A November Hike On Penn Haven Mountain In Carbon County.
Last Sunday was cold again here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Not as cold as Saturday, but early morning temperatures were in up the mid 20’s, still well below normal. I wanted to hike somewhere new so I decided to drive south and headed to the Lehigh Gorge State Park in Carbon County As I drove past the small town of Weatherly I remembered a tract of land recently added to the state game lands. I had hiked here once before and decided to return to this area.I recalled that it once may have been owned by a hunting club.
I remember reading somewhere about the purchase of the land by the Pennsylvania Game Commission. It is located on the Penn Haven mountain about 2 miles south of the town of Weatherly. I tried to find the article for this post but was unsuccessful. If anyone knows the name of the hunting club please let me know.
When I hiked this trail once before a few years ago it was a cold Winter day with a deep snow cover and it wasn’t a good day to explore the area. I hoped to see more of the trail and surrounding terrain on this hike. I started my hike at a parking area across from the Weatherly Country Inn.
The trail begins near India Run, a small stream that flows into the Buck Mountain Creek and eventually in the Lehigh River at Rockport. There is a small dam near the start of the trail which was covered with ice. It would probably be a good place to observe migratory water fowl in the Spring.
I am always curious about the names of streams. And Indian Run had me wondering if there were Native Americans in the area as I proceeded on the trail in the shade of some tall and ancient hemlock trees.
It was overcast when I set and there were few birds or other wildlife on the trail. It is a steady uphill climb to a ridge atop the Penn Haven mountain. At first the woods were mainly chestnut oak and hemlock trees.
As I reached the top of the ridge there were more red oak and pitch pines. i love the smell of the pitch pine. There are many of these trees on the ridge near where I grew up and I spent countless hours playing and hiking under their contorted limbs.I love walking over their fallen needles.
There were also many red oak trees atop the ridge, still displaying there brilliant red leaves.
The red oak is one of the last trees put forth leaves in the Spring and the last to loose it’s leaves in the Fall
And there were widespread stands of our state flower, the mountain laurel. I imagined how beautiful it would be up here when this lovely flowers was in bloom in June.
At the high point on the ridge three trails converged and there was a large, old excavation site on the side of the ridge. I wondered why it was here and what the excavated earth was used for.
I also found some old concrete pads on the ground and it appears there was once a cabin or other structure up here. I tried to research the history of the area with no luck and would appreciate any help as to the owners of the club and what types of buildings were up here.
I decided to follow a trail that lead down the westerly side of the ridge. It was steep and the sides of the trail had much more rock than the hike up.
As I followed the trail down I caught site of the Lehigh River through the trees far below the ridge. I hoped to follow the trail toward the river to get a better view but the land was posted.
Although I would have loved to try and see the river I respected the no trespassing signs and made my way back up the trail. It was much harder going up the steep trial than it was walking down.
I made my way up the steep upgrade and rested atop the ridge before I began my return to the parking lot. I didn’t see a lot of wildlife on my hike. I saw a few deer leaping through the woods in the distance. There were a few black-capped chickadees fluttering about in the trees,
and I saw this pretty oven bird on my hike down.
As I neared the dam at the beginning of the trail I saw a few sparrows in the trees along the along the water.
I am sure there is a lot more wildlife in the Spring and Summer and I hope to return next year to find out. Even without the abundance of wildlife as I find on some of my other hiking trails, I still enjoyed the peace and quiet of the woods on Penn Haven mountain and hope to return soon. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. Penn Haven Mountains hike photos.
“It’s all still there in heart and soul. The walk, the hills, the sky, the solitary pain and pleasure–they will grow larger, sweeter, lovelier in the days and years to come.”
– Edward Abbey