Fog, Mild Temperatures And Lots Of Ice: A Year End Hike On The Greater Hazleton Rails To Trails.
It was a mild 46 degrees on New Year’s Eve morning here in Luzerne County. Almost all of the ice and snow had melted near my home in Hazle Township. A thick fog had formed. It was hunting season again so I decided to be safe and hike on the local Greater Hazleton Rails to Trail. I drove about five miles to the east access parking area near the village of Hazlebrook. I was not happy to find the trail covered with a few inches of snow and ice.
The three days of warm weather did not melt the snow and ice on the trail. In fact, the warmth just created a layer of water atop the ice making walking even more difficult. I was determined to get my five mile hike in so I began my hike on on the icy and snowy conditions on the trail.
It was a hike in contrasts. The temperature was in the upper 40’s, feeling almost tropical compared to the sub-zero temperatures of the previous weekend. However, the trail, and woodlands were still covered in snow and worse, a lot of ice. Walking was difficult. On some areas on the trail it was more like ice skating. I would have rather trudged through a few inches of snow then navigate the ice. But onward I hiked.
On the first mile there were a few sets of foot prints from some other dedicated hikers and dog-walkers. The icy conditions at the start of the trail ended and for about a half mile there was just a few inches of snow on the trail. It still wasn’t easy hiking in the snow, but much better than the wet ice at the start of my hike.
The trail was still mostly snow-covered until I approached an old access road to an abandoned industrial facility. Here the surface of the old road was a sheet of ice. I slipped and slid for about another 1/2 mile,
It was here I saw the first signs of wildlife on my hike, a small flock of black-capped chickadees were scurrying through the scrub oaks along the trail in search of food.
Nearby was a small flock of dark-eyed juncos scrambling on the ice and snow covered ground.
I finished my hike early, not having to stop and try and photograph birds and other wildlife. I was tired, and hungry, but enjoyed reflective year end hike on the Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails. There is more warm weather predicted for Northeastern Pennsylvania this week, and hopefully all of the snow and ice will melt by the weekend. And Spring is just around the corner! Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my foggy New Year’s Eve hike. Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails hike December 31 2022
“Nothing is as tedious as the limping days,
When snowdrifts yearly cover all the ways,
And ennui, sour fruit of incurious gloom,
Assumes control of fate’s immortal loom”