Woodward in Winter, Part II (maps)

Continuing the previous day’s adventure…

At Vince’s suggestion, we started by heading south on Stony Run Rd from the Whetstone Gap 4-way intersection. A bit south, we noticed pretty obvious remains of a splash dam next to Winkleblech Camp. Nearby we detected a suspicious grade curving off the road to the SW. Within a few yards of the road we found nice tie depressions and off we went… For the first hundred yards, the RoW has been disturbed by the nearby stream. After that it evolves into very nice RoW, climbing a substantial grade up a hollow. These guys were determined to get somewhere, that’s for sure!

Eventually the grade intersects several roads at a local summit. Vince headed straight ahead out a forest road for a ways, reporting back that it seems like a likely continuation of the grade, but no firm evidence. I headed south on a similar road towards Winkleblech Mtn Rd, which could also have been grade.

We returned to Winkleblech Camp via the road the roughly parallels the grade (as shown below). At the end near the camp, it becomes very steep and there are some curious trenches paralleling the road. The trenches seems to aim for the area of the splash dam at the camp. There were probably several log slides in this area.

We next closely examined the dam. It sure looks like a splash dam. There are large, vintage timbers in the stream where it pierces the dam; would these not be surviving parts of the floodgates opened to cause “the splash”? On the north side of Stony Run Rd, it appears there is another log slide going up the hill.

Branch opposite Negro Hollow

Next we headed up Negro Hollow, since Kline implied RR in that direction. It’s a lovely hike along the stream (bears seem to like it), with some really pretty areas, but we could not conclusively find evidence of grade. Later consultation with maps suggests that the RR probably did not pass through the lower end of Negro Hollow (near Stony Run Rd), but entered farther NE.

It seems pretty likely that one of the roads around the Old Shingle Rd junction with Stony Run Rd is the grade which accessed Negro Hollow. Future investigation required!

Next we headed for Cinder Pile Spring. There we examined the surrounding areas. The pile of cinders directly in front of the spring seems to point to the grade being under the existing road.

Our final search was along Sheesly Run Rd. Once the hollow narrowed, we rapidly discovered some clear RoW alongside the road. Vince insisted (twist my arm) on following it upstream. As anticipated, it curved towards Cinder Pile Spring. Then at the last moment, it curved east! What the heck, folks? Probably we missed a switch to the west in all the Mtn Laurel; we’ll check it out again sometime. This is a pleasant little stretch of RoW, and we felt good to have added it to the survey.

From Cinder Pile Spring to Sheesly Run Rd

Reviewing maps at home, Vince turned up “Hook Tram Trail” and “Negro Hollow Trail” (which seems like the probably rail route into NH) on the Bald Eagle State Forest map. Fifty Hikes in Central Pennsylvania (see “Resources” at right) also discusses a hike on railroad grades in the Hook Natural Area.