Loyalsock Trail
Mile 0.00 to 3.00 Mile 46.11 to 49.25 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 49.25 to 53.60       Mile 53.60 to 56.00       Mile 56.00 to 59.28

Revised November 7, 2003

Mile 46.11 to 49.25, hiked west to east then doubled back, September 25, 1994
Mile 46.11 to 49.25, hiked east to west, May 24, 1997
Mile 46.11 to 49.25, hiked east to west beginning from Sones Pond, October 13, 2003
World's End State Park past High Rock Vista to Big Run

Three weekends after our 10 mile marathon hike from Double Run Road to Jack's Window and back, we returned to hike the LT for the fourth time. From this point on, we hiked the LT as many weekends as possible during favorable weather in the fall and spring. This trip was the first hike we made from west to east, so we were able to follow the instructions in the trail guide as written, rather than having to reverse everything it said which occasionally led to slight bouts of confusion.

We actually started from the World's End State Park office parking area at mile 45.96 and repeated 0.15 miles through the park that we'd done at the end of our first LT hike back in 1992. This included passing the sign "Lowest Point on the Loyalsock Trail in Sullivan County," in a bed of poison ivy at mile 46.08. After the Red X link trail RX-6 turned off at mile 46.11, we crossed the bridge to the park cabins area and began climbing into the woods at mile 46.17. The section to mile 46.49, where we crossed High Rock Run, was moderately steep, but the worst was about to come.

The trail guide merely notes "Trail crosses High Rock Run and then UP 'rock stairs.'" These were unlike most conventional stairs we have climbed in our lives. A more accurate description would be "a steep field of large boulders." We had to step or climb from boulder to boulder, being careful not to miss and twist our ankles in the gaps between them. This was one of the LT climbs that was even slower on the way down. We weren't struggling to climb, but we were putting quite a bit of strain on our knees, and we were trying to maintain our balance. These "stairs" seemed to last forever -- the actual distance to High Rock Vista was about 1/4 mile.

After reaching the vista, we still had 360 ft of climbing to do in just under a mile to reach Loyalsock Road. After finally getting rid of the boulders shortly after leaving the vista, we paralleled High Rock Run for the remainder of the distance to the road. Most of this was relatively easy for an uphill hike. The trail stayed close enough to the stream to make the climb a gradual one along a woods road, which kept far enough away from the stream to avoid climbing over rocks.

After jogging along Loyalsock Road from mile 47.61 to 47.67, the remaining half of the hike was relatively flat, as we were at the top of a broad peak. The actual high point of the day occurred at 1959 ft, and from there we gradually descended about 200 ft as we recrossed Loyalsock Road and reached the beaver dams on Big Run at mile 49.12. Big Run was actually quite small, and when we reached the point where the LT crossed it, we stopped for the day and returned via the same route we had taken up.

On October 13, 2003, Mike and Maria completed this segment at the end of a 7 1/2 mile hike from Sones Pond to World's End. This had been the last segment that Mike carried Maria in the backpack when she completed the trail in 1997.  Of course, Mike found the 2003 hike to be much easier!  The complete hike from Sones Pond to World's End took them about five hours, and it represented the longest distance Maria had ever hiked at one time.

The only major problem they encountered was near mile 47.5.  This was just after the trail had made its jog along Loyalsock Road, and it was beginning to follow High Rock Run in a downhill direction.  Maria usually thinks downhill segments are quite easy, and that encourages her to walk quickly or run.  Mike kept warning her that this stretch was rocky, but she didn't listen, and she tripped over a rock.  She scraped herself on her hand and also a little bit on her cheek.  Now she was a tough hiker and kept going, once we took a short candy bar break to console ourselves!  She didn't suffer any real harm, other than the kids at school asking her what happened to her face after she returned home from Pennsylvania!

When we got to the Rock Stairs, Maria knew better than to run, so we went down really slowly.

Footnote: This was the last LT hike we made before Aimee was pregnant. It was also the last hike that Mike and Maria made in spring, 1997, in order that Maria could complete all the segments of the trail that Aimee and Mike had done prior to her arrival. On May 24, 1997, Aimee dropped the two of them off at the LT crossing of Loyalsock Road, mile 49.03. They hiked to the Big Run crossing then doubled back and continued down to World's End State Park where Aimee had driven to meet them. The "rock stairs" were even more brutal while carrying a nearly two-year-old in a backpack, but when Maria reached mile 46.11 at the park, she became one of the youngest people ever to complete the Loyalsock Trail at age 1 year, 10 months, and 17 days. Many thanks to Dad for covering a bit over 100 miles on the LT with Maria in the front carrier or backpack, when roundtrip segments were included. Many thanks to Mom for the two hikes she made while pregnant, covering about nine miles roundtrip on the first, made when she was about a week pregnant but before she knew, and a little over three miles including a partial roundtrip made during her sixth month of pregnancy.

Rock Stairs Aimee starting up "Rock Stairs" at mile 46.49, September 25, 1994, shortly after beginning our hike at World's End State Park . The yellow marker between the old style and new style LT markers indicates that the High Rock Trail, maintained by the park, also shares this route. We had already ascended part of the 400 ft change from the park to High Rock Vista, but the worst was yet to come. The descent over the rocks on the return trip was as bad or worse. Aimee's knees have never been the same.
Aimee at Mile 48

Our photos from High Rock Vista, mile 46.73, show some of the fall color change, the bend of Loyalsock Creek near the state park to the right, and quite a bit of fog in the background.

Near the high point of the day's hike at mile 48, Aimee holds unto the mile marker tree for support. We began hiking at the state park, elevation as low as 1105 ft, and in approximately two miles, climbed to 1959 ft. Actually, the second half including this area was relatively flat. Most of the climb, about 750 ft, occurred within the first mile and a half from the park.

Mike at Mile 49

Mike poses at mile marker 49, nearly at the turnaround point of the hike.

High Rock Vista

Fall Color Closeup of the fall color as seen from High Rock Vista.

Right:  The tree holding mile marker 48 looks a bit precarious.  Evidently it's a bit worse for the wear over the nine years since Aimee posed next to it in the picture above.

Maria at mile 49Left:   Maria continues to make progress on our 2003 hike, passing mile marker 49 just across Loyalsock Road beyond the area of the beaver dams as we hiked east to west.
Maria at mile 48
Maria at High Rock VistaLeft:  The fall color is bright in the background as Maria poses at High Rock Vista, Mile 46.73.  By this time, she had recovered well from her fall when she tripped on a rock about 3/4 mile earlier.

Maria at Rock StairsRight:  Maria is still smiling as she continues to make her way down the Rock Stairs just past High Rock Vista.
Maria near fungusIt wouldn't be much of a hike in the woods unless we encountered some interesting fungus, right?  These appear to be tree ears, and what's interesting is the way they form a spiral pattern up the tree trunk.
Maria descending Rock StairsThis photo gives a good sense of the size of the boulders that comprise the Rock Stairs.  After seven miles of hiking, Maria's ready to get to the bottom where the hike will end.

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