Terrace Mountain Trail, PA Camp and Hike

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This camp and hike occured the weekend of May 18-20, 2007. Participants were Charlie Johnson, Bill Isham, Chris Isham and their grand daughter Madelyn.

Friday, May 18th, 2007- Left Herndon, VA at around 2:00 PM and arrived at Trough Creek State Park, PA around 5:00 PM. Made good time. The weather while en route was alternating clouds, sun, showers. So I wasn't sure how this hike was going to turn out. The only unusual thing that happened on the way there was that I was driving down a country road in MD and came across a herd of about 50 goats that had broken out of their field and were casually walking along MD615 eating the tall grass at the edges of the road. I had to drive through this herd and avoid hitting them. Since my car is red, I was worried about them charging me as some of the goats had a pretty good set of horns. Anyway, I got through this predicament and arrived at the campsite around 5ish. I immediately put up the tent and started making a meal in case it started raining and I was forced into the tent. It didn't. In fact, it didn't rain until Sunday morning around 4:30 AM.

Bill and Chris I, along with their grand daughter Madelyn, arrived around 6ish. Then, Charlie J arrived around 7ish. That evening we sat around the campfire shooting the breeze and were entertained by a mouse coming right up to a log that was on end near the camp fire that would steel peanuts that we would place there for him.

Saturday, May 19, 2007- The previous evening I had discussed doing this 12.6 mile day hike from north to south instead of south to north. My reason was that I thought that we had a big up at the southern trailhead. I was wrong about that but it would later turn out to be a very good thing that we decided to hike the trail this way. We set out to hike miles 12 to 0 along the Terrace Mountain Trail from Trough Creek State Park to Weaver Bridge. When you added the distance from the campground to the Terrace Mountain Trail, it bumped the distance another half mile to 13.2 .

By the time we shuttled a car and got to the trail intersection, it was about 10:00 AM. Here's where the fun started. Immediately after we got on the trail the first quarter mile was good. However, as soon as we got off of Old Forge Road and onto real trail, we encountered numerous blowdowns. The next mile was the worst. We had about 20 blowdowns along this stretch and this pattern would continue for the next 5.5 miles. The trail would occasionally ascend to the top of the mountain on the east side of Raystown Lake, then descend almost to the water's edge, then hug the halfway point between the lake and the top of the mountain. We could not see much of the lake due to the tree canopy.

The blowdowns continued to be a problem. This part of the trail did not appear to be hiked or maintained very often. We were even worried at the beginning if we were even on the TMT. We made very poor time, stopping for lunch at the 4 mile mark at 12 noon, and didn't get to the 6 mile mark until close to 2:00 PM. Besides the blowndowns, the treadway was bad and even non-existant on some of this trail. There were times when we would be walking through the forest between faint blue (that were once orange) blazes and seeing no trail.

We were beat when we reached PA994 and the 6 mile mark. We discussed the possibility of hiking PA994 back to the park campground as the sky was looking threatening. But we decided to trudge on. Around mile 7.5, the trail came to and then followed an old logging road. We would end up being on this road for the rest of the hike. We were grateful that the rocky, crappy, blowdown infested trail was now behind us. The old logging road was very nice to hike on.

The rest of the hike would see us hiking for awhile, then taking a break, then hiking some more. Water was a problem on this hike. There were times when we got close to the lake and could draw water there. But no one had a water filter. While on the old logging road, we came across some decent springs. But that was only along the last 2 to 3 miles of the hike. During this stretch we saw 2 deer, 2 turkey and a few toads. We finally finished up around 6PM. We then went back to the campsite where we ate, watched the camp fire for awhile, then retired. We decided that night that since the majority of what we hiked yesterday was in such poor condition, that we would not do a planned 6 mile segment of the Terrace Mountain Trail between Trough Creek State Park and John Bum RD on Sunday.

Sunday, May 20, 2007- It was a clear weekend until Sunday morning at about 4:30AM. Then the rains came. It dumped until about 8AM that morning and again went into this clouds, rain, sun pattern. This pretty much put an end to our camping weekend.

So we said our goodbyes and headed off. Charlie and I ate at a nice local restaurant just north of Everett, PA on PA26. Very good breakfast. Then we went home.

Some thoughts on this hike. First off, I would like to commend Bill and Chris's grand daughter Madelyn. She was a real trooper doing a 13 mile hike at her young age. She's a inspiration to all of us. Also, Trough Creek State Park was a great place to spend the weekend and the campground was excellent. As far as the hike went, it would have been a great hike if the blowdowns were not there. It would have been a disasterous hike if the road walking at the end was not there. So this hike ends up being an OK hike. I did send emails to the Army Corps of Engineers, Rothrock State Forest, Trough Creek State Park as well as the Keystone Trails Association reporting the conditions that we encountered. I suggested that the KTA have one of their 'Trail Care' events along this stretch of trail. I even volunteered my services to help them. I hope that I receive an answer to my emails as well as a request for some help to get this trail in shape. So, in my opinion, the Terrace Mountain Trail is an OK hike. However, with some maintenance, it could again be a great hike.

Mike C

More Pictures

I did receive an answer to my email from one of the government agencies that I wrote to acknowledging issues on the Terrace Mountain Trail and asking me to come out and volunteer to work on it. However, since it would be a three plus hour drive each way to do so I decided against it.
Our weekend base camp
  Our weekend base camp.
  By Mike Calabrese
Crossing Trough Creek, PA
  Crossing Trough Creek, PA.
  By Mike Calabrese

Madelyn at 5.2 mile mark
  Madelyn at 5.2 mile mark.
  By Mike Calabrese
Bridge at 5.5 mile mark
  Bridge at 5.5 mile mark.
  By Mike Calabrese
Charlie's tent-site 18
  Charlie's tent-site 18.
  By Mike Calabrese
View of Raystown Lake, PA
  View of Raystown Lake, PA.
  By Charlie Johnson
Another view of Raystown Lake, PA
  Another view of Raystown Lake, PA.
  By Charlie Johnson
Sign at 10.2 mile mark
  Sign at 10.2 mile mark.
  By Charlie Johnson



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