Wednesday, 21 July
|Destination: Smays Run Campsite||Today’s Miles: 8.8|
|Start Location: Wolf Rocks Campsite||Trip Miles: 37.5|
I must have slept more soundly than Bob last night. I heard a whippoorwill once last night. Bob heard it several times through the night. We had a very little bit of rain overnight but everything was dry when we got up.
Today was the day to learn about some new trail blazes. The Allegheny Front Trail is marked with a yellow blaze on trees. This is a vertical line about six inches long and two inches wide, usually about six feet high. Follow the blazes and you are on the trail. A double blaze marks a turn in the trail. The upper blaze should (but not always) indicates the direction of the turn. If it is to the right of the lower blaze, the trail turns right. Sometimes two trails use the same path and there are either two blazes on a tree one above the other, of different colors or just marked on different trees. Up until today, that description covers every blaze I have seen.
The first new blaze Bob and I saw was three blazes top one in the middle between two lower ones. Initially we were confused but figured out that it was meant to be seen while hiking in either direction. If you saw it from one direction, it indicated a right turn. From the other direction, a left turn.
Next up was a diagonal blaze. After missing a turn and going a little off trail, Bob and I retraced our steps and figured out that the top of the diagonal blaze indicated the direction of a turn and the trail maintainer had not been drinking too much.
Finally, we came across a double colored blaze to indicate two trails used the same path. This was a standard six by two blaze with the top half red and the bottom half yellow instead of two full size standard blazes.
After getting off trail because of the diagonal blaze, Bob and I missed a turn while yakking about high school classmates and our upcoming reunion. We traced back and were quickly on track.
We left about 8:15 and followed the Black Moshannon Creek into Black Moshannon State Park. There we hiked through incredible bogs that looked like being in a jungle. There were lots of ripe blueberries in the sunny openings that seemed to slow us down again. Walkways and strategically placed rocks allowed me to keep my feet mostly dry.
We left the park and did a short climb then it leveled off. Soon we descended and came to Smays Run and our planned campsite about 1:45 just then we had a few raindrops and heard some thunder. It seemed like it was too early but that was the planned campsite. With the approaching thunderstorm we decided not to chance finding another site further down the trail.
The model name of my tent is Moment. One pole and two stakes and it is set up in a moment. This is only the fifth time I pitched my tent but it was up in a moment and I was dry inside. After about fifteen minutes of rain with no wind the sun came out. Bob said that was the fastest he had ever set up his tent!
We filtered some water and sat around a little and heard some more thunder. Sure enough another fifteen minute storm just after three and again the sun is out. The new tent held up great in the rain.
This is another nice site with a nice stream for water and to wash. Today was cooler with only 580 feet off ups and the same for downs over 8.8 miles. Again, no other humans seen if you do not count a car going by at a road crossing.
A young man with a dog stopped by our campsite before dinner breaking our streak of solitude. He chatted while his dog played in the stream.
Internet access has been limited so a couple days went up at once. Photos are a lot slower to upload and may be further behind. You should go back to each day to see the photos which may have been posted after the journal entry. Enjoy.