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Prowl the Sproul: Hiking the Reeder and Boyer Trails

During the weekend of July 18th to July 20th, 2008, DCNR Bureau of Forestry, Keystone Trails Association and the Western Clinton Sportsmen's Club sponsored the 5th annual Prowl the Sproul Hiking Weekend. The weekend was dedicated to hiking and socializing, with a cheese and wine tasting party Friday evening along with a pancake breakfast and picnic supper on Saturday. Guided hikes of different lengths and difficulties were available from 2 miles to 15 miles with easy, family-friendly strolls and boot-buster climbs. The event took place on the grounds of the Western Clinton Sportsmen's Association.

Trailhead: N 41°22.79'
W 77° 32.50'
Total Elevation: 1178'
Trail Length: 5.2 miles
Hike Time: 3 hours
Hike Type: Loop
Difficulty Rating: 76
Near: North of Haneyville
PA, along route PA44.

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Last year Shari and I participated in the 4th annual Prowl the Sproul. It was an enjoyable event and we made sure to mark our calendars for this year's event as well. We arrived on Friday evening just in time for the kick off of the wine and cheese tasting party. We had an opportunity to talk with fellow hikers as well as members of the Western Clinton Sportsmen's Association and DCNR rangers. Later we all gathered around a camp fire and talked some more. After an evening of socializing with old and new friends, we headed off to our tent to get some rest for our next day's hike.

Both Shari and I hadn't hiked for almost 2 months so we decided to look for an easy hike. We found one listed at 6 miles in length with gradual climbs and descents. Most importantly, this hike was to lead us along mountain streams and through cool hollows. This was great since the temperatures were expected to be near 90 and the humidity was very high as well. Another appealing aspect of this hike is that it started and finished at Pat Reeder's Tavern. You couldn't ask for a more perfect hike on a hot summer day.

We signed up for the Reeder Trail Loop hike along with 3 fellow hikers. By 8:00AM we were all gathered and were soon hopping in our vehicles to head off to the trailhead. The trailhead for this hike is located just across from Pat Reeder's Tavern. As a matter of fact, we parked our vehicles in the tavern's parking lot. Pat Reeder's Tavern is located about 5.8 miles north of Haneyville, at the junctions of routes PA664 and PA44. The tavern and trailhead are located on route PA44. The easiest way to get here would be to follow route PA44 north from it's intersection with route US220 at Jersey Shore. Drive approximately 17.5 miles north, passing through the town of Waterville, crossing Pine Creek, and climbing to the top of the Allegheny Front, where you'll come upon Haneyville and the intersection of route PA664. You could also follow route PA664 up from Lock Haven. Since we were located along the shores of the West Branch of the Susquehanna River, we came we followed the road from Hyner up to route PA44.

We parked our vehicles at the tavern and were a little disappointed to discover that the tavern was closed. However, it was only 9:00AM in the morning, so we had hopes that it would be open upon our return.

We crossed route PA44 and headed down Reeder Trail. This section of the trail was easy to follow and soon was blazed both blue and red. This part of the trail is also used for snow mobiling in the winter. We would soon get on a section of trail that was not blazed. The majority of this hike, over 3 miles, would be on unblazed trail. The trail followed the stream banks and was well maintained, but be forewarned that there are no paint blazes marking the trail at this time. I was informed that DCNR has intentions of painting yellow blazes on this trail sometime this fall. Though blazes aren't needed to do this hike, I think they will offer reassurance to those not particularly comfortable with hiking on unmarked trails.

At 0.3 miles our single track hiking trail emerged onto a grassy forest road. This was the snow mobile trail and we would complete our loop hiking back this wide trail. We jogged to our right and began a short descent down to the Right Branch of Hyner Run stream. At the crossing of the stream, about 0.6 miles into our hike, we turned right and followed the eastern bank of the stream.

The trail followed the stream bank on an old narrow gauge dinky rail bed. This made for easy hiking. There were a few places where we had to cross the stream, but the water was low and crossing was very easy. At 1.3 miles into the hike there was another stream that flowed in from the south. I believe this is Little Boyer Run.

At 1.9 miles we came to a stream junction where Big Boyer Run joined the Right Branch of Hyner Run from the east. The trail leaves Hyner Run and we begin our ascent along the southern bank of Big Boyer Run.

All along our hike we were treated to cool, albeit muggy, temperatures. As we began our gradual ascent along Big Boyer Run we could feel the temperatures increasing. As the stream turned into a trickle, we left its banks and made a short, steeper ascent through the woods to join up with the grassy snow mobile trail. We had completed 3 miles of our hike at this point and we all took a much needed break to rehydrate ourselves.

This section of the trail was very easy to hike as it was wide and did not have any major elevation changes. The one thing I didn't like about it was the fact that we were within sight and sound of route PA44. There's nothing more discouraging then hiking through the peacefulness of the woods only to have it disturbed by the sounds of loud motorcycles driving by.

AT 4.6 miles the trail makes a sharp turn to the right. Turning left takes you out to route PA44 and I suppose if you didn't mind doing some road walking, you could make it back to the trailhead by going that way. There were a pair of men and women's outhouses located here, but looking at the outsides of them, I don't think you'd find me using them anytime soon. I'd be afraid to find out what might be inside them.

After two tenths of a mile with a gradual descent we found ourselves back at the single track Reeder Trail. Hanging left here we hiked the remaining 0.3 miles back to our cars and the trailhead. The hike had taken us almost 3 hours and it was about 5 minutes till noon. Luckily for us the tavern was just opening and we were its first customers of the day.

We had another enjoyable hike and outing at the Prowl the Sproul event. I would highly recommend anyone that likes to hike or just wants to explore the outdoors to try and make it to next year's event. The guided hikes by DCNR employees makes for a stress-free and informational hike. You'll learn a lot about the local history as well as enjoy the beauty that the woods of Pennsylvania has to offer. I know Shari and I will be here for the 6th annual Prowl the Sproul. Hope to see you here as well.

At the Western Clinton Sportsmen Association, everyone gets ready to head out onto the trails for the 5th annual Prowl the Sproul.

The post marking the start of our hike. It's easy to find as it is located directly across route PA44 from Reeder's Tavern.

We leave the wide, red blazed trail to start down an unblazed, but well maintained trail that follows the creek.

Walking along Big Boyer Run.

At a stream crossing I took this picture as the sun began to shine down through the forest canopy. The humidity that we had been feeling all along this hike was now clearly visible in the sun light.

Finishing up our hike on a snow mobile trail. The huckleberries were full on the bushes along this section of the trail and we paused a few times to eat a handful.

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