The trail club is off to a good start for 2020, with at least nine of our trail crew members getting out on various sections. On Jan. 4-5, Mark and Denise Kelly did some brushing and clearing along the southern end of the Hogback Trail.
Jan. 6, Larry Holtzapple and Doug Wetherbee cleared some blowdowns on the West Branch crossover trail (this is a section we are still in need of a maintainer for).
Jan. 13 found Joe Allis clearing on the Patterson Ski Trail. On the same day, Wanda Shirk and Curt Weinhold did some clearing on the Ridge Trail, and put up the first of the Mile-Markers which will eventually cover the entire 85-mile loop. On the 14th, Wayne Baumann and I cleared a large blowdown from the White Line Trail section north of the Lyman Run Road.
After our work on the White Line Trail, Wayne and I met with Wanda Shirk and cleared no less than 16 blowdowns off the Ridge Trail from the Thompson Road end. Also on the 14th, Joe Allis cleared the Cherry Springs Interpretive Trail.
Jan. 16, Larry Holtzapple and Doug Wetherbee spent some long hours on a blustery winter day clearing a batch of blowdowns from the Log Grade Trail, from the new kiosk on Rt. 44 to the STS in Hogback Hollow.
And to wrap it up, on Jan. 21, Joe Allis groomed the ski trail in the Cherry Springs area. There’s just no sitting still for some of our trail crew members — we’re now putting in trail time pretty much year around. And it adds up — in 2019 we amassed 1,805 hours, only behind the North Country Trail Association and the KTA.
The Ridge Trail is the first section of the STS, running from near DCNR on Denton Hill, to the Thompson Hollow Road, about 2.8 miles, and needs to be kept cleared as it is a favorite run for cross-country skiers. There are several other ski trails in the same area, which can be found on a map available at DCNR headquarters.
The White Line Trail, heading south from Lyman Run Road would be a nice run, until it breaks sharply in the Splashdam Hollow. At that point you’ll find some haul roads which also make for good skiing, provided they’re not being used by log trucks.
If you would like a longer ski run, you could access the West Branch crossover trail from Sunken Branch Road. When you come to the haul road, turn left and follow it for a short distance, where you’ll find a woods road branching off to the right, which will take you down to the West Branch stream, where you’ll be back on the STS.
Follow this to the junction with the WBT, go left to join that trail — make a careful stream crossing, then follow an old woods road. When you come to the ATV Trail, follow it around a curve to the left and get back on the WBT.
From here on down to the West Branch Road it’s a nice run, with exception of a couple of spots where you’ll want to remove your skiis for safety reasons. It’s a beautiful valley, so if you’re up to it, don’t go alone and go prepared, and allow plenty of time. You’ll be covering around 6-7 miles.
You could also access this from Patterson Park, going north on the STS — you’ll no doubt have to hike down the steepest part, but after that it’s nice going down to the WBT junction. This would make it about 6.5 miles. Happy trails.