A Hike In Peace Valley Park To Escape The Corona Virus

A Hike In Peace Valley Park To Escape The Corona Virus

Peace Valley (39 of 50)
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Yesterday, I returned  to  Peace Valley Park  located near Doylestown in Bucks County. I have visited there before but had no plans to go there Friday.  Here is how it happened.  I am working from my home now,  because of the lock down due to  the corona virus here in Pennsylvania. My nephew and I are partners in a Law Office. But  it was a  sunny day Friday and I knew the forecast called for rain all weekend.  So I decided to take the afternoon off and then,  thought,  it might be nice to travel a bit and stay overnight somewhere. It would help out the suffering hotel industry and I could use some change of scenery to do some thinking. . First I contacted the  Ricketts Glen Hotel, near the park of that name.  I could take a long hike and visit  all of the beautiful waterfalls  before dark. Closed due to the virus the message said when I contacted the hotel. Next I thought of Middle Creek and the Washington Inn. Closed. Same for the beautiful Bald Eagle Inn at Bald Eagle State park.

So I Googled best birding areas in Pennsylvania for some suggestions. I was surprised to see the Audubon Society webpage suggested  Peace Valley Park as one of them. This scenic park is near the  National Shrine Of Our Lady of Czestochowa which has great spiritual meaning to me and my family.  So that is where I went.

It is almost a two-hour drive to park but there was little traffic and I enjoyed the rural scenery on this sunny  March. When I arrived around 1 p.m. I discovered the park services  and parking lots  were closed due to the corona virus but I saw a lot of local folks parking along the road near the nature center and did likewise.

I walked past the closed nature center and crossed a bridge over the north branch of the Neshaminy Creek. This damming of this creek created Lake Galena which is at the center of Peace Valley Park. I noticed that the lake and creek were very low.  Along the trail one could see signs that Spring was here in Bucks county. Large clusters of the invasive fig buttercup were in bloom. 

As were the native bloodroot flowers. 

I decided to first hike  the trails along the Neshaminy Creek  and soon encountered two snakes, the first a garter snake, I think, it slithered off into the woods before I could get a good photograph. The second, an northern  brown snake was not as shy. 

It let me approach and didn’t seem to mind me taking its picture. 

I walked upstream along the creek hoping to see some water birds. On my last visit here I was able to photograph a great blue heron catching and eating a very large fish. No such look on Friday. I did see a woodpecker,

and a nuthatch feasting on a large grub. But no water birds. 

I followed the trail up to a birding trail but seeing no migratory songs birds I turned back to walk along the lake.

On my way I saw this red-bellied woodpecker in a treetop and saw two bald eagles fly overhead. Unfortunately the eagles were too quick for my me to get a photograph. 

Once the trail left the woods along the creek it became wider and continued along the shores of Lake Galena.

The lake was low and the  shore line was  exposed. I am not sure if it was because of a shortage of rainfall or a release of water from the dam that creates the lake. 

I had read that a number of water birds migrate through here in the Spring. However, I only saw a few cormorants and some common mergansers on the lake. 

And this fellow who may have got lost, a seagull. 

Along the trail I saw a few birds, mainly cardinals,

and sparrows. 

There were also plenty of cute  squirrels scurrying about.

many carrying acorns and other nuts they may have hidden last fall. 

The trails along the lake were not crowded, probably due to the corona virus but there were still quite a few folks, hiking, walking their dogs or biking, all keeping a safe distant from their fellow humans. 

It was now late in the afternoon as I made my way back to the nature center. The late March sun had warmed it up and I saw a few turtles on logs in the lake. 

There was also a red-tailed hawk soaring in the clear blue skies in the distant,

as I crossed Neshaminy Creek and returned to my car. 

My visit to Bucks County wasn’t over.  The National Shrine Of Our Lady Of Czestochowa was a few miles away and I had to stop for a visit. 

My dad was devoted to Our Lady Of Czestochowa. He was convinced she protected him and saved his life during WWII. He and my mom discussed their  marriage and family here when they were dating 

He  was so proud to bring his family here for visits. I was surprised to find the Chapel was open. I entered and reflected on the good times we had and the great loss my family suffered these past few years.  It was an emotional visit for me. But I left feeling this is where I was supposed to be at this point in my life. Strange how events lead us to places and situations. 

I had thought about staying overnight in the area but I decided to take a slow ride home. It was another good day to enjoy nature, this time in Southeastern PA. And I always find comfort, peace and joy surrounded by nature. And we are blessed to have so many beautiful areas here in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. We must protect it. Here is a link to a gallery on my website with more photographs from my hike. Peace Valley hike March 26 2020. 

“Nature itself is the best physician.” – Hippocrates



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