Close To Home, My Backyard And The Valmont Bog Sanctuary. My Rivendell.

Close To Home, My Backyard And The Valmont Bog Sanctuary. My Rivendell.

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It has been way too long since I walked my favorite patch of woods on this planet, the woods I own behind my house here in the Green Ridge section of  Hazle Township in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Backyard and valmot dragonfly (1 of 1)

I first discovered these woods as a child when my friends and I explored them when we were in third grade. I came to love them over the years and was fortunate to acquire them about 25 years ago. It was a dream come true. Macro  hike bee 077 (2 of 33)

I now think I know every rock and tree on this land now and I love walking the same paths and under these same trees I did as a child. And thewoods provide homes to the many critters that visit my backyard. It is my Rivendell, the Eleven sanctuary in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings.

Today I hiked down the trail to a small stream that runs on the northern border of my property. So many wonderful memories along this stream and under the big old oak that grows alongside it. Macro  hike bee 077 (13 of 33)

I then walked out to the abandoned rail road track that is the northern border of my land. This was originally the “third rail” electric trolley that ran to Wilkes -Barre many years ago, It was still an active track of the Lehigh Valley Railroad when I was growing up and we encountered many a train while walking the rails.

I headed west to the old PPL tower line, recently replace with a pole line. I can write a novel of the many memories we had under those towers. It was the first place we picked huckleberries by ourselves and we spent many days out there hiking to Shiney Creek for a drink and to catch crawfish. Macro  hike bee 077 (18 of 33)

This area,  north of the creek and bordering my property, is now owned by the North Branch Land Trust where the Valmont Bog Sanctuary is located. Having this sanctuary , with so many exotic and rare plants in this bog, so close to my house sure is a blessing.

Today I was delighted to find the calpologon or grass pink orchid in bloom. These flowers are so delicate and beautiful and very plentiful in the bog. This is a link to some more photographs of the exotic orchid And the bog is also home to the even rarer white and orange fringed orchids which bloom later in the Summer. Backyard and valmot bog calopogon  50 (1 of 1)

I headed back along the abandoned railroad right of way to West Hazleton Babe Ruth fields. They were there since my childhood but have been enlarged and improved since then. And walked by my old alma mater, the West Hazleton High School, which is now a elementary school.  What a pleasant walk along memory lane.  And got even better when, right along the cemetery fence on the way home I found a few wild bolete mushrooms, which I gathered and enjoyed for dinner. I am fortunate to own this land and to have this land trust next to my property. I hope to be able to continue to enjoy it for many years. Macro  hike bee 077 (26 of 33)

Here is a link to some more photographs I took on my walk this afternoon.

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“To be poor and be without trees, is to be the most starved human being in the world. To be poor and have trees, is to be completely rich in ways that money can never buy.”
Clarissa Pinkola Estés,