Loyalsock Trail
Mile 0.00 to 3.00 Mile 56.00 to 59.28 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

Revised November 4, 2006

Mile 56.00 to 59.28, hiked east to west, returning via RX-8, August 19, 1995
Mile 56.00 to 59.21, hiked east to west continuing to Sones Pond, October 10, 2005
Mead Road trailhead past the Haystacks onto railroad grade
Maria's first hike

On the sunny, warm summer day of August 19, 1995, six weeks and one day after Maria was born, we prepared to take our first hiking trip as a family of three. Mike had been practicing carrying Maria in the front carrier around the neighborhood back home, and had taken her as far as work and back, 2.6 miles in each direction, on more than one occasion. The segment we were hiking this day was relatively short, a little over 3 miles one-way, and had the option of an even shorter and flatter return trip using the Red X trail currently numbered RX-8.   (It was RX-10 before the renumbering in 2004-05.)

At the time of Maria's first hike, the trailhead marking the end of the LT was located on US Route 220, just south of the bridge over Loyalsock Creek.  The current location of the trailhead is at a parking lot on Mead Road, 0.2 miles from Route 220. 

At that time, the first half mile was on a level section of the LT that followed an old railroad grade. Our hiking experiences on the LT had taught us to cherish "old woods road" segments since they were unlikely to be steep, and "old railroad grade" segments were even less so. A Red X trail descended to the right to access Dutchman Falls shortly after we began. (I'm not sure this trail is currently blazed as Red X any more as the new trailhead at Mead Road bypasses some of this area.)  We declined the opportunity to visit the falls since the trail guide described "a steep, rocky descent and ascent." At mile 58.74, the LT turned right off the railroad grade while RX-8 continued straight ahead.

The trail descended moderately steeply at first, but only dropped about 100 ft to get to the level of Loyalsock Creek at mile 58.62. For almost the next mile and a half, the LT followed the creek closely, occasionally rising a few dozen feet above it into the woods then returning back to creek level. Any concern that Maria would object to her first hike was dispelled as she proceeded to fall asleep in the front carrier.

The trail reached the vicinity of the Haystacks, a rock formation along the creek at mile 57.23, elevation 1415 ft. Like Canyon Vista, the Haystacks are accessible by car (from the opposite bank of the creek) and they were one of the most crowded points we saw along the LT. There's no question they were the loudest area we encountered along the trail. We could hear people yelling from quite a distance away. There were a lot of swimmers and sunbathers out that day because of the warm weather. We would advise people who are looking for a peaceful, solitary hiking experience not to do this segment on a warm summer day.

After the Haystacks, the LT ascended steeply from creek level back up to the railroad grade, an elevation change of 185 ft in about 1/4 mile. There was a trail register part way up, and Mike was extremely disappointed that the pen was dry, preventing us from registering Maria's first hike on the LT. Reaching the railroad grade and RX-8 at mile 56.97, the LT turned right and followed along this level path for the remainder of our hike to mile marker 56, as far as we'd gotten from the opposite direction on our last hike before Maria was born. After stopping for lunch -- Maria continued to nap even after Mike took the carrier off and laid her on a rock -- we returned back via RX-8, avoiding the descent to and ascent from the creek, and cutting 0.2 mile off the distance.

It was over 11 years before Mike and Maria returned to hike the approximately six mile segment from the Mead Road trailhead to Sones Pond on October 10, 2005.  This followed a ten mile hike the previous day from High Knob to Double Run Road, well, a nine mile LT hike followed by one mile along the road to the mistakenly placed car.

A big change at the beginning of the hike was the relocation of the trailhead, which had been on US Route 220 in 1995, to Mead Road just off Route 220.  There was a parking lot and a restroom building.  What modern conveniences!

On this fall weekday, the Haystacks were quiet and peaceful unlike our previous summer weekend visit.  Mike had Maria pose for a number of photos there before the two of them continued uphill for the 185 ft elevation gain, past mile marker 57, to rejoin the railroad grade and continue toward mile 56.  On this day, the two of them continued past the mile marker for the final destination of Sones Pond.  So no lying on cold hard rocks this time!

Footnote: Maria awoke and started to fuss a little bit just as we were finishing the hike. We put her back in the car seat, drove about 10 minutes to Eagles Mere, and Aimee found a concealed spot near the gazebo in the park where she could nurse and we could change her diaper. So having an infant did change some things!

Mike and Maria at mile 58Maria's first moment on the LTLeft: Maria's first moment on the LT occurred on August 19, 1995, at the US Route 220 trailhead, mile 59.28. She was six weeks and one day old, and we subtitled her first hike "Six miles at six weeks."

Right:  Mike and Maria at LT mile marker 58 in Sullivan County, Pennsylvania. Many of her early hiking trips consisted of long naps in the front carrier. How much would you enjoy hiking if someone carried you around to see all sorts of interesting places?
Aimee and Maria break for lunch and nap Mike and Maria at mile 56Left: Aimee and Mike had gotten to mile 56 from the other direction on their last hike before Maria was born. Reaching this point meant that the two of them had hiked a nearly 25 mile connected segment of the LT from Jack's Window, mile 34.54, to the Route 220 trailhead, mile 59.28.

Right: A large flat stone provided a convenient stopping off point for Aimee's lunch of trail mix. Mike took off the front carrier but Maria continued napping with the carrier protecting her from the hard, cold rock. Every time Mike looks at this photo, he hears his mother's voice, "You mean you laid that poor baby on a rock!"
Maria sleeping on rock Left:  Maria, still resting on the rock near mile 56. This initial trip convinced us that hiking with an infant presented no major difficulties. (No more so than doing anything else with an infant after being married without children for 12 years.) Have you ever seen anyone look so peaceful while lying on top of a cold, hard rock?

Below right: 
The new parking lot and restroom building at Mead Road trailhead was a welcome addition for our October 10, 2005 hike.
Parking lot at Mead Road trailhead

Maria descending near bouldersMaria descending over some large boulders just after mile 58.74.  The trail has turned off a railroad grade and is descending to Loyalsock Creek.  She had an easier time eleven years before at the age of six weeks when Mike carried her over the boulders.
Maria at HaystacksRight:  Another pose of Maria at the Haystacks, with the fall color visible in the background.

Below left: 
Here's a closeup of a smiling Maria at the Haystacks, along Loyalsock Creek near mile 57.23.
Closeup of Maria at Haystacks
The HaystacksRapids on Loyalsock Creek as it passes through the Haystacks.  Quoting from the trail guide, "The Burgoon Sandstone, which underlies the creek for a short distance here, is a highly resistant, hard rock that has eroded slowly to form the large 'haystack-like' formations."
Rock slab at mile 56.97This interesting waterfall occurred at a rock slab on the south side of the trail at mile 56.97.  This point was just after we had ascended from the Haystacks along Loyalsock Creek back up to the railroad grade followed by RX-8.  It probably doesn't run so much if at all in dry weather.  The guide says, "On the right of the trail is a large rock slab which, in wet weather, is a waterfall."

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