While we had eleven people signed up two days before the outing started, a number of folks dropped out near the last minute so that we wound up with seven people on the trip. The five coming from Maryland ended up carpooling in one car and linking up with the two from Philly at the trailhead, which was easier than linking up on the trail at night.
We shot for a campsite that was about a mile in just past a gravel road. Not only did we not see it in the dark, we didnít see it when we went by in the light during the next day. We ended up camping on the snowmobile trail that crossed the hiking trail at a road. The snowmobile trail was grass covered, fairly level, had healthy trees and could easily accommodate tent after tent in a row.
As expected, the trail was easy walking with no significant climbs or descents. At times, the trail got a bit narrow due to brush, but it tended to not be prickly. There were some areas that had started turning colors, but overall, the estimate was that it would be another two weeks before it hits peak fall colours. Brian was looking for another nice easy 20-30mi loop in PA and KTA delivered yet another nice trail.
We stopped on a lookout platform with a good view. It was windy up there, so was probably the coldest place possible for us to stop, but it a view out to the horizon. We took a near bushwhack to get up there and saw the obvious gravel road to get back down.
The area by Choke Creek was particularly pretty. The stream was pretty and there was an awesome smaller campsite right by the stream, but was roughly one foot above the creek, so might have been problematic if the creek rose due to rain. We saw some Boy Scouts by one of the campsites marked on the map. They were the only other backpackers that we saw all weekend.
For wildlife, we saw a lot of bright orange salamanders. I saw two deer take off and some misc birds, but nothing particularly noteworthy. We saw evidence of beaver activity, but didnít see the beaver.
As we were only doing 16 miles of moderate walking on Saturday, we were in camp by 4 pm. We built a campfire and enjoyed the early evening. Brian brought spiced Jaegermeister and apple cider, which was a tasty combo. It started misting at 6:30 and turned to a substantial rain by 7pm, so we turned in early and had a long night to get caught up on our sleep while listening to the rain on the tent fly.
Sunday featured a bit of road walking, but also passed through some areas of trail that were pretty.
Afterwards, we tried to drop by a nearby Brewery which didnít appear to exist when we drove there. We ended up at the Bear Creek Inne instead which was about 10 minutes from the trailhead. For $15, one gets an entree, bread, soup, salad and a desert. It was tasty, so joins our list of recommended post hike restaurants for this trip.
According to Michael, this was DC ULís 500th event. Assuming an average of 200 person - miles per event, thatís an estimated 100,000+ person - miles for DC UL. Brianís attended around 120 events, which is nearly 1 in 4. Considering that some weekends we have multiple events, it seemed impressive to us. Thanks to Brian for leading yet another outing and to KTA for maintaining the trail.