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Elevation Profile of Trail

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Trailhead:  N 40° 45.79'
W 77° 45.11'
Total Elevation:  554'
Trail Length:  2.5 miles
Hike Time:  1.5 hours
Hike Type:  Loop
Difficulty Rating:  35
Near:  Off route US322 near Bolasburg, PA.
Note regarding hike time and elevation traversed.  

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Trip Report and Photos

In December of 2005, I borrowed a pair of snow shoes from a friend. After my first outing, I was hooked. Of course I had to get my own pair of snow shoes, so I got online and placed my order. Shipping was to take 3 to 5 days, and as I impatiently waited for my package to arrive, the snow outside slowly melted. I continued to wait and the snow continued to melt. Six days later my snow shoes arrived with only piles of snow remaining along the edges of driveways and parking lots where it had been piled high only a week before. But that was OK because I now had my show shoes and I was ready for the next snowfall to do another snow shoeing adventure.

Turn the clock ahead to February 2007. It had been 14 months since I purchased my snow shoes and not a decent amount of snow had fallen to the ground during the entire time. But my luck changed the week of Valentines Day. We had a measurable amount of snow with over 8 inches on the ground in the valleys. I was sure it would be deeper on the wind blown sides of the mountains.

°F | °C
Rothrock State Forest
Mostly Cloudy
Humidity: 69%
14 mph
45 | 72
Rain And Snow
32 | 43

Not wanting to miss this opportunity and have to wait until Winter of 2008, I took a day off work to head out and do some more snow shoeing. This would be my second try at snow shoeing and I was anxious to get onto the trail. And not only that, but I would get to use my brand new snow shoes for the first time.

The trailhead for this hike is located about a quarter mile past the parking area for access to the Rothrock State Forest in Galbraith Gap. I wasn't sure where I was going to hike and after continuing back Bear Meadows Road I found it to be deep with snow. If you would like to do this hike, then I would suggest parking at the parking area. This is located about 0.5 mile beyond the Tussey Mountain Family Fun Center on Bear Meadows Road. To reach the trailhead you will need to get on route US322. Traveling east, you will see Bear Meadows Road on your right, just after passing Boalsburg. The four lane highway will reduce to two lanes with Bear Meadows Road being 0.65miles beyond this point, on your right. If you are heading east, you will see Bear Meadows Road on your left, directly across from the Elks County Club and golf course. Once you get on Bear Meadows Road, drive for 1 mile. You will see a stone road as well as a sign to your left. Pull back onto this road and continue back to the second parking area. The trailhead is just across the bridge on the other side of the paved road.

As I mentioned, I started this hike at the intersections of Bear Meadows Road and Old Laurel Run Road, about 0.25 miles past the parking area. It was the morning after the snow and I was surprised to see how much traffic was out-and-about in the woods. After parking the car I put on my pack and snow shoes. It didn't take long to put on my shoes, but in that short period of time my hands became numb. The winds were blowing and with the cold temperatures (in the teens), the wind chills were forecasted to be 10 to 20 degrees below zero. It definitely felt like it was that cold.

Decided to park the car here as the road was less traveled and deep with snow.
Decided to park the car here as the road was less traveled and deep with snow.

Decided to park the car here as the road was less traveled and deep with snow.
Pausing after my initial, small ascent at the intersection of Lonberger and Spruce Gap trails. As you can see, there were already cross country skiers out-and-about.
On the Lonberger Path, looking back the way I came.
Galbraith Gap Run, partially frozen over, and covered in snow.
Trekking down Bear Meadows Road. Travel was difficult with a lot of the snow being packed by four wheelers and snow mobilers.

Because of the extreme cold, this was to be a short hike. Once I started my ascent, after crossing over Galbraith Gap Run, the winds weren't as noticeable. I climbed up to Lonberger Path and saw the tracks of a cross country skier. Not wanting to mess up their tracks, I tried to stay to one side or the other of the path.

Upon reaching the intersection of Lonberger and Spruce Gap Trails, I continued down Lonberger. The winds were very noticeable here and my exposed skin was getting very cold.

Snow shoeing was a lot more strenuous then I had remembered. Except for my exposed skin, I was very warm, and at times working up a good sweat. I continued down Lonberger Path for about a mile from the trailhead. The trail passed between two deer exclosures as they had just recently logged this area.

After a mile of snow shoeing in the bitter cold I decided to start heading back to the car. My face was very cold and I was concerned of getting frost bite on my ears or nose. I should have worn a face mask of some sort, but I didn't think the winds would be this strong and that it would be this cold.

The nice thing about snow shoeing is that you aren't restricted to the trails. Compared to bush whacking in the summer, where you have to cut your way through underbrush or look for animals trails, with snow shoes and deep snow, you walk over top of the brush. This is what I did as I descended from the trail towards Bear Meadows Road.

About 1.2 miles into my hike I crossed Galbraith Gap Run at a leased camp, and walked Bear Meadows Road back to my car. Once I got to the car, the wind seemed to have calmed down quite a bit, so I decided to continue down Lonberger Path along Galbraith Gap Run. It was only an additional 0.4 miles, but I always like this section of the trail as it makes it way through the narrowest part of Galbraith Gap. Once I reached the end of the trail, I hiked back along Bear Meadows Road back to the car and called it a day.

I would have like to have done more snow shoeing, but I was happy to be able to get out and do what little I did. It is hard to hike in the winter and when an opportunity like this recent snowfall presents itself, I like to take advantage of it. With winter coming to an end, and spring just around the corner, it looks like I won't get a chance to use the snow shoes any more this season. But who knows, maybe a mid March blizzard will come our way and I'll get yet another chance to put on my snow shoes and do a winter trek on the trails of Central Pennsylvania.

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