Loyalsock Trail
Mile 0.00 to 3.00 Mile 3.00 to 4.81 Mile 4.81 to 9.10
Mile 9.10 to 13.53       Mile 13.53 to 15.45       Mile 15.45 to 18.25       Mile 18.25 to 22.08       Mile 22.08 to 25.24
Mile 25.24 to 28.42       Mile 28.42 to 30.57       Mile 30.57 to 34.54       Mile 34.54 to 39.59       Mile 39.59 to 43.27
Mile 43.27 to 46.11       Mile 46.11 to 49.25       Mile 49.25 to 53.60       Mile 53.60 to 56.00       Mile 56.00 to 59.28

Revised November 23, 2003

Mile 3.00 to 4.81, hiked east to west then doubled back, October 6, 1996
Mile 3.00 to 4.81, hiked west to east continuing from mile 0.00, October 13, 2003

Little Bear Creek Road onto Allegheny Ridge

Two weekends after our monumental climb to Sock Rock, we completed the remainder of the first section of the LT. Again, we started at the bottom -- this time in the Little Bear Creek valley -- and hiked up to the top of the Allegheny Ridge. About a mile beyond the LT trailhead on PA Route 87, we turned right onto Little Bear Creek Road and traveled about another mile to park at the ranger station at mile 4.81.

Hiking through the grounds of the ranger station, we continued somewhat uphill into the woods and crossed a stream at mile 4.60. From this point, the trail ran steeply uphill for much of the next 2/3 mile. A good portion of this followed along a small stream. This spared us the effort of extremely steep climbs like the ones to Sock Rock, but like most streambed hikes, it required us to pick our way over large rocks and boulders.

The trail leveled out to a more moderate climb a little beyond mile marker 4, and by mile 3.75, the climb had become gradual as we left the vicinity of the stream, labeled as Pete's Hollow on the trail map and guide. By the time we intersected a woods road at mile 3.60, we had climbed 940 ft in about 1 1/4 miles to an elevation of 1710 ft.

The remainder of the hike to the turnaround point at mile marker 3 was along the Allegheny Ridge, and it included some vistas overlooking forests, farm land, and a series of hills to the south. This day's hike, though designated east to west according to the trail guide, had actually begun in a southeast direction, turned due south, and only turned west for the final 6/10 mile on the ridge.

The return trip to the car retraced our path along the ridge and then steeply down the streambed. Although we were spared the exertion of climbing uphill, the effort needed to maintain our balance as we picked our way down over rocks and boulders was strenuous, and it took about as long to descend nearly 1000 ft as it took us to climb it. (Our total elevation change for the hike, from low point at the ranger station to high point along the ridge, was 1140 ft.) When we reached the ranger station, we took Maria out of the backpack and she posed for some photos with Aimee on the ranger station bridge over Little Bear Creek. Now that she was walking on her own, we also let her walk down along the creek to watch the bubbling water.

On October 13, 2003, Mike and Maria returned to hike this segment as part of a 4.81 mile hike of Section 1 of the LT. The good news was that this section was done one-way in the downhill direction.  The bad news was that it followed the ascent to Sock Rock

As mentioned above, the part of the hike on the ridge and on the woods road was not difficult.  It was flat to slightly downhill.  Once we turned into the dry streambed, it was a different experience altogether.  Every so often, Mike would tell Maria to stop and turn around to see how far down they had come.  When he turned around, Mike wondered how the three of them ever managed to climb this steep rocky stretch seven years earlier -- especially with him carrying Maria in the backpack.

As they got closer to the bottom of the hill, still in the streambed, they saw a clearing ahead.  At first Mike thought it was ground level at Little Bear Creek, but it was actually a huge area of downed trees along a hillside.  He estimated the area was about 1/4 mile long and maybe half as high up the hill, and it was evidently the result of some cataclysmic natural event.  Mike guessed it was probably a downburst (thunderstorm) since it appeared far too big to have been an ordinary washout on the hillside.

As they walked the last few hundred feet past the Little Bear Creek ranger station to their car, they encountered a wild animal which appeared to be a porcupine.  It was on a gravel pile next to the ranger station garage, but when it saw them coming, it slowly sauntered across the path as they waited about a dozen feet away.  Then it climbed a tree on the other side.  

So they saw no porcupines at Porky Den the previous day, but did see one at Little Bear Creek!  In a continuation of this irony, about fifteen minutes later as they were driving back to Williamsport, Mike nearly had to slam on the brakes.  On Interstate 180 between Montoursville and Williamsport, less than 1 1/2 miles from the hustle and bustle of "the strip" on the east side of Williamsport in Loyalsock Township, a black bear scooted across both sides of the interstate and disappeared into the adjacent woods.

Footnote: At the age of 3 1/2, Maria still likes bubbles and bubbling water. Her favorite part of washing her hands is playing with the suds in the water after her hands are clean.

Mile marker 4
Mike and Maria at mile 4, October 6, 1996. Our shortest of eighteen LT day hikes was not as easy as its length suggested. At this point, we've been picking our way up a steep rocky stream bed for nearly all of the 8/10 mile since we began.
8-year-old Maria returns to mile 4
Maria's return to mile 4, seven years later, represented four miles of hiking on her own two feet, up 1250 feet over the Allegheny Ridge then partway down.

Vista from Allegheny Ridge Mike was surprised Aimee let him take Maria this close to the edge of the ridge. This photo was taken during the 1996 hike, looking south from Allegheny Ridge near mile 3.10 with forest land, farm land, and more hills in the background below us.
Downed trees on hillside near mile 4.50
This is just a small part of the area of downed trees that Mike and Maria encountered in the vicinity of mile 4.5.  It appeared to be the consequence of some natural event -- possibly a thunderstorm downburst -- on the hillside to the northeast of the trail's path down Pete's Hollow.

Maria near large purple fungus
Check out the size of this fungus!  And how about that purple color? Dad had Maria crouch next to this log  so that the size of the fungus would be evident by comparison to her.  It was at least a foot across and a deep shade of purple, darker than the sleeves of the jacket tied around her waist.  (According to Maria, that's because her sleeves are dark pink, not purple.  How would I know?)  Amazing the variety of saprophytes you find in the woods.

Little Bear Creek Bridge Aimee is holding Maria as they sit on the railing of the LT bridge over Little Bear Creek at the ranger headquarters there. Can you tell this was taken at the end of the hike? (Hint: look at the smiles)
Little Bear Creek Bridge After we finished hiking and took these happy photos, Maria was pleased to wander along the creek with us in the vicinity of the ranger headquarters. At this point in her young life, she greatly enjoyed small bubbling creeks and other sources of splashing water.
Porcupine crossing the LT near mile 4.81 We never saw any porcupines on our two visits to Porky Den near mile 52.10.  Instead this one crossed the LT a few yards in front of us within a few dozen feet of the LIttle Bear Creek ranger station on our 2003 visit.

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