind)
	Pot (Evernew Titanium 1.3 liter)
	Light (Photon Microlight)
	Water Filter (MSR MiniWorks)

I've separated out gear comments from the rest of the report so those who
don't want to see them don't have to!

We met in Corning, NY at 9:00 on Friday morning.  I left my car there, and
our group of five headed south to PA.  We dropped one car off at the end of
the trail, and crammed ourselves and our gear into the front and back of a
pickup truck for the trip to the trailhead.  My first misadventure occurred
when I went to put my boots on at the trailhead.... I'd left my insoles at

*** GEAR ALERT ***
*** GEAR ALERT ***

Luckily I had worn trail running shoes to drive, and could use the insoles
from them.  Unluckily they gave my blisters on the inside of both heels.

We hit the trail around 12:00, and hiked about 12 miles.  We finished up
around 6:30... just enough time to set up camp and eat before it started to
get dark.  The trail ran for a long time up along a ridge and the group
wanted to avoid a dry camp.  We had good hiking weather... cool, and only
one period of light rain.  It got cold that night (probably into the upper
20's) and I was glad for the insulation of my thermarest.  The bivy worked
flawlessly, though the real test for the bivy/tarp system will come when
the nights are hot and muggy.  My little alcohol stove worked fine in the
evening, but was very hard to light in the morning (because of the cold).
I found that spilling some alcohol on the rim of the stove made it easier
to light when cold.  I also found that the compact lighter I was using hurt
my fingers.

*** GEAR ALERT ***
My alcohol stove is slower than molasses in November and can be hard to
light when cold if you don't know what you're doing.  It works great as
long as you're not in a hurry.

The Peak 1 Feather 400 stove looks really easy to use, fires up instantly,
and simmers.

I will never carry one of the really little "BIC" lighters again.

If you trim your spoon handle so it will fit in the pot, remember that it
will fit under your boiling soup just as well.
*** GEAR ALERT ***

The next day we hiked about 12 miles again but with more breaks.  We
stopped around 5:30.  The Loyalsock trail has some rocky parts and some
steep climbs.  We noticed a lot of dead deciduous trees and wondered what
had killed them.  When we walked through a state park I asked a ranger, and
he explained that they had three years of insect defoliation followed by a
drought and that the combination had killed many trees.  There were some
lovely views.  We saw a lot more people today (Saturday) than on Friday.

It was sort of sad to see all the dead trees (small saplings have started
to grow up around them though).  The area seemed quite dry for this early
in the season, and I'll bet that by the dry season the rangers will be
pretty nervous about fires.

That night was crystal clear and cold, but not as cold as the night before.
 I didn't bother with my tarp, and enjoyed having nothing above me but the
bivy's bug netting.  A couple of times I unzipped the netting and lay
looking up at the stars.

We only had about 6 miles to hike on Sunday to reach the end of the trail.
We got there around 1:00.  Sunday was warmer than the other days, and we
saw the most people yet.  We went past a really lovely beaver pond (we
packed out some bottles, cans, etc. from an old fire ring), and continued
on to a gorgeous fast moving river.

One of the things I like most about Northern PA is the abundance of
gorgeous clear streams.  They crop up seemingly everywhere, and are just a
joy to look at.

*** GEAR ALERT ***
My new Osprey Flyte pack worked great.  It carried comfortably, and I found
the shovel pocket & shock cord lattice very convenient for stashing things
like my shovel and Walmart sandals.

The MSR MiniWorks filter gets a mixed review.  I loved being able to screw
it right onto my water bottles instead of fiddling with a hose, and I liked
the screw on cover that keeps the output nipple clean.  On the other hand,
it didn't feel as fast as my old Sweetwater Guardian and I occasionally had
some trouble getting it started.  The problem could be resolved by
unscrewing the top a bit and blowing off pressure, but was still annoying.
On the plus side, cleaning was easy, and the ceramic filter can be cleaned
quite a few times before it has to be replaced.
*** GEAR ALERT ***

To sum it up, I had a lovely weekend.  The Loyalsock Trail has some nice
views, lovely streams, some challenging spots, and is very well marked.  I
look forward to hiking the first thirty miles!  The trail seems quite
popular on weekends.

-- Jim Mayer

* From the Appalachian Trail Mailing List | For info http://www.hack.net/lists *