3 Friends & John P. Saylor Trail

A 3 day backpacking trip to Gallitzin State Forest in Pennsylvania. The weather started out sunny on day one, day two provided a nice cloud cover, day three, well it also provided cloud cover along with rain. Not even the rain could drive away the beauty of the trail, or the experience. Oh-No, Sweetbabyd, & myself thought the John P. Saylor trail was fantastic. It provided many things to see and enjoy. Plus it makes a backpacking trip much more enjoyable with good friends.

We started our trip close to the Babcock Picnic area. Day 1 provided sunny skies and warm temps, although the night would have temps drop. We made our way along the trail to the intersection of the small 5 mile loop and the main JPS loop. We found the swinging bridge which crosses Clear Shade Creek and had to cross it. After playing on the bridge a little we found a beautiful camp site near the creek in a piney section and setup camp. After setting up camp and getting a fire started we sat around enjoying each others company, stories, & gear talk. Before darkness fell, a family 6, 8, heck, I can’t remember, well they decided to setup camp across the creek on a small island directly from us. I do know, as Oh-No put it, they reminded us of a colony of ants. All working together crossing the creek many times gathering wood. Even tried to gather up some wood we where using. It was a little disturbing, but they did hit the one tent at a decent hour and made little noise. Which was also a little strange, If I am counting correctly they had 3 males, 3 females. I would assume a Father, Mother, 2 Daughters, & 2 Sons. We did find out they did not believe in the LNT philosophy, they left there toiletry paper right along the trail.  Anyway, onto day 2.

Day 2 we rise with the ant colony still in the tent. We made some breakfast, a small fire, and enjoyed the morning. A little later the ants start scampering out of there mound. It’s now time for us to pack up and hit the trail. The morning provided some cloud cover, this did not change throughout the day. We started across the swinging bridge and hiked the small 5 mile loop coming once again to the swinging bridge. Once across we continued on the main JPS trail loop. As the day grew shorter we had to find a camp spot, luckily the area has plenty to choose from and we found a very nice spot next to a small stream under some pines. As we settled into are routine of setting up camp, getting a fire going, cooking dinners, and enjoying conversation, it started to sprinkle rain. We had the fire just at the edge of a nice thick pine. We sat relatively dry under it as we enjoyed the evening. As the rain picked up, it was time to hit the hammocks and dream away the night.

Day 3, the last day, rain. The day started with light rain & fog. It was kind enough to slack off for us to have breakfast and break camp. Me, not trusting the weather forecast decided to not carry the weight of rain gear, I should have trusted the forecast. But one of the great things about being out in the middle of the woods with everything you have is that you have to adapt. I had a piece of Tyvek home wrap I use as a ground cloth, sure enough, if you cut a slit in it just big enough to slip your head through, it provides a make shift rain cape. Hey it worked. After packing up we hit the trail. I love hiking in the rain, everything just looks so clean, smells so clean. After hiking a distance we come upon Wolf Rocks, what a great place. This is the part of hiking in the rain I don’t like sometimes, visibility. I’m sure the scenic view from atop the rocks would have been amazing, but fog was thick, and the rocks was slick, so no grand view for our final day. It’s still all great. After finally reaching the picnic area again and our rides home we changed out some wet clothes for dryer ones, took our final farewell pic of the trip, and headed to a dry place to have lunch. The end.

So much more I could talk about and show, but some things you just have to experience yourself. Those are the experiences that stay in the memory for us to remember the rest of our lives. When you have great friends, you end up with a great trip. I wish some of our other friends could have made this trip with us, you where missed, and you missed a great trip. Yeah, rubbing it in a little I guess. 🙂

Enjoy the video.


3 Friends & John P. Saylor Trail

Pack contents for this hike. Items marked with a (*) is not included in pack weight. These are items I either have in hand or on my person.


  • ULA Circuit backpack – 36oz.
  • *Trekking Poles – Black Diamond Trail Ergo Cork (pair) – 18oz.
  • *Keen Voyageur mid boots (pari) – 32oz.
Total for gear – 36 oz (2.25lbs)

Sleep & Weather

  • D.I.Y. Knotty Stretch Side Hammock, 1.1oz ripstop w/dynaglide whoopies, zing-it SRL and stuff sack – 8.8 oz.
  • 2 Dutch Buckles & Straps – 3 oz.
  • ZPacks 4 season CF Hammock tarp w/all tie outs, 2 Dutch Flyz, & Mountain Goat Tarp Skins – 9.2 oz.
  • Mountainfitter (Lawson) Ti Stakes (6) – 1.5 oz.
  • MSR Groundhog Stakes (4) – 2.4 oz.
  • Hammock Gear Long Winter Burrow w/+3oz. of added down – 32.4 oz.
  • Warbonnet Winter Yeti w/+2oz. of added down – 19.3 oz.
  • Cocoon Ultralight Air Core Pillow – 3.7 oz.
  • CAMP Nano Biner (2) – .32 oz.
  • Cut Thermarest Pad – 3.9 oz.
Total for Sleep & Weather – 84.52 oz. (5.28lbs)


