Brook Kedron and Lost Lake Swamps

Hemlock forests along trail route

I returned to the Loyalsock State Forest to scout a route for the Endless Mountains Trail (EMT).  You couldn’t ask for a nicer day- warm and sunny.

I began at the Mead Road trailhead for the Loyalsock Trail and proceeded along the old Dushore Road, a grade through the woods.  It was a nice route.  It crossed a swath and went behind the new forestry buildings along US 220.  I followed another grade to the north and then left the grade, entering a hemlock grove and bog.  I kept on the south side, left the grove, and angled northwest through some hardwoods.  I soon returned to the hemlocks with some rather large trees.  I headed north, but was stopped by a spaghnum moss bog, so I headed a little west and crossed a small stream.  I continued northwest until I reached an old woods road, which soon reached one of the branches of Brook Kedron.   There were many different trails cut for seismic gas testing, some right across wetlands and creeks.

I’ve been told about Brook Kedron, and although the EMT will only follow a small part of it, I decided to explore all of the brook down to the old railroad grade that goes to the Haystacks and the Loyalsock Trail.  I’m glad I did, this is a stunning creek.

Falls on Brook Kedron

The EMT will not follow Brook Kedron down to the Loyalsock Trail because it is too far out of the way, however, a side trail is envisioned to connect the two trails, making a grand loop including the Haystacks.  What an amazing hike that would be.  There is an unofficial trail of sorts along Brook Kedron, on the east side of the creek, with some hatchet or saw marks on the trees.

I crossed Mead Road and continued down the brook.  It carved itself into these mini-gorges with many slides and cascades.  No falls were higher than 10 feet, but it was still incredibly beautiful.  Big rocks adorn the creek and some large trees grew overhead.  Despite the warm day, it was still cool along the brook.  The September floods left their mark on Brook Kedron, the brook left its banks and deposited debris 10-20 feet away from it.

I reached the culvert and old railroad grade after a steep series of cascades.  On the grade are the popular trails to the Haystacks.  People hike that grade without knowing the wonders of this brook.  There is a stone culvert under the grade, still in good shape, but the floods surely put the culvert to the test.  The workmanship is impressive.  It is possible to crawl through the culvert in low water.

I retraced my steps and followed the brook upstream, exploring some of the mini-gorges.

I reached Mead Road and headed southwest, back into more hemlocks, and I soon reached the large branch of Brook Kedron as I followed it to its headwaters.

The forest was deep, cool, and mysterious.  Moss covered the forest floor and logs, water seemed to be everywhere.  Springs surged from the earth, pooled, and joined Brook Kedron along carpets of bright green moss.

I reached the first bog, an area known as Lost Lake.  It was thought there was once a lake here.  Soon after was another bog from which Brook Kedron flowed.  It oozed along bright green moss.

Lost Lake swamps and headwaters of Brook Kedron

I decided to circumvent this bog to the southwest, that was a mistake.  I eventually reached the state forest boundary, but it crossed the swamp, so I had to fight through the brush on the bog, jumping from log to tussocks of vegetation.

I angled southeast and reached US 220 where the EMT will cross.  Reaching my goal, I headed back to the car.  I followed a large ditch the drained a swamp to the south.  I circumvented the same bogs and swamps through deep hemlock and moss forests with every shade of green.

I reached one of my waypoints and decided to check out another old woods road that was further north of the route on which I previously hiked.  It wasn’t a bad route, but my first route was nicer.

I returned to the old Dushore Road and reached the swath.  I went back to the Mead Road parking area along the west side of the swath, which is rockier but a little nicer for a trail since it is further from US 220.  I picked up an old trail and reached the parking area.

This will be an incredible route for the EMT, offering streams, bogs, swamps, and impressive forests of hemlocks and moss.  The diversity is impressive.  This route will also enable a longer, and far more scenic, hiking loop incorporating the Haystacks and beautiful Brook Kedron.

For more pictures of the hike, click here.

For a map of the Haystacks trails, which show the location of Brook Kedron, click here.

 

 

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