Weatherly Railroad Tracks, Penrose Reservoir And A New Old Trail
Yesterday morning started out mild and cloudy, the air filled with the smell of the rain we had over night. I was going to take a short hike close to home because of some afternoon plans, but they changed, and I decided to hike out to the always picturesque Penrose reservoir near Weatherly.
I have posted a few blogs about this historic area, so vital to the coal industry. Here is a link to one of them http://wp.me/p5GeDV-16k and you can look up the others in the archives. I hiked up the railroad tracks from the quaint litle own of Weatherly along the fast moving waters of the Hazle or Black creek. This is a link to a video of the waters rushing in the creek. https://youtu.be/5scMrB0sm5M
The trees were still mainly bare but there was some green and white blossoms starting to show up.More sure to come soon.
I walked the approximately 2 1/2 miles to the reservoir, crossing the old bridge on the Hazle creek, where the Beaver Meadows, Buck Mountain and Lehigh Valley railroads met. Lot of history in this spot. The clouds began to break and blue sky appeared just as I approached the reservoir.
I was hoping to see some water fowl on the reservoir. I have seen American bitterns, mallards, wood ducks and ospreys on the reservoir but today only these two geese were enjoying the pretty view.
Instead of walking the tracks back I decided to follow the Penrose creek as it flowed from the reservoir. It flows under the railroad tracks through this very old rock tunnel , probably built the same time as the railroad right of way, I think before the 1860’s.
The creek flowed through a flat clear swamp where I found many “swamper” or highbush blueberry growing. It will be a long walk to get here to pick them but I may be spending a lot more time in this swamp in the summer. I enjoy picking “swampers” and giving the berries to family and friends.
I didn’t run into much wildlife, a few squirrels, crows, robins a cardinal and a lot of black capped chickadees.
I followed the meandering stream to where it flowed into the waters of the Hazle Creek which originated near the Dreck Creek Reservoir and Donegal Hill section of Hazleton. I believe that Native Americans may have used these streams to make their way from the Lehigh River to the Nescopeck Creek and the Susquehanna River.
I followed the creek back to the railroad tracks and found this campsite with trash thrown around. It is a shame some people just have no respect for these pristine areas.
At the Hazle Junction bridge I hiked out the old Buck Mountain railroad right of way to some ponds and wetlands. I had found geese nesting in this area before and blue herons, duck and even s few bear. Only thing I saw yesterday was these mallards on one of the ponds. I walked out to the pole line nearby and made my way back to the railroad tracks.
I found the remains of a few critters who didn’t make it through the winter including a turtle, a deer and this animal I’m not able to identify. I am thinking maybe a raccoon.
At the Hazle Junction bridge I noticed a trail that I somehow never saw before on my many walks along these railroad tracks. I investigated and discovered that the old water line bringing water from the Penrose reservoir ran along the trail.
Of course I had to find out where it went and found it ascended the mountain and ran parallel and above the railroad tracks. It was a nice walking path and ran along huge boulders and rocks. I am wondering if this was an old railroad line since it seems like it took a lot of time and effort to cut through those rocks for just a waterline.
I scared many a turkey vulture who were roosting in the trees along the ridge and they were not very happy to be disturbed from their sunny perches.
The trail overlooked the railroad track, which kept getting further below as it climbed higher along the ridge . I enjoyed some nice views of the Broad mountain and the town of Weatherly from up there.
I love taking new paths and I was curious where it would bring me. I continued along the ridge, passing huge rock formations. I also walked under and along these old hemlock, oak and very old black birch trees.
I came upon this old building that must have been a pumping station when the waterline was in use. There was also an old pond next to it and I would guess many a young boy, and maybe a few girls made there way up here for a quick dip on the hot summer days of years past.
The trail made it’s way down the mountain and ended near the highway were the famous Weatherly Hill climb begins. Here is a link to some more photographs I took along this new, old trail I discovered. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/weatherly-railroad-pipeline-hike-april-23-2016
I walked into town passing an the active foundry which I learned from this plaque was opened in 1900. I walked back to my jeep past the many old buildings associated with Weatherly industrial past. So much history here but that will be for another blog.
I was hoping to capture a lot more photographs of some wildlife but it was still a nice walk, it always is this time of year, and I am glad I found a new trail to hike. i am pretty sure I will run into some critters up there some day, if I keep my eyes peeled. Well it’s a beautiful Sunday morning here in Northeastern Pennsylvania and I am off to see what’s out there. Have a great day. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike yesterday. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-page-2/nggallery/photographs-page-two-blog/weatherly-penrose-reservoir-railroad-hike-april-23-2016
“Some beautiful paths can’t be discovered without getting lost.”― Erol Ozan