Hiking Close To Home: A Cloudy Day At Community Park

Hiking Close To Home: A Cloudy Day At Community Park

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My favorite football team, the Philadelphia Eagles were playing at 1 p.m. last Sunday so I wanted to stay close to home and decided to hike at our local Community Park. park benches trees and snow

In the warmer months the park is always alive with crowds of  people of all ages.  Some walk around beautiful Lake Irena, others play with their children on the rides  in the park, some quietly sit on a picnic bench or fish along the shores of the lake. cloudy skies over lake Irena

Not last Sunday , there was no one in the park or near the lake when I arrived. It was cloudy but milder with temperatures near 40 degrees. And the overnight rain melted most of the snow. I walked past the Tank Memorial to the lake. World War two tank memorial Community park

There was a thin  layer of ice forming on parts of the lake. I was hoping to see some water birds but the were no birds of any kind on or near the lake.thin ice on lake

There was plenty of evidence of some beavers activity  near the lake.tree carved by beavers +


I walked on the newly surfaced trail around the lake. It was once very muddy under the pitch pines on the northern side of the lake but much improved now. pine needle covered trail

I then hiked on the muddy trail that led to the Hazle Township Babe Ruth Baseball Field. muddy trail

I then crossed the recently constructed highway, well maybe its 10 years old now,  and walked down to the Black Creek, as the sun tried to break through the overcast skies. .

Originating near the Freeland mountain, this creek flowed through coal mining territory on it’s way to enter the Nescopeck Creek near Tank. 

There is a lot of history associated with this creek. It is still polluted both from sewage and acid mine runoff.  However, at one time is was unpolluted and supported a number of mills along its course. A Conrad Horn had a famous gunsmith shop on it’s banks about a mile downstream

I only hiked this area a few times. The last time I was here about 10 years ago there was a bridge across the creek. The bridge was washed away and I wasn’t walking through the polluted and smelly waters to cross the creek . I made my way back up through the pitch pines and tried to cross the creek further  downstream. 

Finding no place to cross the creek I headed back , taking a short walk along the old road that ran to the baseball field. I remember driving out this long wooded road with my dad to watch my brother John play Babe Ruth baseball.

On my return walk I saw a flock of titmice feeding along the path,

and, looking up in the trees I saw this bird perched on a tree top. I thought it  was a female or juvenile hawk,

but later learned it was a merlin falcon, somewhat uncommon in our area. We stared at each other for a while and he or she flew off into the cloudy sky.

I returned to Community Park after my five mile hike, pleased to have seen the hawk and having enjoyed another wonderful hike in the woods of Northeastern Pennsylvania, this time only a mile or so from my home at Community Park. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. Hazle Township Black Creek hike November 25 2018. creek flowing from Community Creek

“Parks and playgrounds are the soul of a city.” 
― Marty Rubin

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