Backpacking Expedition to Hamersley Fork

by Dennis O'Gara

Photos by Mike Mulray and Dennis O'Gara

This is a story of rediscovery. Was the camping equipment that had lain unused for the last five years still dependable? Would our backs hold out on a rough backpacking trip? To find out, Mike Mulray and I set out on a two night pack backing/fishing trip to Hamersley Fork in the Susquehannock State Forest.

On Friday, Mike drove us to the trailhead in Potter County where he picked up the spot he had preprogrammed into his GPS unit to guide us the 3 miles to our campsite at the confluence of Cow Run and Hamersley Fork. We survived the hike, set up camp and then discovered that my rod had fallen off my pack. We back tracked to our last rest stop but couldn't find it.

Mike was kind enough to trade off using his rod. We cast to wild brook trout in crystal clear water that hid under ledges at our approach.

We returned to our camp site to rough it for dinner. Mike was the cook and his menu consisted of Italian salami and cheese for appetizers, washed down with red wine. Dinner was steak with sides of corn and rice (and more wine).

On Saturday, we woke early to a breakfast of spam and eggs. We were watched the entire time by a doe that stood not more than 75 yards away. Afterwards, I went in search of my rod and was lucky enough to find it about 50 yards below our resting spot.

Mike and I hiked up the Hammersley Fork guided by Mike's GPS. His unit had trouble keeping North and South straight but we didn't get lost. The fork was a series of shallow runs with periodic pools. Fishing was hard and we donated a lot of blood to feed the stinging insect population.

Dinner was more standard camping fair: freeze dried stew (with no wine).

On Sunday we woke, had oatmeal for breakfast and broke camp. We hiked out with less difficulty having learned a few tricks on the way in.

In the two days there, we saw one other person (on the way in), saw beautiful scenery, caught a few fish and had a great time.





June 10, 2008


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