Loyalsock Trail - Southern Terminus to Hillsgrove Ranger Station - October 18-19, 2008

Trip theme: "I'm only here for the wings with special sauce"


Our super secluded campsite in Worlds End State Park This was an official Wilmington Trail Club backpacking trip on October 18-19, 2008 on the Loyalsock trail from the Southern Terminus to the Hillsgrove Ranger Station. It was the same folks as my last trip to this trail, myself, Tom and Glenn. I vowed I would never set foot ever again on the Loyalsock trail after our disastrous trip in 2006. However I hadn't backpacked but one time in 2008 and those wings in the special sauce at the High Knob Inn are outstanding. The wings pushed me over the edge and I signed up for round 2.

We camped the first night at World's End State Park again. We had a brief discussion about going for the wings before we even started backpacking. But ultimately we decided that the wings needed to serve as the motivation to complete the trail. Heck, I may have turned around and gone home if I had eaten the wings before the hiking even started! Happily we found another local place that was having a fish fry. Mmmmm fish fry......

We didn't actually start at the southern terminus, but rather we skipped over the initial big climb and started a mile or so in. Tom had arranged with one of the locals for us to park in his driveway, thus saving us the agony of climbing up the big hill from the road. As it turns out this wound up being a very good thing, but more on that later. The plan was to split up the 25 miles roughly 60/40 but there was some uncertainty as to where we would actually camp. Our preferred spot was listed in the guidebook as private property, the known spot was way too short, and the backup spot was also listed in the guidebook as not allowing camping. Well whatever. We have tents. We can stealth camp anywhere.

Even though we skipped the first hill we had to start up a hill. Fortunately for us the trail on this section is in much better shape that the previous section. In fact I don't think there was one overgrown area at all. The first, and really only, hill culminated at Smith Nob. Glenn was fascinated by the sign at the top of the hill. I was more fascinated by the fact that the trail appeared to go over the side of the cliff. Seriously it looked like the trail went over the cliff and down a nasty looking ditch. People had clearly gone that way. After my last trip on the Loyalsock nothing would have surprised me, but we found a marker leading down a much better looking trail. Although it was still pretty steep and washed out in places. We passed a couple of campsites along the way, but all of them were way to close to where we started. After a good bit we popped out on the dirt road that we knew that we had to walk for several miles. It was along this road that we were hoping to find somewhere to stealth camp. As we enjoyed the brief sunlight we discussed whether we should hitch a ride down the road. A couple of trucks went by and no one stood up to wave down them down. Finally a local came by in his tractor and start running a chainsaw 50 feet away from us. It was time to road walk.

The road didn't turn out to be all that bad. Except for the part where our stealth camping location turned out to be a local bar and 4 wheeler ranch. Clearly there was nowhere for us to camp there. So what that meant is that we would have to schlep it about 18 miles to a known camping spot, albeit one where you're not allowed to camp at. There was a long downhill prior to our destination and after this many miles my knee was starting to bother me a little. We made it down to where you're not suppose to camp and found a stealth site on the other side of the road where the rangers wouldn't find us. This night I made what turned out to be the best meal I've ever had in the woods. I had a package of dried Bertoulli ravioli and then sauteed olive oil, fresh garlic, crushed red pepper, and grated parmesan cheese. I made up a meal that would have been good at home which makes it outstanding in the woods. I topped dinner off with a peanut butter pumpkin and was fat and happy. My knee was aching pretty bad by the time I lied down to sleep. Hopefully it would magically heal itself by morning.

For a change it did. My knee was a little stiff in the morning but wound up being just fine all day. After humping a large number of miles yesterday, the only thing that stood between us and wings was around 7 miles and one hill. We passed several really nice campgrounds along the way this morning and a bunch of people camping at them. The sun was shining this morning and we were treated to some very nice lighting shining through what was left of the fall colors. Tom had figured out that if we took the red trail that we could avoid the final 3 miles of road walking back to where our car was parked. We found the red trail alright. The problem was that there was conflicting information between the map and the blazes. The conflicting information caused us to doubt the engineer's orienteering ability and sent us down the side trail, that we didn't want, that led to the dreaded road walk. Oh well. At least we didn't get lost and delay our rendezvous with the wings.

Late morning found us back at the car enjoying celebratory beers. Finally we could get to the wings! Once again they were worth the wait. The wings with special sauce at the High Knob Inn are just so darn good! It almost makes you want to take up bulimia so you can eat more of them. Thankfully the Loyalsock trail did not disappoint this time and most certainly the wings didn't either.

No this wasn't an alpine start
Our first scenic vista overlooking the river
It looked for all the world like the trail was suppose to go over the cliff here
Huh, huh, huh, huh, huh, huh. He said knob
Glenn should be getting a commission for the advertising
My Space shot
What do you think the odds are we can hitch a ride?
The weather was really weird up on this ridge
So this is where we're going to camp..... Not!
The Sierra Club frowns on littering Glenn
Well one out of two morning people isn't bad
Facebook shot
Nice shot of some early morning fall colors
Is this tree cool or what?
Let's go have those wings with special sauce!


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