by Thomas R. Stott, KTA Life Member
To Whom It May Concern:
When I started this backpacking “thing” I did not know about the Keystone Trails Association. My foray into backpacking began in 1996 after quitting marathon running due to knee issues. I did a little day trip hike in Little Pine SP with my daughter who was around 8 years old at the time. I carried a full backpack and even prepared a freeze-dried meal on the trail for us just to try it all out. That was the beginning of something I thought I would always do since I was a kid - backpacking. Now, twenty years later, my daughter is expecting our first grandchild later this month.
Through my Uncle Jack and Aunt Esther Hickman I found out about the Keystone Trails Association, a great hiking resource. I became a member and then a lifetime member. Uncle Jack and Aunt Esther were actively involved with the Keystone Trails Association in the early years and Uncle Jack served on the awards committee. Sadly, he has passed but Aunt Esther lives on at 98!
All trails were done completely.
It would be difficult to say where I started and stopped on the early trails I completed but all the dates are accurate.
I completed all the trails in Ricketts Glenn SP over the years in the event I come up short for mileage somewhere. I don’t have dates or distances for that. I’ve also done other hiking in Pennsylvania not listed and linked many trails I’ve completed.
All the hiking listed were done “solo” unless otherwise noted.
Living in New Jersey, how did I do it?
I hired a shuttle to complete the Loyalsock Trail.
The Donut Hole Trail was completed on a family trip with 2 cars. My wife and I grew up family camping
with our families and so our family tent camped also.
The West Rim Trail was completed on a family trip, wife providing the shuttle. We stayed in a cabin.
I “thumbed it” to get back to the trailhead of the Bucktail Path.
Hiking “out and back” and a bicycle shuttle were used on the Lost Turkey Trail.
I “thumbed it” to get back to my car on the northern half and southern half of the Alleghany Front Trail.
My wife dropped me off for the Tuscarora Trail and after I finished I “thumbed it” to the train station in Harrisburg, caught a train to Philadelphia, took the subway to 7th Street to get a bus back to Turnersville, NJ and my wife picked me up from there to get me home to Glassboro, NJ by car. No planes or boats were involved.
A family trip with 2 cars for the Greenwood Spur-Standing Stone Trail.
Self-shuttle with a bicycle for the Conestoga Trail. Difficult…
After that I hauled my motorcycle with my pickup truck to self-shuttle and that worked out (mostly) great!
Some motels were used to complete the Horse Shoe Trail.
State Parks and private campgrounds as base camps were used for
The Mason-Dixon Trail. Day trips as I got closer to home.
I used various State Parks as a base camp for the Mid-State Trail and rented a trailer in Twin Streams Campground for the northern section.
My wife and son provided shuttles for the three Appalachian Trail trips.
I’m not hanging up my hiking shoes yet – I still have a “to do” list.
Hiking Penns Woods was its own reward!
The mistakes I’ve made, the things I’ve learned, the things I’ve forgotten, and the stories I could tell!
Lastly, it goes without saying but I’m going to say it anyway:
My wife is a saint!!! I could not have done it without your help, support and understanding. Love you, Sue.
Thomas R. Stott
Keystone Trails Association