Right after the ranger started to drive away, Labamba appeared accompanied by a new friend. Mike's account of his "Excellent Adveture:"
1. Slayer was on the LT trail which he thought crossed the road (in the low light he did not see that it switched back up the mountain).
2. After continuing for several minutes I realized the yellow blazes said "X", not "LT".
3. Since I thought I knew where the park was from the overlook, I figured I should hike the X to the park.
4. The X hit the road again, not the park.
5. So, I hiked the road for a long stretch in direction I thought park was in.
6. Shit, no park there, so I turned around, hiked a LONG way back on the road till I hit a trail labeled "LT" again.
7. I followed it up a mountain for a long way in the dark and pouring rain.
8. Realizing something was wrong, I flagged down a pickup I saw in the distance and had them drive me to the ranger station.
9. I was cold and wet and lost. The ranger and his family were indoors with piping hot pepperoni pizza. He didn't offer me any. Beaver Slayer thought that kind of sucked.
10. But, the ranger was able to find the crew via his fellow ranger and all was well.
11. In the end, not much of a story. But, it sure was good to see you guys again :)
Visibility was terrible again on Saturday night and the section where the LT and the X (Link) Trail cross is confusing in daylight. Before heading to the pavilion, we all spent significant time in the headquarter restrooms where water and hand dryers were available! It was great to dry out some of our gear. We headed over to the pavilion for dinner followed by a short trek to the Butternut trail and our camp site. By that time, thankfully the rain had stopped, so setting up was easy.
We awoke again the final day, Sunday, at 5:30. I wanted to use a clever wakeup call and planned to use "Rise and shine, bitches!" since we were all Breaking Bad fans but I did not want to offend our lone woman. I'm sure Alison would not have been insulted, but at this point I was operating on about 10-12 hours of sleep total! Hammock systems are looking better and better.
The weather was nice and I knew Sundy would be an easy cruise especially compared to Saturday. The climb out of Worlds End up to High Rock was not as hard as I remembered. I must have motored up the climb last time because I was drenched with sweat at the top. We did not stop much in the morning as we hiked by Ken's Window (lots of hemlock), Alpine Falls, Ann's Bridge to Sones Pond. We saw several backpackers camped at the pond and a few day hikers as well. Finally, we descended down to the iron bridge that crosses the Loyalsock Creek. We hung out for awhile on a large flat rock in the creek to eat snacks and dry out our feet. I tried not to look at Will's feet when he took off his shoes - ouch - lots of black toenails! Alison, Will, and I hung out for some time longer than the rest. We finally got under way, and started the last section of the hike.
After crossing the beautiful iron bridge that was relocated from the park entrance by the WPA, we took a left and ascended up to the railroad grade. At this point, Will's shoes were still bothering him so he decided to walk barefoot. He completed the rest of the trail shoeless (one of the reasons that I like the trail name Savage). After almost two miles, we took another left and descended down to the Loyalsock Creek at the Haystack rock formations. I insisted on sitting down for a few minutes because I can't stand blowing by a sight like the Haystacks (see trip photos). The final section of the LT runs along the creek on a bed of hemlock needles. We ascended one last time to the final part of the railroad grade and turned right up to the parking lot. We saw a porcupine at the turn and stopped for awhile to observe him (or her). Will and Alison went down to check out Dutchman Falls while I headed directly back to the lot. When we regrouped, we took a series of group photos before loading into the cars for the drive to Selin's Grove Brewing Company (excellent food and beer).
All in all, I think everyone had a great time and enjoyed a phenomenal trail - The Loyalsock.
Thank you for reading a trip report that's way too long.
John Callahan (Inspector Gadget -no; Papa John - maybe) I'll wait until at least MM's Tuscarora Trip to decide!
I vote for Papa John! Ha. Awesome trip report and an amazing hike! Thanks again John for organizing. The company made this trip even better. Hiking with all you salty veterans was a blast!
I feel like I'll have to do something even more over the top to earn "Savage"! Maybe wrestle a bear?
Nice Will - backpacking barefoot is the best! :)
Nice Brian! I felt like I easily could have done the whole LT barefoot, then my feet wouldn't have been soggy!
That reminds me of one of my favorite comments I got when I was hiking the Long Trail barefoot during Hurricane Floyd - "You probably have the driest feet of all us!"
Nice trip report John. It brought back sections of the trail, that were great, that I had already forgotten about. Will hiked barefoot! Shoot, that is pretty hard core.
This was one of my favorite trips. And, I would like to share that many of us kind of hit a low on day 2 at about the halfway mark. A lesson that I've learned is to change things up and keep moral up when tired or wondering why in the world you are hiking so many miles. Once I made the commitment to power up and get my feel good juices flowing everything popped. The trip kind of put me on a high. What a great way to spend a fall weekend. In the lovely Pennsylvania mountains with cool peeps. Looking forward to heading back up in the hills with the crew.
@ Brian - There is probably a t-shirt slogan in there somewhere!
@ Mike - After a couple hours of cold rain things did look a little dismal! It's amazing what a long break in a warm bathroom will do. I definitely found mixing things up helped on the longs days. Sometimes walking fast, sometimes slowing it down and enjoying some conversation.
Hey, what were the splits for this trip like?
We did about 3.5 on the first night, camped near Angel Falls on the 2nd (20 mi, 23.5 total), stayed at World's End Sat night (22 mi, 45.5 total), and finished out the last 14 miles on Sunday. We had nice campsites, although if you pushed an extra mile or two on the 1st full day, there was a great site near an overlook (dry). Past World's End State Park was a good 4 or 5 miles to another good site, although there was a good campsite about 3 or 4 miles before the park as well. John picked good splits for this trail!