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Jacks Mountain and the Thousand Steps

May 28, 2011

Jacks Mountain and the Thousand Steps

Point-to-point distance: 10.25 miles

This point-to-point hike was to end at a baseball field outside the small town of Mapleton, PA. That part was easy. We parked one car there and proceeded to spend 45 minutes driving up and down the remote valley containing Allensville and Belleville--almost constantly passing horses and buggies in search of our starting point--the most difficult route-finding of the day. Eventually we realized we had driven much too far, found the faded red blaze on an old concrete bridge, and located the tiny game lands parking area back a small lane. It was lunchtime by the time we started actual hiking.

Note: Click on picture to see high resolution photograph in separate window:

Following the red blazes from the bridge, we immediately passed a house and garage, then jumped a deer before entering a wide-open field of grass. Then we were in for our steepest hiking of the day, straight up a spur leading to the slopes of Jacks Mountain.

We topped out on the ridge of Jacks Mountain amidst a fern field, then followed the easy- walking trail along the slowly rising ridge-top. Our first view was from the rock pile called Shorb's Summit (2273'), where we took a short break before completing our trek along the pleasant summit plateau of Jacks Mountain.

The descent from Jacks Mountain was steep at first, but quickly settled onto surprisingly easy, wonderful switchbacks of an old mountain road--surprising because such flat walking was to be had along some of the steepest slopes we encountered today.

The first switchback we came to contained the best view of the day, which is known as "Clark's View." We stopped to take several pictures.

Clark's View:

Eventually the dirt path led us past some nice-looking camping spots, an old stone building, ("Dinkie House") and a beautiful waterfall.

Dinkie House

The Thousand Steps were good and solid, but the top set of them had water flowing down over them due to all the recent heavy rains. The stone steps allowed a quick descent down to near the base of the moutain, where we left the stairs and continued following the Standing Stone Trail along the slopes above US-22.

The final stretch of trail between US-22 and Oriskany Road was without a doubt our least favorite section of the day, with high grass not allowing us to see our feet. That is why Greg and I stepped right over a snake which only Uncle John ended up getting a glimpse of. The rattlesnake or copperhead was the last wildlife sighting of the day, which also included a deer, some turkeys, a black snake sunning on the trail, and a newt.