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Moshannon Group News
Pennsylvania Chapter of the Sierra Clubserving Bedford, Blair, Cameron, Centre, Clearfield, Elk, Huntingdon, Jefferson, Juniata, McKean, and Mifflin counties
|Explore, Enjoy, and Protect the Planet|
by Helena Kotala
I first heard about Mount Logan Natural Area last fall from a fellow hiker, and I only recently had the time to investigate this little-known wilderness near Lock Haven.
On Memorial Day weekend, I made the trip up there for a weekend of backpacking and exploring. The road heading up Bald Eagle Mountain toward the natural area is quite bumpy and rocky, so I recommend using a four-wheel-drive vehicle. After parking in a small field on the left-hand side of the dirt road (called Kammerdiner Trail), we donned our packs and began walking the rest of the way up the road toward the trail that would take us to the top of the mountain.
It was a hot, sunny day, and we began sweating almost immediately. Soon, we spotted the blue blazes of the Winchester Trail on our right, and turned onto it. The trail became steep and rocky quickly, but the blooming mountain laurel and songs of birds were enough to keep my mind off the discomfort of exertion. About halfway up the mountain, the trail turned into pure rock. I had been warned about the high probability of seeing timber rattlesnakes, so I proceeded with caution and closely observed where I was placing my feet. Surprisingly, we did not see one single snake on the trip, even though Mount Logan Natural Area has been declared an amphibian and reptile protection area, as are all state forest natural areas.
After about an hour and a half of vigorous hiking, we finally made it to the top of the mountain.
The talus slope of Tuscarora quartzite was an impressive site, and we stopped for lunch at the top of the slope on some large, flat rocks. From the top of the mountain, you can either hike east or west along the ridgeline. Hiking east will take you to the actual Natural Area and the old growth hemlocks. When I was there, I did not actually find the old growth, but from reading in “Natural Pennsylvania,” by Charles Fergus, I found out that I probably did not hike far enough east. You are supposed to hike about 200 yards east along the ridge-top, and then hike about 100 yards north down the other side of the mountain. There isn’t a trail, so you will have to do some easy bushwhacking to get to the old growth stand.
The other option is to hike west along the ridge, following a trail that eventually fizzles out within about 100 yards. However, it is fairly easy to just walk through the woods along the ridgeline, and you may even get lucky and see a black vulture. We saw one which was apparently nesting in the talus slope, and it kept circling around us until we left its nesting area.
The area offers plenty of opportunities to explore as much as you would like, as Mt. Logan Natural Area is 512 acres surrounded by countless more acres of State Forest land.
If you’re feeling less adventurous or have a time crunch, you can always stop at the top of the mountain and turn right around and head back down, which still is a great day hike.
Helena Kotala is a student at Penn State University and the Outings Co-Chair for the Moshannon Group of the Sierra Club.