Friday, January 2, 2015

First Day Hike

Our friend Rosanne invited us, via email, to join her, and as it turned out 40 plus other hardy souls, for a hike at the Franklin Parker Preserve on New Years Day.

On December 17th it sounded like a good idea.

On December 31st, as our plane touched down at Philadelphia International Airport at 10:30 PM, meaning that we wouldn't be home until after midnight, I wasn't so sure.

Still, we met Rosanne at the appointed hour, 9:30 AM, and followed her to the trail head. We were not the first folks there. In fact there were already half a dozen cars. Our car added to the big jump form last year's hike. Word had gotten out that this was a good time.

We milled around, chatting with friends, wishing everyone a happy new year. And then the 40 or so of us headed out, following our leader Terry, who had organized the whole thing.

Down the trail we went and quickly ran into some cold wet spots.

Cold is a relative term. When we started this hike it was just around 32° F, our hike two days earlier had us starting at a temperature of -19° F, some 51° colder. That was at Old Faithful in Yellowstone, and a subject for another post ...

After a slight detour, we went the wrong way at a fork, we came to the lake.

There was little wildlife out that morning, but this large flock of Canada geese, which was soon augmented by a small group of mallards, represented the bulk of what we saw. A northern harrier, two bald eagles (or one seen twice), a golden crowned kinglet, and some turkey vultures rounded out the bird list.

And while there was evidence of mammals,

Such as deer tracks (above) and paths (below)

And otters, via this impoundment crossing:

The only non-human mammals we saw were domestic canines.

Who appeared to quite enjoy the trails and every patch of drinkable water.

Our first stop was at a small shelter on the lake from which folks headed out on their own, or stayed to chat with friends and enjoy the view.

And there were plenty of nice views.

Image courtesy Patty Rehn

While there were plenty of signs marking the trails ...

... not all of them made sense ...

... either the trail goes that way or it doesn't. Obviously, we chose "does".

The Preserve is an old cranberry farm and the bogs are being returned to their natural, pre-farm state.

Having seen the eagle Bernie told us of the nest ...

... so off we went ...

... and there it is ...

... (I can't see it either; even bigafied you still need binoculars).

On the way back we saw these unusual (to me anyway) bubbles in the ice with curious color patterns.

I believe this is caused by birefringence.

Not all the ice displayed such properties, but still looked nice never the less.

Image courtesy Patty Rehn

Eventually we made it back to our dispersal point.

And headed back to the cars.

But we weren't done yet. We had quite the spread laid out on our Piney Picnic Table.

And it wouldn't have been new years without champagne ...

Obviously, we all had a great time.

On January 1st it was a good idea.

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