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Former teacher tapped for trail talks

By Staff | Mar 31, 2016

Ruth Rodes has written maps and trails of Lycoming County's history along the Loyalsock Trail.

A life long love affair with hiking serves Ruth Rode well, even in retirement. Her exuberance in sharing the history of early Indian paths is evident as she is frequently contacted to present programs at various organizations.

The South Williamsport native said, “When I was a kid, I’d hike up the Kane Street power line with the neighbor kids. That’s all grown up now, replaced by the line extending from Maynard Street.”

Recounting the route, Rode said, “From the top, we’d look at the view. Sometimes we came back the same way, other times we’d go by the French settlement and down by Duboistown.”

Even before she was a teenager, Rode learned to clear trails while at camp near the Chesapeake. “I thought it was fun,” she said. Then when attending college at Mansfield, she said, “We’d sign out bicycles and ride the paths, now the sight of the Tioga-Hammond Dam. We picked wild strawberries, putting them on ice cream we bought when back in town,” Rode said.

After graduation, Rode began teaching third grade at the Lose School in the fall of 1964, remaining there for 25 years.

In 1967, she renewed her involvement with the out-of-doors by joining the Alpine Club. “By maintaining and leading hikes, I became well acquainted with the Loyalsock Trail. In fact, in 2010, it was noted as one of the 10 best trails in the U. S. and Canada. It is 59.21 miles in length, is historic and has scenic beauty.” The Boy Scouts originally built the trail in 1951 and the Alpine Club founded in 1953 was formed to maintain it.

“Equipment needed to keep trails open include lopers, a couple folding saws – in case one becomes stuck another is needed to cut it out. A walking stick in one hand and a pick in the other,” Rode said.

In the Alpine Club, Rode served many years as secretary. In 1983, she became co-chair, the volunteer duties were to distribute guide booklets, answer phone calls and correspond with the public. “One day the co-chair brought his books to my house, so I became the sole person for awhile. In 2015, a new slate of officers came on assuming some of the responsibilities,” she said.

Rode has formed many trail maps and her most noted is the Loyalsock Trail where she has recorded its history and mapped it into 8 sections following the old logging trails with designated LT markers.

Other outdoor areas beckoned, so Rode joined the Eagles’ Mere Conservancy and Mokoma Conservancy doing trail work and hiking. “I love Sullivan County, its a lot of fun. I often went skiing at Ricket’s Glen,” she said.

Working with the Williamsport Lycoming Chamber of Commerce, Rode said she recently placed the third edition of the ‘stay and play’ in Sullivan County maps at the Hughesville Area Public Library and the Pit Stop on route 220.

With knowledge gained over 49 years, Rode has been on the speakers circuit sharing such subjects as ‘The Loyalsock Trail,’ ‘Camp Lycogis,” “Hunters Lake,’ and showing reels of old time logging.

Recently she became a consultant on a soon to be released book on Essicks Heights. “Next month will be the 100th anniversary of the fire that destroyed the Hotel Essicks,” she said. Authors Matt Stackhouse and David Richards are scheduled to release the self-published book this year.