Mar 25 2008
Hiking is one of my favorite pastimes combining exercise, the outdoors, peace and quiet, and birds. Winter weather and lousy footing kept me out of the woods for the past few months so I’ve been itching to get out for a real hike.
Last weekend I kicked off hiking season with a visit to the Armstrong Trail at Rosston. It was so beautiful I had to take this picture.
The Armstrong Trail runs for 52.5 miles along the Allegheny River from Schenley to East Brady on the path of a former rail line. I hiked two sections: Rosston to Logansport and Kelly to Godfrey. Here the trail is maintained but rough and often paved with coal dust, a heritage of its coal-mining past.
Rosston and Logansport were especially good for birds. In early spring migrating waterfowl find the river a welcome stopover when the lakes are frozen. Last weekend Lake Arthur at Moraine State Park was still 90% frozen so no wonder the birds were at the river.
The river was high and the flats at Logansport were flooded so the trees were up to their ankles in water. Here I found many more wood ducks, ring-necked ducks, a gadwall and a few horned grebes. One horned grebe was so close I could see his red eyes.
A curious part of the landscape at Kelly and Godfrey are the abandoned 1850’s beehive coke ovens. They look like a line of big holes in the forested hillside (pictured at right).
It was very quiet on the trail last weekend but I could tell by the tire tracks and the signs saying “No ATVs” that ATVs use the trail extensively and are unwelcome. Sadly, this means I won’t be visiting the trail when the weather is good and the ATVs come out.