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2016-08-28  
AT Fort Indiantown Gap, PA
mini location map2016-08-28
12 by photographer avatarNightstalker
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AT Fort Indiantown Gap, PA 
AT Fort Indiantown Gap, PA
 
Hiking avatar Aug 28 2016
Nightstalker
Hiking13.10 Miles 1,756 AEG
Hiking13.10 Miles   7 Hrs   3 Mns   2.29 mph
1,756 ft AEG   1 Hour   20 Mns Break6 LBS Pack
 
1st trip
Linked none no linked trail guides
Partners none no partners
I was back in PA for my 30 year class reunion and jumped on the opportunity to join my hiking buddy on an excellent loop through coal mining history and a stint on the Appalachian trail. We parked on the top of the ridgeline just outside of the Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation on Hotel Road. We headed north on the high clearance road down the steep incline to the official parking area/trail head. My AT aficionado buddy had a detailed topo map of the area with our planned loop. We searched, unsuccessfully, for the orange blazed trail that passes through the ruins of the Cold Springs Hotel. We couldn't find the trail, but we did stumble upon the ruins. After investigating the site, we spotted orange trail and followed it west. The trail alternated between well marked and easy to follow to completely missing. Bushwacking in the general direction, we found the orange blazes and trail again. This repeated a couple of times until we grew tired of trail searching and jumped on the rails-to-trail that runs parallel to the orange trail. We continued west to the Yellow Springs trail (blue blazes) and turned north, straight up Sharp Mountain. The blue blazes are abundant and the trail starts by wading through a field of ferns. The trail follows a drainage and then becomes an old, elevated, rail line for transporting coal down the mountain to the rail line at the bottom. The blue blaze trail continues to ridgeline (crossing the AT along the way) and then turns east (the raised rail line continues down the north slope of Sharp Mountain). Following the blue blazes takes you past a three story tall Stone Tower (as described on the map) and eventually ends at the intersection of the AT and a mailbox marking the spot of the former coal mining town of Yellow Springs. We were fortunate enough to find some AT through hikers taking a break at the mailbox and after a little chatting, continued east on the AT until reaching the intersection for "The General". We attempted to reach "The General" in March from the other direction, but found the trail flooded out from snow melt. Water crossings were not a problem on this day and we were easily able to ford. The spur trail ends at the old steam shovel, which is in no-mans-land in the middle of the woods. From the General, we returned to the AT and continued east to Cold Springs trail. Cold Springs trail heads south and returns you directly to the trailhead.
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