My exploration of SGL 57 continued as my focus turned to an area south of Mythical Falls. Google satellite showed an area of extensive meadows that caught my eye. So, on a brilliant blue winter day, I made my return. This journey explores a similar area described in Hike No. 15 of Hiking the Endless Mountains.
Powdery snow draped the high plateaus, but with only a few inches, snowshoes were not necessary. We walked down a slick game commission road past Wild Fowl Pond and then veered left on another forest road that ended at beautiful Creveling Pond. This pond was surrounded by bare trees and thick blueberry thickets, covered with ice and patches of wind blown snow.
The morning began brisk, but soon began to warm. The original plan was to head north along Bellas Brook and then proceed south across the plateau to Creveling Pond. Since we stopped at the pond first, we decided to hike in reverse.
We began to head north. The thick blueberry bushes receded in the forest as snow covered the rocks. Small boulder fields dotted the terrain; the jumbled boulders were difficult to traverse with snow covering them. We followed a gradual ridge and then descended into a small valley featuring a rock ledge and a huge boulder, creating a crevice or cave. Icicles descended from the rock. We fought through the brush in the crevices and reached the top.
We continued north and it soon became clear that the “meadows” I was searching for were meadows of impenetrable blueberry bushes. We stayed in the forest, following ledges and passing a couple of rounded boulders that seemed out of place. We ate lunch at another ledge and boulder area. The forest was filled with life, and the snow unmasked the footprints of coyotes, snowshoe hares, and deer. Much of the forest was hardwoods, with the occasional spruce or hemlock.
Our hike soon brought us to a spaghnum moss bog that we forded and we continued onto a series of small rock balds and spruce forests. This brought us to the edge of the plateau, with large ledges, cliffs, and boulders. The Mehoopany Creek roared far below.
A descent brought us to this beautiful creek, and almost directly to Mythical Falls. The falls are named because they are isolated and hard to find, so you may begin to doubt their existence. Columns of icicles surrounded the cascade. We decided to change our plans and hike upstream along the creek to Splashdam Pond, saving Bellas Brook for another hike.
The falls were beautiful in its winter splendor. We continued up the creek, passing smaller cascades and deep pools with frozen foam lilypads that would circle in the eddies.
It soon became clear the highlight of this hike was the Mehoopany Creek as it tumbled over ledges and waterslides, framed by deep spruce forests and ice slicked ledges. Its amber water slid over exposed bedrock as the outlet of Lake John tumbled over its own waterfall. It felt like a place far removed, hidden by the forest. We left the creek for a short detour where we explored some cliffs and ledges, offering some views across the valley and the spruce forests in the distance. We descended back to the creek.
Just ahead was a deep swimming hole, the dark amber water absorbed the winter’s light as a deep spruce forest stood guard. A gradual stairstep waterslide fed the pool. It was a stunning place. I promised myself that I would return.
We finally began to near Splashdam Pond when we noticed we had not been alone. Fresh bear tracks preceded our own. I was surprised it had not been hibernating.
Splashdam Pond is a beautiful place. We hiked along an old logging path that treveled the length of the pond, its surface frozen and unbroken, except for a beaver lodge. The sun began to set as the shadows of trees grew longer. The trail became more interesting as it followed the Mehoopany Creek once again under thick hemlock, passing the remains of an old railroad bridge, and the stone walls of some old building. We reached PA 487 and walked the short distance back to our cars, bringing an end to a perfect, and exhausting, day in these isolated forests that have guarded their secrets with isolation and the passing of time.