No riding this weekend. I was going to ride on Sunday, but decided spending the day exploring the area with Sarah would be a better way to go. I was right.
We drove down to Hickory Run State Park to do some hiking. First, we tackled the Hawk Falls trail. It’s a 0.7-mile out-and-back trail. As usual, we stretched a short hike into a long one, taking lots of photos and exploring every nook and cranny along the way.
The trail was wide, much like the one I hiked with my mom at Nescopeck State Park the previous week. But this trail surface got rougher as it went, and was hillier, so it was more challenging. Still, it was a fairly easy hike, but a lot of fun.
The trail started with a smooth surface and went gradually downhill the whole way out. We were following a stream called Hawk Run. We crossed the stream, which was really gushing (presumably due to Saturday’s rain), on a bridge.
Sarah on the bridge
The trail continued following Hawk Run. We got a nice overhead view of Hawk Falls and climbed out on some rocks to get a better view. There was a Pennsylvania Turnpike bridge nearby, which meant some highway noise and a manmade structure interfering with the natural setting, but at the same time, it added an interesting element to the scene.
Sarah, and the rocks down which we climbed
Sarah, with mountains in the distance
As we hiked on, we saw Mud Run, and found the confluence of Mud Run and Hawk Run. The water from both was flowing quite vigorously, and combined with Hawk Falls, the sound mostly drowned out the highway. There were some impressive sights and sounds, to be sure.
Sticks/roots dragging in the water
The trail by Mud Run
Another shot of Hawk Falls
Here, the trail ended and we turned back. What was a gradual downhill hike to this point was now a gradual but constant climb. We made quick work of it, though, this time around. We’d hike a lot faster if we didn’t take so many photos, but we see no need to hurry. Hawk Falls, and the streams and forest were all quite enchanting, and we savored every moment.
Next, we drove to another trailhead to hike part of the FIreline trail. While that trail is 2.5 miles long, we only hiked about half a mile out, turned around, and hiked back. We wanted a good view of the mountains and read that there was a nice vista there. Plus, it was getting dark, and we wanted to be done before it did so.
The Fireline trail is another wide one, but this one is rated “Difficult.” The part we hiked was easy, so I can only assume it gets more difficult as it progresses. We were hiking toward the nearly-setting sun, and the whole mountain was glowing as a result. The ruddy rock surface to the trail, combined with the golden light, made for an almost alien appearance.
We reached the vista and heard a huge flock of some kind of migratory bird above us. There was a massive cloud of birds, and they made quite a racket — I have no idea what kind of birds they were, and I couldn’t get a good shot. But we had great views of some surrounding mountains, and the Lehigh Gorge. Shooting into the sun made it difficult to get good shots — the valley was fairly dark, but a few turned out well. I could see coming back to this spot at different times of day, during different seasons, etc. I’d love to watch it evolve.
The sun, about to set over Lehigh Gorge
Sarah, getting the shot
The sun sets
The whole scene
Me, enjoying the view
Red rocks on the surface of the mountain
It was quite a beautiful setting. I can’t wait to go back and explore more of the 23 trails at Hickory Run. The neighboring Lehigh Gorge State Park has 20 miles of rail-trails waiting to be explored, white water rafting, etc. I’d love to go camping at Hickory Run for a weekend, and explore both parks. There are even designated bike routes between them.