Black Forest Trail
6/27/98, ...
Section of the Black Forest Trail (which is 42.2 miles in length)
3Location:  Tiadaghton State Forest - Slate Run, PA
Length:  18 miles
Total trip elevation gain:  Approx. 1,000 ft.

Day 1
We arrived at the trailhead at 3:00pm and started out on the Ruth Will Ski Trail following it for .5 miles where it intersected the Black Forest Trail heading north. We followed the BFT for @ 8 miles. The first day was pretty uneventful. The trails were muddy and rocky. We had lots of downhills and very little elevation. The mountain laurel was in full bloom which made for spectacular foliage.  At one point as we were scampering around the ridge, the woods disappeared momentarily and opened into a clearing. 

What a magnificent vista! The clearing was so looked like a picture right out of the movie, "Heidi" with it's flowing hilly contours,  steep sloped trails, beautiful foliage, and plentiful mountain laurel. I started calling out, Grandfather... Grandfather...where are you?" And I expected Goat Peter to come charging down the hill any minute blowing his horn! Dave thought perhaps I was in the sun too long :^) 

We wanted to travel as far as we could the first day following the stream and camping right before the trail veered away from our water supply. We arrived at our campsite around 7:30pm.

It was a beautiful pine grove with very large boulders which made it nice to cook on. Due to the warm and humid day we opted to keep the fly off as we weren't expecting any rain and we hoped to see the stars. Due to the heavy pines it was difficult to see any sky but I knew it was up there :^)

Day 2
After a light breakfast and filling water bottles, we broke camp and headed out about 10:00am. We stayed on the BFT for @ 1 mile and then crossed Rt. 44 where the BFT intersected the Sentiero Di Shay Trail. Both trails continued together for @ 2 miles. We left the BFT right before it descended into the Pine Creek Valley and we continued on the Sentiero for @ 5 miles.

Along this stretch I decided we needed some excitement so I took a nose dive into the dirt.  What a funny feeling to have your house fall on you :^) Anyway, a little further down the trail we came upon a 4' black rattlesnake! Dave yelled to get back and as soon as I saw it, it started coming my way so I ran screaming back down the trail   =8^O   It was only trying to get off the trail and up the bank.  I could've sworn it was after ME :^) 

A few yards down the trail a white-tailed deer crossed our path...what a beautiful site! She was too quick for a photo op.

We then followed the George Will Ski Trail for about 2 miles back to our vehicle around 2:00pm.   We noticed quite a few cars at each trailhead, however, we only came across 2 hikers in all on the trails we were on.

We did follow a group of horse riders the first day and figured we were just minutes behind them.   The second day my pack aggravated an old back injury to the point we had to stop every 1.5 to 2 miles. I'm blaming it on the fall I took earlier in the day. Otherwise, this was a great combination of trails with very little elevation. I wouldn't mind doing it again some day.

My 2nd backpacking trip :^)

9/5 & 9/6/98, ...
Section of the Black Forest Trail (which is 42.2 miles in length)
The Black Forest Trail/Supply Trail
Location:  Tiadaghton State Forest - Slate Run, PA
Length:  13.5 miles

Day 1
We had planned to hike in on the Black Forest Trail about a mile, set up camp and head out on a nice day hike loop but by the time we got to the parking area it was already 2:00pm. At the last minute we decided to grab our daypacks (leave the backpacks in the car for now) and head out to do the loop we wanted to do. We noticed there were 15 cars at the Black Forest Trailhead and several cars at different connecting paths to the trail so we knew it would be a busy trail.

While putting on our packs we saw our first hikers coming at us, they looked very fresh at 8 miles in with only 34 miles left to go! The trail is a typical 3-day venture - some folks make it 4 while others try to do it in less.

We started our hike on Frances Road where the BFT crosses at the 8-mile mark from the trailhead. We slowly descended and came across several very nice campsites along Red Run.   We kept those in mind for a possible campsite for the night. We started a steep climb up a very bouldary slope. Here we passed another hiker who was planning to complete the hike in 3 days.  Once we reached the top of the climb we passed yet another hiker asking for info about the trail ahead of him.

Once we were on top it was very level for several miles except for one small descent to a vista and back up onto the plateau. (The vista was so breathtaking we had to stop for awhile to absorb it and decided this was a perfect spot for lunch.) We did come across another couple on this stretch and further down passed 3 couples (who looked like college kids).

About 7 miles in we started a steep descent of the mountain (passing several stone quarries - one looked like it had some good rock climbing) which took us into Slate Run and to the trailhead.  We signed the trail register here and continued up the trail along Slate Run to where the BFT crosses the Slate Run Road. Leaving the BFT here we continued up the road about a mile where we intersected the Old Supply Trail. We took this for about 1 mile which brought us back to our vehicle. As we were getting closer to our vehicle, we could hear laughter coming from the campsites we were considering for the night so now we had to scout out a new site.

It was 7:15pm when we reached our vehicle so we were on a mission to find water. We drove down the dirt road a ways and came across a little bride over a run. As we were scoping out how to scamper down the edges to reach the water some folks at a camp nearby hollered to us to use the spring by their camp. We thanked them and walked up to the spring, filtered the water and replenished our supply.

We stopped and checked out the map of different possibilities for a camp site. It was already getting dark and we didn't want to have to walk too far in that late at night. We picked the Ruth Will Trail which connects to the BFT. We walked in about a mile, found a very nice camp site with water (at the intersection of the BFT), pitched the tent in the dark, cooked dinner and fell asleep by 9:30. We had decided to just head back out the next day but after checking out the map, found that if we headed out at that point and did a 4 mile loop we would finish the northern chunk of the MST. We've been picking away at it in pieces by doing other trails that connect with the BFT.

Day 2
Leaving our campsite, the Ruth Will Trail stays with the BFT for about a 100 yds. or so. The BFT bares to the right at a Y and continues down a hollow. We followed this for about 2.5 miles and swung around the mountain and the BFT went up another drainage area up a steep slope.  Once on top we continued a moderate slope up to the intersection of Rt. 44. Turning left on Rt. 44 we then again intersected the Ruth Will Trail. We followed the trail for about .5 miles which brought us back to Rt. 44 again. We walked up the road for just a short distance which took us back to our vehicle.

It was a great weekend hike!

3/26 & 3/27/99, ...
Section of the Black Forest Trail (which is 42.2 miles in length)
The Black Forest Trail/Ruth Will Trail
Location:  Tiadaghton State Forest - Slate Run, PA
Length:  3.5 miles

This was my first winter-weather backpack trip! I've been wanting to experience winter camping but not in extreme conditions. Our daytime temps for the past few days were hovering in the 50's and the nighttime lows were around 20 so I thought this would be a good time to go for it! I didn't want to do a long trip not knowing how I would handle the conditions so we opted to do a short trail. There was about 8-10 inches of snow on the trail so we took the snowshoes just in case.

We arrived at our campsite about 8:00pm walking in by moonlight. We didn't need the headlamps because of the full moon.

We parked beside a couple cars that belonged to friends of ours who we knew would be out on the trail xc skiing in the moonlight.

While we were setting up camp, our friend Bill came skiing by and stopped for a spell - he was in search of the other group that was ahead of us.  He headed out to find them and we finished setting up camp.  About 30 min. later the whole gang showed up at camp so we yakked for a spell. What a gorgeous night.

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