Sunday promised crystal clear skies and not-too-cold temperatures. Naturally, it was time to go hiking.
I decided to check out the southern Loyalsock State Forest, where I haven’t spent much time. We parked off of Dunwoody Road with the goal to reach Falls Trail as indicated on the most recent Loyalsock State Forest map.
We hiked up side-hill on the southern exposure of the mountain, where there was no snow. The sun was incredibly bright and I soon became too warm. We reached the top to encounter snow along a deep spruce forest. The trail passed old fields; the snow resonated with blistering sunlight.
The trail descended to Hessler Branch. The scenery was superb. Deep hemlock forests covered the glen, with some large white pine. The hemlocks were healthy, deep and green. The clear stream babbled through the forest. We climbed out of the stream valley through mountain laurel and more pine. The snow became soft in the bright sun; our feet sunk into it.
The descent to Grandad Run featured a deeper and darker hemlock forest and another pristine stream. A beautiful spot. A side trail descended the valley. The forests were gorgeous and diverse.
In typical fashion, we hiked over another ridge with more laurel, and teaberry. The Loyalsock Trail turned left; the Little Grandad Run Trail went right. We proceeded straight over another rolling ridge followed by a steady descent. The trail passed a massive oak tree. The trail turned right at the bottom of a small drainage, and proceeded down Falls Run; this was the Falls Trail. We took another break. The forest was still and serene as we warmed ourselves in the sunshine. While the ground was white, the forests were layers of green with laurel, pine, and hemlock.
The Falls Trail was enjoyable as it descended a secluded glen with more hemlock and meandering bear tracks. The small creek had cascades and a nice campsite, but no waterfalls. We reached private property; maybe the supposed waterfalls were further down the creek.
We hiked out to Dunwoody Road, passing a spring tumbling into a barrel, covered in moss. The road soon brought us back to the car, completing a nice hike in this corner of the state forest.