Smokey the Letterbox LbNA # 21549
|Placed Date||Apr 15 2006|
|Location||Slate Run, PA|
Location: Black Forest Trail
Description: This is a hike along a beautiful trail located near Slate Run in the region of the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon. Mountain Laurels are in full bloom in this area during the early part of June, so I recommend taking this hike during that time of year. They can be truly breathtaking, I mean it. The portion of the trail that is this hike is only a small part of the larger loop trail for which you can get maps from Pine Creek Outfitters or the Tiadaghton Forest Fire Fighters Association.
Difficulty: Very difficult. The first mile is almost straight uphill and involves switchbacks. Including the travel time, this may be a full day trip. Hike on its own would be approximately three hours round trip.
Directions: Get to Slate Run, PA. The small town lies along route 414 in northwestern Lycoming County. For those coming from New York State, I recommend taking route 15 South and then turning onto 414 west in Liberty. Continue through Morris, keeping on 414 until you get to Slate Run. Once in Slate Run, take a right turn to go over the bridge. Once over the bridge, go right past the Hotel Manor and continue on this road until you pass the sign on your right marking the Black Forest Trail. Keep going until you reach a horseshoe jog in the road as it deals with a stream coming down from the hill. There are parking areas on either side of this curve, pick one and get ready to climb.
Follow the orange blazes.
Downhill won't fly, you must climb for the sky.
On the trail upward the switchbacks won't fail to test your breath and endurance,
This trail climbs what I call Rattlesnake Spine,
The beautiful vistas are perfect for a breather, but they're also ideal sunning spots for Rattlers. I've actually heard a rattle here before, so please heed the warning and look where you're stepping.
The switchbacks are done, but your work is not.
Enjoy the view from pine on the spine, catch your breath and continue on.
Finally you'll reach the top of the slope,
Here you'll find one third of your reward,
the mountail laurel in full bloom if you're hiking on time.
Continue through the forest always on the orange until you reach another lookout,
Enjoy the log bench and the lack of snakes,
But you must forge on.
You'll pass the inverse Y in the trail marking the way the old black forest trail used to pass,
In time you'll see a cabin and a pond.
This is Foster Hollow Camp.
There are some lovely camping spots around the area if you feel like making a night of it.
But for now it's the water you seek,
The pond is the second of your rewards,
The water clear and cold dip your head at least.
Follow the gurgles and seek the creek,
Continue down stream into the magical glade.
Soon you will find two fallen brothers on either side of the trail,
From them six blazes you'll pass.
Now Look for the four white sisters from a single mother to the right of the trail,
Stand at their feet and bust out the compass.
See the conifers at 190,
Take forty paces to their heart.
But wait there's another at 231,
Leg out 14 paces to reach this mark.
Finally, on a bearing of 156 walk 41 paces and look to your feet.
Next to Gandalf the Grey's staff lies a rock with the last prize in its cellar.