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Archive for the ‘Hikes’ Category

  I need to ask how one can be so stupid! I filled up my hands and began walking down the slope to fish. I

Dutchman’s Breeches

stooped to pick up a worm that was on the dry trail and realized I had forgotten my fishing license. How stupid is that?

 

 

Immediately I turned to plan B. I was going to fish a few hours before hiking along with taking photos. I drove to the site I had planned to walk and it was still only about 6:30 A.M. The sun was up and the atmospheric conditions were perfect. My bad luck of forgetting my fishing license allowed  for

Spring Beauty

some great photos.

  The route I took to hike was covered with early spring wildflowers. Spring Beauties; Dutchman’s Breeches; Rue Anemones; Violets and others could be found in plentiful numbers. Trilliums were soon to bloom. The Skunk Cabbage was growing quickly.

Rue Anemone

I searched for morels at times, but failed to see any of those morsels.

  I saw some Gray Squirrels and one Fox squirrel. I saw Great Blue herons and Belted Kingfishers. I sat down on a log to enjoy the beauty when I noticed  movement in the air. A mature bald eagle landed about seventy-five yards from me and began to make shrill calls. I took a couple of photos even though I knew the photos wouldn’t be the best quality. I saw an immature eagle flying. I heard gobblers off in the distance occasionally.

Wild Leek

I saw some Canada Geese at times and some unidentifiable waterfowl, too.

The four hour hike ended as the sun was making much heat. I elected to stop and visit my friend J Kip Feroce at his camp. he was there and surprised to see me. We planned some spring gobbler hunts.

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  The day was shaping up into a nice typical spring day. I headed east to go for a hike, but while traveling through Whitesburg, Pennsylvania, I felt an urge to pull into the Whitesburg United Methodist Church. I checked the mirror and quickly turned right into their drive.

I began a slow walk with memorial tombstones on all sides. I picked up a deer antler and placed the “horn” on top of Bob Hudson’s stone. Bob was married to my sister and was killed in a work-related accident in 1987. He was only 31.  The memories started to flow!  The slow gait witnessed my great-grandparent homemade stone. I had never met them. My very own grandparents were here, too. Great uncles and great aunts, cousins and friends all have found their last resting place within these hallowed grounds. Aunts and uncles are resting here.

Finally I arrived at a special memorial stone. The Stars and Stripes hangs beside the stone telling all the person buried at this site was a veteran. The    man name is Allen K. Smail. He was my father passing away on father’s day 1999. I cleaned up around the marker removing many blown leaves that had rested there with him.  Silent words were spoken and some mist in the eyes formed during our talk.  I miss him!

Bloodroot

To my right a small stone is setting. This small stone is for  my sister, Glenna Mae Smail who passed away in infancy in 1962. Many thought bounced around my brain wondering the usual “what ifs.” Would I have had nieces and nephews if she would have survived into womanhood?  I like to think she would have grown into a beautiful woman living a life of joy. Of course, I’ll never know these answers.

I was sad! I continued to walk on familiar grounds to think. I would take a hike along hills and hollows near and around Cherry Run. This area is a place where memories abound for I played, hunted, fished and hiked everywhere.

The woodlands are yet to show much new and refreshed vegetation. I noticed Coltsfoot flowers all over. I had seen my first Coltsfoot of the season way back in February since we witnessed much warmth at the time. Other flowers present were the Spring Beauty and Bloodroot.  Skunk Cabbage is doing well despite recent cold weather.                                      

I saw one deer this day.

Wednesday morning I listened for gobblers at a different place very early and heard none. By 6:30 A.M. I dark cloud bank enveloped the entire area. This may have dampened turkey talk. However, while traveling home in mid-morning I would see a flock of about 15-18 in a field. The clouds had allowed the sun to filter through by mid-morning. I saw six deer.

 

Goldfinch

A Cooper’s Hawk was soaring low through the woods and came to about twelve feet before noticing me and abruptly changing the course of flight.I was blessed to hear and courtship ritual of a Woodcock during the moments at dawn.

I stopped and surprised my mother on the way home.

 

My mother, Ruth Smail Miller

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Roaring Run Hike

Kiski River

Kiski River

By remembering the mile marker posts and studying the official trail map I determined we may have hiked as much as eight  dsc_0015miles. My friend, Frank Maus an I traveled the trail this cold February morning.  Frankie had never been at this area and was anxious to see the sights. I have hiked on  the Roaring Run Trail before as well as hiked it before.  Check out: http://www.roaringrun.org  for more information on the trail.

The Roaring Run Trail flows alongside the Kiskimineatas River in southern Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. Many years ago I remember the waterways to be orange from mine acid drainage issues. Today the water is clean and beautiful thanks to many efforts to clean it up. Many species of fish inhabit these waters today. There are some small communities of Armstrong County that can be found along this river. Some are Avonmore; Edmon; Apollo; Vandergrift and Leechburg. The “Kiski” River as it is known by many locals flows into the Allegheny River at Schenley, Pennsylvania.  (My father worked over forty years at the Schenley Distilleries located at Schenley. And he didn’t drink!) During the years of approximately 1825 to 1850 a canal was present along this river.

 

Roaring Run

Roaring Run

 

Beaver sign

Beaver sign

The first signs of wildlife were a small flock of Canada Geese flying low and close. We weren’t hardly out of jeep yet when they  dsc_0012 appeared. My camera was still in my shoulder bag. Later, we saw two Mallard Ducks along the shoreline. The river was up some and was flowing quickly. We noticed a lot of Beaver activity along the river’s edge.

