The First Snowfall: Another Hike On The Greater Hazleton Rails To Trails

The First Snowfall: Another Hike On The Greater Hazleton Rails To Trails

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We had our  first snowfall  here in  in the Hazleton area of Northeastern Pennsylvania on Sunday. Well the first measurable snowfall anyway , we had a few dusting earlier in November.  I awoke to find  a winter wonderland in my back yard in the Green Ridge section of Hazle Township. . It was beautiful but  I am not a big fan of the cold white stuff anymore. . My days of sledding, ice skating  and skiing are over. And driving and walking in the snow and ice isn’t fun anymore either.  As much as I dislike it, I still do walk in it. I never miss my daily and weekend hikes. So I drove the five mile on the snow covered roads  to hike on the Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails early Sunday morning. 

I started at the east end of the trail near the village of Hazle Brook  and found another winter wonderland surrounding me as I set off on the snow covered trail. 

There were no footprints in the fresh  two inch snowfall so I knew I was the first one hiking the trail on this wintery morning. 

I will admit the woods look beautiful in  covered in newly fallen snow. In my younger years I enjoyed my long hikes in the snow and cold. However, I am not that  young anymore, and even the two inch snow fall caused me to use muscles I haven’t used in a year. Every step in the snow takes a lot more exertion then on the bare ground. And after five miles of hiking it takes a toll on my back, knees, legs and ankles. And, not so much here on the fresh snowfall, but on the city streets or compacted snow there is always the chance of a slip and fall.  So, although I enjoy the beauty of the snow covered woods, I still dislike the cold nasty stuff. Sorry winter loving friends, I love the Summer and warm weather. 

The  woods were quiet after the new snowfall. There was no wildlife stirring. Not even any birds. I did encounter a couple of deer hunters along the trail. I was glad I was wearing my orange outdoor gear. There were a lot of pine trees along a stream that near the trail. I love the beauty of pines covered in snow. It give the woodlands that holiday feeling. 

There wasn’t much color  in the woods now. Just the white snow, the  greens of the ferns and pine trees, 

and the many shades of browns form the fallen leaves,

dead fern fronds.

The snow clung to the leaves of the  mountain laurel growing along the trail, 

and on the pines cones on the many pitch pine trees that are common on our mountain ridges. 

The trail entered the strip mine reclamation area I described in my previous blog post. 

Here I was hoping to see some winter resident birds feeding on the birch catkins,  alder cones,

or black locust seeds that are growing in the reclamation areas. I was surprised I didn’t hear or see a bird .

I soon came to the new bridge over the active railroad track, and 

crossed into the old abandoned strip mines.

Here I stopped at the old strip mine that filled up with water and created this scenic lake. 

As I approached the pine and heath barrens, I provided some information about them in my last blog, I again saw this hornet or wasp nest, now covered with snow. 

I walked out about another 1/2 mile when I turned around to walk back and complete my five mile hike. 

On the way I finally saw some birds.  I saw blue jays, crows, and hairy woodpeckers but wasn’t able to capture any photos of them, I was, however, able to photograph a flock of dark eyed junco, also , appropriately know as “snow birds”. 

And, nearby I saw this white-breasted nuthatch scampering down  a tree trunk.

The snow muffled the sounds in the woods but I was still able to hear the ringing of the church bells in the City of Hazleton about three miles away.

In trees in the reclamation area I did see some black-capped chickadees feeding on the birch catkins. 

It was a bit of a struggle walking in the snow, I got a cramp in my left calf. but I still enjoyed to peace and quiet of the trail and even appreciated the beauty of the new snowfall. I just hope it melts soon. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs from my hike in the new snowfall on the trail. Greater Hazleton Rails to Trail November 28 2021. 

 

 “I wonder if the snow loves the trees and fields, that it kisses them so gently? And then it covers them up snug, you know, with a white quilt; and perhaps it says, “Go to sleep, darlings, till the summer comes again.”
― Lewis Carroll,   Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland 

 

This is my first post

4 Comments

  1. Susan Geib Moyer on December 6, 2021 at 3:11 pm

    I enjoy your blog and your wonderful photos. They never fail to brighten my day. I’m up in years too, but still enjoy the snow – on foot. My better judgment convinced me to hang up my skis and ice skates. Thank you again for sharing your walks with us.



    • fskokoski@gmail.com on January 2, 2022 at 3:10 pm

      Thanks I love to share the beauty I find in nature .



  2. Valerie on December 7, 2021 at 9:38 pm

    Beautiful pictures. I love your narratives of the places you visit. The CS Lewis quote is so appropriate. Thanks for sharing.



    • fskokoski@gmail.com on January 2, 2022 at 3:10 pm

      Thank you I love to share the beauty I find on my hikes. So much beauty on this planet we share.