Back To Winter: A Frigid Hike Out To The Penrose Reservoir
There are only a few days until Spring arrives , but, after months of above average weather, Winter has returned with a vengeance to Northeastern Pennsylvania. We had almost a half a foot of snow yesterday and some of the coldest temperatures of the season here this morning. Not good walking conditions, especially in March. . I decided to head to the Lehigh River Gorge, where I hoped I would be sheltered from the arctic winds, and I could hike through the snow on the trails left by the snowmobiles.
However, as I drove through the Borough of Weatherly I thought of the Penrose Reservoir. and I decided to see if any water birds have returned to the area. I have hiked here often, and have seen herons, ducks, geese and an American Bittern on the reservoir. I was hoping that, despite the arctic cold, the warm weather of the past few weeks would have brought some of them back early. So I began my hike to the reservoir on the railroad tracks in Weatherly.
This junction is where the Beaver Meadows, Buck Mountain and Hazleton (later to become the Lehigh) railroads met and played a significant role in the local coal mining history. There are a few of my posts, which can be found in the archives section of my blog, about this history.
It is about two miles to Hazle Junction and another half mile to the reservoir. I was surprised to find the reservoir was mostly ice free. I thought that. despite the warm weather we have had, there would still be some thick ice in the center of the reservoir. Not this year. I was disappointed that there were no birds on the open waters. I really thought their at least would be some Canada geese and mallard ducks on the water.
It was cold and I was tired from trudging through the snow so I decided to walk back. However, the discovery of what, I believed were fresh coyote tracks, had me following them along the old Buck Mountain railroad right of way., hoping to find the animal that made them.
I returned to my car parked in the rustic town of Weatherly, tired, cold and without seeing any wildlife, but still very glad to have enjoyed another day, be it a snowy and frigid one, in the great outdoors of Northeastern Pennsylvania. I am looking forward to more mild walks as Spring approaches but it won’t be for at least a week. And as I neared my car I saw this critter, who I am sure agrees with me. More arctic weather and a possible snowstorm headed our way. But Spring will return, and it will be welcomed. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-2017/nggallery/photographs-2017/Penrose-reservoir-and-railroad-hike-March-11-2017-
There’s just something beautiful about walking in snow that nobody else has walked on. It makes you believe you’re special. Carol Rifka Brunt