Thursday, January 13, 2011

Hawk Mountain

Hey there. Thanks for stopping by. If you've been here before, welcome back! If this is your first visit, I am thrilled to have you.

One thing I have to be completely up front about is the fact that I am posting information on past rides. Not current trips. I mean, it's early winter here in the Mid-Atlantic states. And it's darn cold. But you probably know that.

My initial goal is to share info on all the great roads we have already discovered. As soon as the weather breaks, I'll talk more about new stuff. Until then, I hope you enjoy your virtual escape with me along some very cool routes.

A year or so ago, a friend told me about this place in East Central Pennsylvania called Hawk Mountain Sanctuary.

As noted on their Web site...
"Hawk Mountain Sanctuary is one of the best places in the northeastern United States to watch the annual hawk migration, one of nature's greatest wildlife spectacles. Between August 15 and December 15, an average 20,000 hawks, eagles and falcons pass the Sanctuary's North Lookout and are identified and counted."
It would have been cool to see a bunch of migrating raptors. But I happen to live in a part of the country where many hawks over-winter. So we get to see them quite frequently. And if they aren't hanging around all Winter, they are sure enough passing through in large numbers as they head south and then return north in the Spring.

Ugly road. Cool diner.
But this post isn't about birds. It's about my road trip. Actually, it's about sharing pictures I took during the trip. A co-worker's recent excursion reminded me of the place. She visited recently and had some pretty nice pictures to share. So I decided a road trip was in order. I thoroughly enjoyed the drive, but I must admit it would have been sooooo much more awesome on the motorcycle. 

(That's right, this trip was in a CAR. Yuck! But I was heading to NJ for a job interview. So I had to be practical.)

My favorite stretch of road was PA-10 from Oxford to just north of Honey Brook.  I'll definitely have to head back that way one day. I hit a bit of turnpike-type highway from there to Reading. Then I was on Hwy 61 for a while. That was all interesting, but not nearly as scenic as PA-10 through farm country. Soon enough I was turning onto Hawk Mountain Road. That's when I spotted this cool, dilapidated barn.

This old farm looked like a castle ruin.
After a quick drive up my favorite type of mountain road -- narrow, winding, and flanked by trees in varying degrees of color change -- and a short but strenuous hike, I reached the top of Hawk Mountain.

The view from the top of Hawk Mountain.
It was a nice view. But getting to the top? Oh my God. It's a good thing I am very sure-footed, that's all I can say. Here are a couple of pictures of the trail. And this is the easier one.

The trail to the North Overlook.
The trail goes right through the middle of the next image. For real. That's why there's an orange blaze on the tree.

The trail. Really.
And when I got to the top, what did I find?

People. Ugh.
A whole bunch of bird watchers. The guys wearing tan are the ranger-types and spotters who are there to educate folks and count the birds. One day last week, 1,400+ broad-winged hawks flew past. Not all at once, but still.
In addition to the bird watchers, there were also lots and lots of stink bugs. I am sick to death of those darn things.

I did not hang around long, but I did get some nice pictures. I'll post a few of my favorites here...

My favorite scenery capture.

Nice view.

You gotta love those red maple leaves.
After I left Hawk Mountain, I headed for New Jersey. Here's an overview map of the route. Click on the image to see a larger version.

There's probably a more-scenic route to get from point A to point B, but I was on a schedule and hopped on the interstate. From Point B to Frenchtown, New Jersey totally made up for it, though. A good bit of that segment was along the Delaware River. I made a Google Map so you could have a better look at the route. 

That reminds me. Another thing I'd like to share here and on the companion website (have you seen that yet?) is maps. Would you prefer Google maps? Or downloadable MS Streets & Trips files?


Peggy said...

I am so happy to have found your blog. I just discovered your photography blog, and was pleased to see you posted about your rides in WV. Now this blog is JUST what I wanted. We are also riders, in TN. But we often head east, mostly so far in GA-NC-TN corner. But we are planning a trip to WV for this summer, so will be thoroughly studying this blog. So far I just scanned, and love all your photos. The roads do look great! Thanks for posting, looking forward to hearing about all your rides next summer! p2w

ToadMama said...

Peggy, thanks so much for stopping by. Your comment made my day. It's people just like you that I am trying to reach. There's definitely more info to come, so please stop back.