Eventually, we stopped and turned at Roaring Run’s mouth where it entered the Kiski River. Here we turned to hike the Rock Furnace Trail. Originally this furnace was known as Biddle’s Iron Furnace.

A huge boulder erupts above Roaring Run at the site of long-abandoned furnace. The rock if known as Camel Rock.

 

Camel Rock

Camel Rock

dsc_0004   Time moved fast as we talked and laughed. We discussed fishing these waters in the future. I plan to do so as well as hike some more as the spring wildflowers bloom.

 

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Cold Walk

dsc_0004  I haven’t been out much and missed almost the entire two week deer season. I felt a walk would be good  dsc_0002for the soul on December 21. Once I had decided to go I asked the wife if she would be interested in walking. Surprisingly, she said yes!

dsc_0009

We prepared for this cold walk. We left the house around eight in the morning at eleven degrees. The sky was bright and blue at this time.

Upon arriving at our destination we could see the results of the cold night and morning. there was a frost covering everything. The sight was beautiful as the sun’s rays trickled through the woodland areas to make for some shiny diamond like sparkles on the ice.

dsc_0011 Various birdlife was abundant. The birds were feeding heavily attempting to include a high calorie count to   dsc_0006help them survive the cold. Blue jays and Cardinals were all over. Other species viewed were White-crowned and White-throated Sparrows, and Juncos. We saw a couple of hawks, too. Mammals were apparently “holed-up”. We saw a couple of Red squirrels.

Laurie would pull her scarf across her mouth occasionally. This action caused her blonde hair to be as white as snow. Her breath escaping along the sides of her cheeks caused immediate freezing to her hair. She was surprised to see her hair in the mirror.

dsc_0003

 

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Baker Trail Hike

dsc_0033  This hike was an earlier excursion in early September. The morning was heated to an already 73 degrees as I left the house in the early morning.  The dew point was at 69! So, this time in the woods was going to be a warm on.

Crooked Creek Dam

Crooked Creek Dam

I was walking the Baker Trail at the Crooked Creek dam area in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania. This trail is actually 132 miles in length. The trail begins near Aspinwall, PA and ends in the Allegheny national Forest at Cook Forest Park. My section this day would only be about three miles one way. The trail was named in honor of Horace Forbes Baker.

Elbow Run

Elbow Run

 

Along the trail.

Along the trail.

As stated, I was walking at the Crooked Creek Dam section of the trail.                           dsc_0014

Crooked Creek Park is an United States Corps of Engineers project completed in 1940.  The dam was built as a flood control project. During World War 2 my dad told me a 50 caliber machine gun was placed at the dam area in case of enemy bombing attempts. No Germans or Japanese planes today!

The walk began at the parking area across from the Tunnelville Beach. I walked northerly  along a small stream named Elbow Run. this creek empties into the dam area.  There were a lot of fungus growth throughout the walk. the conditions were correct for their growth. I saw a lot of squirrels gathering nuts. Deer were rather common all morning as well. I Glimpsed an eagle flying through some hemlocks. I dropped over a steep hill to walk back along Elbow Run.  dsc_0035

The entire walked was a humid one, but I still enjoyed being out and about.

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Cool Morning

DSC_0009 The temperatures were cool enough for an early morning hike. I, also, wanted to fish. What to do? I elected to hike since I haven’t been walking much over the last month.

Bee-Balm

Bee-Balm

I parked outside of the game commission gate on State Game Lands 105 to begin the trek. I didn’t walk far when I spotted a turkey hen squatting low  on a commission road. My first thought was she was dusting herself. However, I immediately realized the turkey was not kicking the dust around…must be poults!    DSC_0020

DSC_0018 I walked closer until the hen stood up announcing to the world with her alarm putts an intruder was present. Ten to twelve little down-covered poults began moving towards grassy cover.

Hen with her little poults!

Hen with her little poults!

This date of July 2nd is late for poults this small. Seeing these little poults was amazing. The hen must have lost her first hatch to predators. Turkeys will hatch a second attempt if the first “flock” becomes lost to predation, or the elements.  These little birds looked to be a day or two old.

 

Flock of gobblers

Flock of gobblers

I would walk into another hen later on. I couldn’t see her young due to dense vegetation.

I saw some deer during my time afield. One buck, already, sported a nice rack with more days for growth. I saw one doe with her fawn. I, also, saw a flock of gobblers.

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Hugging trees!

Hugging trees!

I found myself managing a couple of jaunts over the last few days. I spent

Steep terrain!

Steep terrain!

a  couple of hours on State Game Lands 247, and yesterday, I traveled over State Game Lands 105.

Huling Run

Huling Run

The early walk found me uncomfortable with knee pains, but the latter proved to be around a seven miles of woodland hiking. (I took over-the-counter pain relief pills in    order  to make that reality happen.)

Lots of birch!

Lots of birch!

 

Frog eggs!

Frog eggs!

SGL 105 has rugged, and steep, terrain, especially as I near the river

Footer stones from a long ago building.

Footer stones from a long ago building.

hills. Huling Run paralleled me on my right. I eventually worked down the slope to walk along the beautiful stream.

Chestnut burr!

Chestnut burr!

I saw four deer on this adventure. I found turkey sign, as well as, some bear activity. The bruins are ripping up rotted logs in search of food.

Lichen

Lichen

DSC_0004 This hike lasted almost five hours. The day was clear, and sunny. The temperatures were right for walking. I felt good enough to wash the jeep upon arriving home.      DSC_0029

This morning as I type this entry is Resurrection morning. We will be attending a church service to remember that Christ rose again. later, we will be spending time with family.

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