Some folks may be wondering where the term “hogback” came from. Well, from what I’ve heard — and this makes sense — it comes from the wild hogs of some of our southern states (and lately more of our northern states).
The hogs are sometimes referred to as “razorbacks,” as they are quite long and lean, and their back comes to a rather thin ridge. Thus I suppose that, when our early map-makers and pioneers came to a narrow ridge, they naturally called it a hogback.
In our local case on Route 44 south, they carved a notch through it for the railroad, then put a highway bridge across that notch. With the abandonment of the railroad, they removed the bridge and filled in the notch. This eliminates a lot of bridge maintenance, I suppose, but demonstrates how we lose bits and pieces of our history. Thankfully, there are pictures.
One can stand at Water Tank Vista and look to the north down Water Tank Hollow, where once a watering station for the trains stood, and to the south into Hogback Hollow, where the STS now runs.
This segment of the trail begins at Route 44 (Mile 13.5) near the Cherry Springs fire tower, and runs the length of this hollow to Short Run Road. The first short stretch, from the tower down to the railroad grade, is named for Veryl Scheibner, an early proponent of the trail.
At the grade, you will pass Cherry Springs Hunt Club, a rather unique building made of a sort of ceramic-coated blocks. Straight across the old grade, the trail drops steeply at first into the valley. It then is a fairly level hike all the way to Short Run Road, with only a few variations along the way.
Before leaving the grade, you should note that this is also the beginning (eastern end) of the East Fork Connector Trail, which runs for about 8.3 miles to connect with the northbound side of the STS loop at Hockney Hollow Trail. Using this connector, one can make about a 33-mile loop hike from Mile-0 at Denton Hill.
Heading on down Hogback Trail, you come to a segment of Log Grade Trail on your left. This will take you back up to Water Tank Vista. Down about a quarter-mile, you come to the other leg of Log Grade Trail; this will take you up to Mt Brodhead on Route 44.
A couple of miles down, the STS crosses the Hogback Hollow stream on a log bridge. Then in about another mile, it crosses Bolich Run on another log bridge. Beavers are usually active in this valley, so you’ll pass some beaver ponds and dams along the way.
From the Bolich crossing, the trail follows old woods roads on down to Short Run Road (Mile 19.1), making this about a 5.6-mile stretch.
Our trail club monthly meetings are still on hold at this time, as we await any new CDC guidelines. Our main concern is the safety and health of our members and, of course, every person.
We feel that the safest place to avoid this virus threat is out on the trails, if you are seeking an activity to get you through these troubling times.