Saturday, 24 August
|Destination: Campsite/Stream (MM 18.35)||Today’s Miles: 5.35|
|Start Location: Route 44 and Trout Run Road (MM 23.7)||Trip Miles: 5.35|
A couple of months ago I got a call from Bob. Back in high school and college, Bob was my backpacking partner. We would usually pick the week before school started and head out for a week. Bob has more vacation than his wife, Janice, and he saw the opportunity to rekindle some old memories. Bob and I planned to schedule a week to complete the Black Forest Trail, a 42 mile loop in north central Pennsylvania. The Black Forest Trail gets its name from the dense hemlocks that once grew here, keeping the forest floor in an everlasting darkness. The trail is challenging with many steep ascents and descents. However, the vistas make it worth the effort. We had hiked part of this trail more than 40 years ago.
I drove from Virginia to Bob’s home near Philadelphia on Friday. We reviewed our gear, picked up some last minute food and packed our backpacks. A cold one and wonderful Italian dinner with Bob and Janice before hitting the sack early.
Left at 6:30. Stopped at White Haven Diner for a last real breakfast for a while. It was a beautiful day, sunny, with no humidity. This was after a couple weeks of stifling heat. The weather gods were being nice. On the way, we drove through Williamsport, home of the Little League World Series. Since the finals were that weekend, we hit a little traffic. We arrived at the trail-head about 11:20, with a temperature of 62 degrees.
After looking at the map, we decided to hike the loop clockwise. This avoided a steep 1,000 foot decent to start our day. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect. Temperature about 65, low humidity and mostly sunny. Since we were in the woods, we were in the shade. The trail was relatively flat and not rocky at all. We took our time, took our breaks and enjoyed being out in nature.
After a little over five miles, we got to our campsite along a stream. There were stone seats with backs around the campfire. We set up our tents and cleaned up in the stream. Then it was time to filter water and fix dinner. After dinner, relaxing and chtting before turning in at eight. Planning on eight miles tomorrow but it could turn into ten
Just after we crawled into our tents, we saw the first hiker of the day. He was planning to camp here but saw us and was going to keep hiking. I let him know there was another campsite just upstream and he decided to go there since it was getting dark. He was hammocking and going to build a fire.