  • Top insulation, Cabela’s E.C.W.C.S. Thermal Zone Polar Tech Power Dry 1/4 zip mock. – 11.2 oz.
  • Bottom insulation, Under Armor Cold Gear base 3.0 – 9.2 oz.
  • Socks, Smartwool Expedition Trekking – 6 oz.
  • Additional Socks, REI Merino Wool Light Hiker II – 1.8oz
  • Black Rock Gear Down Hat – 0.95 oz.
  • Serius Balaclava – 1.2 oz.
  • The North Face Glove Liner – 2.5 oz.
  • Blaze Orange Hunting Vest (it was hung over my pack, weight I do not know yet)
  • *Blaze Orange beanie (wore this on my head the entire time, weight? It was light though)
  • *REI Revelcloud synthetic jacket (M)- 12 oz.
  • *Socks, REI Merino Wool Light Hiker II – 1.8 oz.
  • *DIY Wrist Gauntlets – 1.0 oz.
  • *Under Armor Boxer Brief – 3.8 oz.
  • *The North Face Paramount Peak Convertble Pants – 18.9 oz.
Total Clothing – 32.85 oz. (2.05 lbs)


  • Snow Peak 900 Pot, Lid, Cozy, Windscreen, Bushbuddy Ultra, Bandana, Fire starting, & sack. – 13.1 oz.
  • REI TiWare Long Spoon – 0.6oz.
  • Reflectix food cozy bag – 1oz
  • 4.7oz Alcohol Cook Kit (for testing) – 4.7oz
Total Cooking 19.4 oz. (1.21 lbs)

Miscellaneous Items

  • Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter & 32oz. bag – 3.5 oz.
  • Petzl Tikka XP2 headlamp – 3.1 oz.
  • Garmin Oregon 450 – 7.5 oz
  • Adventure Medical First Aid Kit – 7.9 oz.
  • Gerber Bear Grills knife & sheath – 11.5 oz.
  • Hygiene, TP, Wipes, Sanitizer, toothbrush, baking soda – 3 oz.
  • Sven Folding Saw 21″ model – 18oz.
  • *iPhone 4 & case – 5.9 oz.
  • *Canon Powershot 210SX camera w/case, Stick Pic w/biner, spare battery & memory – 10.8 oz.
  • *My DIY SOL kit w/fish hooks, snare, fire starting, etc. – 2.6 oz.
Total Miscellaneous – 54.5 oz. (3.41lbs)


  • Water – 65 oz.
  • Food, enough for 2 breakfast, 2 lunch, 1 dinner & desert – I did not weigh my food before this trip. I do know it was a little more than my last trip so I’m going to guess – 56oz.
  • 4oz. of alcohol – 4oz.
Total Perishables – 125 oz. (7.81 lbs)

Total Pack Weight – 352.27 oz. (22.01 lbs)

Total Base Weight – 227.37 oz. (14.21 lbs)

Notes on how I decided to take what I did.

Not much changed from this pack contents and my solo trip on the Pointy Knob Trail. So I’m only going to list the changes along with a few notes.

Sleep. I got rid of the light weight packing foam pad from before & replaced it with my tried and true Thermarest Ridge Rest I cut down to about torso length. I used it on the first night out under my lower legs while in the hammock. Condensations was still there. I know this is because the new winter quilts I have let me sleep really warm, and I got hot again. The rest of the trip I did not use the sit pad in the hammock with me.

Clothing. Not much changer here, I did take along one additional pair of socks this trip though. Also took along some blaze orange to keep any bullets from wizzing by or entering me. I have not weighed these items as I don’t take them all the time, just during active hunting seasons.

Cooking. Again with the BushBuddy. I also packed along my 4.7 cook kit to test. As I suspected, I either need to change alcohol stoves, or just don’t take it as the BB did just fine. Actually did all my cooking on it making only one cup of coffee with the 4.7 kit. I am however going to continue carrying the cup. I like a dedicated drinking cup.

Miscellaneous items. Here I left the tea light candle and book at home this trip. I had good company, so setting around the camp fire gave me plenty more to do. Good conversation, good company, & and fire, what more could one ask for.

Perishables, food & water. Took along the same amount of water. Food I did have a little more with me this trip and did not stop to get a quicky meal for the first night on the trail. I also took along a desert I had for lunch on day 2. Unfortunately I did not weigh my food this trip so I guessed at the weight. It should be close, if not over a little. Also had 4oz of fuel in my pack this time around. The Sven saw came in handy for cutting up pieces of down wood for a fire. It will go with me more often now.

A few more notes. The weather was predicting a 30% chance of rain last time I checked it. I did not take any rain gear with me, which was somewhat of a mistake. I didn’t end up getting soaked, just a little wet, but I did turn my Tyvek ground sheet into a make shift poncho if you will. It worked, ok. A dedicated rain gear would have been much better. Also learned once again the draft tubes Warbonnet sews into the bottom quilts work perfectly so far, I am a believer in them now. I slept very warm, if not hot both nights.

Happy Packing.

2 Responses to “3 Friends & John P. Saylor Trail”

  1. ” Good conversation, good company, & and fire, what more could one ask for.”

    we had food and shelter too – ah! a fine time! that was a very memorable trip. and the coolest video ever!


  1. New Adventure, 3 Friends & John P. Saylor Trail | Welcome to Bear-Chaser.com - November 23, 2011

    […] to Bear-Chaser.com My adventures in the outdoors. Skip to content HomeAboutAdventures3 Friends & John P. Saylor TrailCanaan Back Country, A War Inside My HeadCanaan Valley – Pointy Knob TrailD.I.Y. […]

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