A Wintry Walk On The First Full Day Of Winter

A Wintry Walk On The First Full Day Of Winter

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The first full day of Winter arrived last Sunday with clear skies and cold temperatures.  I decided to enjoy the sunshine and wintry  conditions and hike out to the Penrose reservoir near Weatherly in Carbon County.  wintry scene on railroad tracks

I have seen  deer, hawks, otters and bears on previous  hikes in the game lands around  this old reservoir and hoped to see some wildlife on this hike. I parked in town and walked the railroad right of way to the reservoir.snow covered railroad tracks

The railroad is still active and has been in use since the 1830’s. I am sure my grandparents rode the train from Ellis Island in New York  and entered the city of Hazleton on these same tracks. I have posted a few blogs on the history of the reservoir and this old railroad right of way. They can be found in the archive section of my website or by using the search tool. pine tree

The sun was bright but it did little to warm the  temperature which was in the teens when I began my hike up to the reservoir. The rhododendron leaves curl up as the temperature drops and they were curled on this cold morning. frozen rhododendrons

The tracks follow the Hazle or Black creek as it flows from the mountains down to the Lehigh River as Penn Haven Junction. I enjoyed the pleasant sound of the rushing waters of the creek on this cold morning. black creek

I heard the chatter of  black-capped chickadees and sparrows in the trees and rhododendrons along the creek but could not see or photograph them in the thick undergrowth.  I walked along the track up the steady incline and came to the bridge over the creek at Hazle Creek junction. This is where the old Beaver Meadows railroad road intersected the Hazleton Railroad and later the Buck Mountain Railroad. Railroad bridge over Black or Hazle crek

I  still didn’t see any wildlife but I did enjoy the wintry scenery along the railroad tracks. There was an abundance of pine trees near the reservoir and their green branches contrasted with the deep blue sky. 

It was about a 2 1/2 mile hike to the Penrose Reservoir. When I arrived at the reservoir I found that the waters were frozen. Probably not solid enough to walk on but solid enough to prevent any water fowl from being seen.ice covered reservoir

I walked to the far side of the reservoir and sat for a while and enjoyed the wintry scenery. I could still hear the chatter of birds in the trees but still wasn’t able to see any. 

I walked another quarter of a mile when I decided to make my way back down the railroad tracks right of way. 

On my way back I finally saw a black-capped chickadee feeding on a pine tree.black-capped chickadee in tree

And as I continued down the tracks I saw this bird fluttering in the  thick undergrowth along the Black Creek. This was the only photograph I was able to get. I think it was a kinglet. 

I wasn’t able to take many wildlife photographs, as I do when I visit the PPL Wetlands, but it was still a pleasant walk on this cold first day of winter. Here is a link to a gallery with more photographs from my hike. Penrose Reservoir Hike December 22 2019. 

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
― Anne Bradstreet

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