Stony Creek Rail Trail, PA Backpacking Trip

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This backpacking trip took place the weekend of April 17-18, 2004. Participants were Charlie Johnson, Bill & Chris Isham, Frank Maida, John Geisler and me

Frank M and I were not sure if we would get to the eastern trailhead on time for this one. With construction on I81/78, the traffic was at a crawl. Then, we weren't sure if we could find the trailhead since I failed to do so a couple years ago when scouting out this trail. Thank goodness I gave out my cell phone number. Everyone was calling me saying, where are you, I'm lost or I missed a turn. Well, between the 5 of us, by the time we ended up finally getting together, shuttling the cars and meeting Charlie J at the western terminous, we were 2.5 hours late getting started for this hike.

Once we got started (around 11:30AM), the hike was like walking along a gravel driveway. A very long gravel driveway. We paralleled Stony Creek, which was often out of view. The leaves had not yet appeared on the trees here in central PA. So the sun was beading down on us. The temps would be in the mid 80's that day. A bit warm, but bearable. The scenary was OK, but not fantastic. There were a lot of springs poping up on either side of the trail. There were alot of boulders in the fields ajacent to the trail. There was the ocasional creek. And a lot of walking along the gravel driveway.

The hike was mostly level. Our goal was 16 miles and Rauch Gap, where we would either tent or stay at the shelter there. We talked alot about what we had been up to the last 7 months. What was neat was that, even though some of us would get over a mile in front of the others, the trail was so straight that you could still see that person way off in the distance. we saw a number of fishermen both on bikes and creekside as this was the first day of trout season.

We had lunch at the intersection with the Horseshoe Trail access trail. It was between here and the AT that some started having foot problems. Blisters. Between the late start and being slowed down by foot problems, we bearly made it to Rauch Gap and the AT by 8PM. It was fast getting dark. The shelter was full but we found a good campsite right near Rauch Creek. We quickly put up our tents and ate. Frank made one of his usual great campfires. Most of us retired early because this trail had dun whupped us!

The night was warm and peaceful, in the 50's. I slept well. We actually slept in Sunday morning. We were on the trail by between 9:30 and 10AM. Frank M and Charlie J took the AT down to John G's car so they could bring it to the eastern terminous and save some time.

So we had a 4 mile stroll along the gravel driveway again. All was going as planned when, in the distance, 2 familiar figures were coming towards us. It was Terri Moore and her black lab Gerti! Terri told me that she might join us for the hike. But we didn't know that she would show up AND bring us some trail magic. Terri said that she had some "goodies" for us. I figured maybe some drinks or some candy bars. No sir. She had brought us cold shrimp, veggie plates, fruit plates, sauces for all of the above, crackers, spread for the crackers, olives and cold drinks along with ice and cups, plates and utencils. This was a great surprise. It lifted our spirits after hiking 21 miles and getting alot of blisters. So we spent the final hour of this hike talking and chowing down. We finished most of the food. It was great. Thanks again, Terri, for the trail magic.

This was an OK hike. The length was a little long. The gravel path was a little rough on the feet. But there are enough side trails in this area, including the AT, such that one could devise any number of good circuit hikes either for a day or overnight. The fact that we were the recipients of trail magic on this hike probably raised it from an OK hike to a very good hike!

Mike C

More Pictures


Group picture before the hike
  Group picture before the hike.
  By Mike Calabrese
One of many springs along the trail.
  One of many springs along the trail.
  By Mike Calabrese

This is how the trail looked
  This is how the trail looked.
  By Mike Calabrese
Rattling Run near the half way point
  Rattling Run near the half way point.
  By Mike Calabrese
One of many boulder fields
   One of many boulder fields.
   By Mike Calabrese


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