While we technically had ended the MST over Memorial Day weekend (2016), I still had the stretch of trail just north of Everett left to cover. Those six(-ish) miles haunted me for quite a while, and I wanted to complete them. With schedules and life in general, though, it was hard to justify a four to five hour roundtrip drive for a handful of miles.
But, they haunted me, and I wanted them to be done. I came up with the idea of making it into an overnight backpacking trip, starting on 164 and ending in Everett. I had enjoyed that stretch along Maple Run so was pleased to revisit it. Plus, it would be a good opportunity to acquaint some new members with the MST. And, we had Iru joining us while she was back in the States!
Nine of us headed out on Saturday morning, meeting up at Tenley Park. We left two cars, and then piled into the two remaining cars to head north to 164. Again, this really is a nice stretch of trail, with the broad path allowing people to chat and enjoy the weather. I found myself applying sunscreen at one point. Our destination for the evening was the Loysburg Mobile Park and Campground, located just past the Yellow Creek Bridge. This really is an ideal spot, with nice flat ground for camping, plenty of big trees for our hammocks, and a bathroom with running water. What a luxury! (For planning purposes, the campground charges $20 per tent. You’ll need to carry cash.) We ate our dinner at the picnic benches, and feasted upon the cupcakes that Will had carried in lieu of his top quilt. (Not to worry: he had two underquilts.) I had a fairly nice night in my hammock, up until 4 a.m. when the wind picked up. Cuben fiber is rather noisy, and my tarp shook back and forth as the wind came through. Around 5:15 a.m., two stakes popped up. At that point, I figured I might as well start packing up. I gave the wake-up call at 6 a.m., and we were moving just after 7 a.m.
We started climbing, and again we had some nice miles along the open path. But, now it was time for the climb back up to the ridge, and finally for me to cover my missing MST miles. “To the ridge,” I declared as we turned into the woods. The trail promptly dipped a bit. So much for the dramatic entry. But, the trail quickly did start to climb, and to the ridge we arrived.
While our views were hampered by the clouds, the trail gave us much to look at. We scrambled up and over the rocks. Will took the lead, while I hovered near the back. We regrouped at the intersection with Blue Triangle. Will arrived first, followed by Paul and David. The rest trickled in over the next few hours. Once together, we gave the keys to the faster crew so they could start reversing the shuttle. We made our way down the mountain, to 26, and back to Everett. I walked along the road with Paul and Doug. The last two(-ish) miles went quickly, and we ran into Deb (and Jake!) as we entered Everett.
It was nice to end my MST journey in Everett. I have many fond memories of the trail in general, but a good number of them are from that town—from our feasts at the Union Hotel and OIP to our stays in Tenley Park. Everett came to embody, for me, much of what the MST and long-distance trips in general are about: taking us on a journey to places we might have never crossed and showing us sights (The rocks! Hidden streams! ) that many may not have seen. It certainly had its challenges, but it is an experience that I will carry with me.