With a long holiday weekend, we decided to do some long overdue surveying in Green’s Valley (aka Cox’s Valley), northeast of the Laurel Creek reservoir. This was railroad built by Reichley Brothers to connect their operations with tramroad Gotshall had constructed southwest from Poe Paddy, through Panther Hollow and past Dinkey Springs. It must have been built shortly after 1900, after they acquired the Monroe Kulp mill at Milroy and associated railroads and chose to abandon the original Reichley tramroad from Poe Paddy along Poe Creek. We originally surveyed some RoW in these areas in late 2007, but had never filled in the gaps.
We started by leaving a vehicle at the blocked bridge on Stillhouse Hollow Rd, off of Sand Mountain Rd, near Seven Mountains Scout Camp. We then drove to Siglerville-Millheim Pike and entered the “drivable trail” portion of the Mid State Trail in the Big Flat area. We knew that RoW was visible at the extreme southwest end of the drivable portion, so we began surveying there.
Virtually all of the RoW in this region is now the Mid State Trail/Green’s Valley Trail. Normally, we wouldn’t be thrilled to have heavily used trail on top of a historic RoW. In this case, it’s a good thing, as it would be quite difficult to trace a lot of this route if hikers hadn’t kept it open and visible! There are exceptions, however. Every now and then you come to a stretch which is nicely built up and quite plainly railroad. These sections are visible as a thin, light line on USGS aerial photos (visit GPSVisualizer.com).
At one point, a large quantity of large rocks were pushed aside during railroad construction. Previous visitors have collected clinkers and placed them in a pile atop the rocks, as clear evidence of what once went on here.
We completed our survey at the intersection with Stillhouse Hollow Rd, with 3.01 miles recorded. Incidentally, the bridge here has finally been redecked, and it’s possible you can now drive to here from the Milroy end, assuming the gate on that end is open. Note that Stillhouse Hollow Rd is still blocked with large rocks on the Sand Mountain Rd end.
The only portion of this route we still have to fill in some day is from the switch to the southwest of here down into Laurel Creek reservoir. This area is extremely overgrown, so we will probably leave it until much later.