Trudging Through Deep Snow On The Greater Hazleton Rails To Trail

Trudging Through Deep Snow On The Greater Hazleton Rails To Trail

Rails to Trails (29 of 53)
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After a mild December and January, with little snow or ice,  Winter finally showed up this past week here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. . We got a  Valentines’ Day  present from Mother Nature, over a foot of snow.  And, when I awoke Saturday morning it was snowing again. There  was over three inches of new snow on the ground.  I didn’t want to drive far on the snow covered roads so I decided to hike on the local Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails. I was the first vehicle to park in the snow covered parking lot located on E. Broad Street/Route 93 in Hazle Township.

It was around 25 degrees  when I began my hike. The heavy snow was tapering off .  I usually put in five miles on my weekend hikes but I wasn’t sure how far I’d get in the deep snow.  As I began my hike I found that a few  determined folks had made a path in the 12 inches of snow  the day before  Valentine’s Day.  But it  was  now covered with the new and drifting snow.  Ity  was  still difficult to  trudge through,  with my old bones and muscles, anyway.

I walked  threw the deep snow and  followed  the  snow covered path made by the the earlier hikers. There was also the remains of a cross country ski trail  on the side of the trail.  It was difficult walking in the snow,  and I didn’t  like the cold, but the snow covered ground,  trees, and mountain laurel did make for a beautiful wintery scene.

As I approached a bend in the trail the wind picked up,

and I was now walking  through  the snow being blown off of the  tree branches above the trail. .

There were now some breaks in the clouds and the mid February sun occasionally  appeared and brightened the winter wonderland. 

As the name implies, the  trail follows an old railroad  right of way.   I have written  many blog posts on the history of the trail which can be found using the search tool in the archives section of my blog.

The depth of the snow can be seen on the bench and information sign for the side trail to the pine/heath  barrens along the main trail.

Here I found a kind hearted person had placed a suet/seed feeder along the trail. However, there were no birds at the feeder. I saw no birds or other wildlife on my hike but I did hear some black-capped chickadees in the distance. These sociable birds are active on even the coldest day but it seems they didn’t find this treat left for them along the trail.

The trail now continued down  the ridge.

Mountain laurel,

wilted bracken ferns

and pitch pine cones were were  covered in snow along the trail.

After about a mile, the  trail crosses the Stockton Road  and then continues

through the lands of the Hazleton Water Authority.

Shortly after entering this part of the trail I found that the cross country skier turned around,

and, at the  one mile marker the person whose path I was following also  turned back.

I was now the first person trudging through over a foot of snow. It wasn’t easy anymore. I would walk many miles in deep snow  when I was growing up in the Green Ridge section of Hazle Township.  I continued my hikes in the snow for many  years into my adult life.  I once loved the snow.  When I was a boy  my friends and I would spend the coldest days outside in the snow, sledding, snow ball forts and fights, hockey (without skates) on the ice ponds and anthracite coal  strippings and then walking many miles in the snow covered woods.  Later I  skied and ice skated on the coldest days.  However as I grew older it became harder enjoying the snow and cold.  And I  now dread the snow, ice and cold. . However, I am not going to sit inside and watch television all Winter so I make the best of it, as I did on Saturday.

So I trudged through the foot of snow for about another  1/2 mile until  my old bones told me they had enough. I would usually walk five miles on the trail but only did 3 1/2 on this snowy Saturday. I probably burned up the same amount of calories as a five mile hike without the snow.

A brilliant February sun was now shining in partly cloudy skies I began to walk  slowly back to the parking lot. 

The sunshine felt good. I think  a flock of black-capped chickadees agreed.  I encountered these sociable birds along the trails,


and feeding on the tiny buds of the oak trees.

Although I disliked the snow and cold I will admit that  I enjoyed the beautiful  wintery scenery . I love the green, snow covered pitch pines along the trail with the deep blue skies above.

The  bare and snow covered birch and sassafras trees also contrasted the deep blue skies.

The winds  now scattered a few  of the persistent oak leaves across the newly fallen snow..

I crossed back over the Stockton Road,

and followed the  up the ridge., passing  the grove of pine trees along the way.

As I approached the last turn  in the trail, about a 1/4 mile from the parking lot,

I saw some more bird  active on this cold and windy morning.  There were a few white breasted nuthatches scrambling down the tree trunks looking for grubs and other insects.

And  a flock of noisy tufted titmice,

were fluttering in the trees above the trail.

Finally I saw a couple of tiny golden crowned kinglets.  They rarely  stay still for long as they hop from branch to branch searching for food. It took a while standing in the cold and wind to get this photo. Here is a link to a gallery with some  more photos of the birds I saw on my hike. Rails to Trail birds February 17 2024.

The brilliant sunshine felt good,

and I stopped to photograph some snow covered dried Queen Anne’s  lace  flowers ,

and cattails along the trail .

As I was finishing  my 3 1/2 mile hike I met a woman and her dog begging to hike on the trail. I was glad me exhausting hike through the snow and creating a path  would make her hike a little easier. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my three mile snowy hike. Rails to Trail February 17 2024.

Although I am not a big fan of the snow and cold anymore I will admit I still enjoyed my hike through the winter wonderland that the snow created on the Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails. It is always a great place to enjoy nature, even on the snowiest and coldest days.

“…there’s just something beautiful about walking on snow that nobody else has walked on. It makes you believe you’re special, even though you know you’re not.”
― Carol Rifka Brunt,


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