The Rock Garden is a feature at Worlds End, located a short walk from the Canyon Vista. During the backpacking trip the day before I noted the Loyalsock Trail weaved among and over rocks as it approached the vista. The Rock Garden is uphill from the trail and vista, on a gravel and dirt path past the chemical toilets. On my last day in Worlds End spent time playing in the Rock Garden, but first took the opportunity to visit the overlook again.

As usual, I find friends everywhere outdoors.

This man was part of a group of Harrisburg bike club members up for a cycling vacation. I gave him directions back to the Visitors Center. As the sole mountain biker in his group, he felt honor bound to ride on forest roads like Cold Run, and the Loyalsock Trail itself. I advised against riding on the hiking trail.

The Rock Garden was worth the walk. The rocks were like the ones I’d seen the day before, but more of them, and they were easily walked to and on, even without poles. My fear of heights must have stayed behind, because I had no trouble here aside from not having enough time or a friend with me.

Before I left I went back to the overlook and walked a short stretch of the Loyalsock Trail. The day before I’d gotten a lift at the vista, and hadn’t hiked this stretch. Immediately from the vista the trail enters a pine forest and the trail surface changes from rocks to dirt.

Normally a walk in a pine forest lightens my heart, but today was different. It reminded me I didn’t hike this stretch. That if I were a better backpacker I’d be finishing my three day Loyalsock Link hike with Ian about now. Instead I was hanging out doing nothing. I turned around and went back to the car, trying not to think of myself as a failure as a backpacker.