Trip Report: Quehanna Trail - Eastern Loop

Posted by Ben on

With an upcoming trailcare I needed to scout locations to work on the Quehanna Trail so I decided to lead a hike of the eastern loop of the trail 4th of July weekend. I met everyone including Buddy the dog in Frederick where we piled into one car and were on our way. About 3.5 hours later we arrived at the trailhead despite a detour to Snowshoe because of my inattentiveness after crossing I-80. The weather was perfect in the upper 70s and sunny. We were on our way down the eastern cross connector of the Quehanna trail through the open meadows that make up the central part of the Quehanna Wild Area. One thing that became clear very fast was that it had been extremely wet up there. All the first creek we came to was running faster than I have every seen. We took a detour to see the bridge over Mosquito creek and ate lunch. Then we were off the the Crawford Vista before reconnecting with the cross connector. Once there we climbed down to Mosquito Creek again and back up to the Quehanna trail. After 5 miles we ended up at Mosquito Creek yet again. With the hour approaching 7 we decided to call it a day there after 12 miles. Following dinner and conversation we were all in bed by 10. About 11 pm that night the rain started which we weren't expecting until saturday. It rained, and rained, and rained somemore all the way to the morning forcing us to tear down camp in the rain. Then came the next fun part. The bridge at this crossing of Mosquito Creek was out so we had to ford the creek. With the rain the creek was running extremely high. We all made it safely across including Buddy. We walked for several miles and cooked breakfast near Fischer Rocks. By this point everyone's feet were soaked due to extremely wet trail. In fact the whole trail was the wettest I have ever seen it by far. After breakfast we crossed the Quehanna Highway walked most of the day through the extreme eastern end of the trail. I decided to detour to avoid a down and up to Upper Jerry Run on the Old Sinnamahoning Trail to keep us on track. Around 3 the rain and clouds finally stopped and we took break at a power line clearing to dry things out. Around 7 pm we arrived at our campsite at the top of Laurel Draft after 19 miles. Of course as soon we setup the tents a brief but heavy rain came just for good measure so soak the tents we had just dried out earlier in the day. Luckily we learned that night that with enough fire starters and half a liter of isopropyl alcohol one can get a fire going no matter how wet it is. We were asleep by 10 pm again. The next morning was very foggy and the trail was still soaked. We got up and walked to the old foundation at Arch Spring where we cooked breakfast. Afterwards we had one more down to Red Run along Sanders Draft before a killer climb up Porcupine Draft. Once at the top is was smooth sailing back to the Cross Connector and the car. At the parking lot was a Penn State student surveying state forest users. After doing the survey and putting on dry footwear we were off to Ottos in State College for a post hike meal.