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Archive for the 'Ice' Category

Shades of Death

Saturday, February 7th, 2009

Back on January 25, Sarah and I hiked the Shades of Death trail at Hickory Run State Park. It’s hard to believe it was that long ago; I’ve really fallen behind here.

We used snowshoes, but in this case we could have gone without. There was snow, but it wasn’t very deep, and there were a few narrow sections where the snowshoes actually made it harder. On the other hand, the added traction from the crampons was much appreciated during some icy parts.

This was a truly beautiful hike — the trail followed a stream, which was frozen over in some parts, and passed some impressive rock formations and waterfalls. It started snowing on our way back.

We may have turned around too early: we thought the trail ended when we reached a blocked-off bridge. But looking at the map again, I think the trail may have continued past the bridge. We probably could have found a way around. Oh well.

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Sand Spring Run

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Ice

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Waterfall, with some weird blue ice at the base

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Rob, enjoying himself

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Small waterfall – the woods were green with massive quantities of rhododendron

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The trail goes through a crevice in the rock

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Sarah

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A layer of ice, suspended above the creek

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Snowy rocks and creek

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Me — dig the new glasses?

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The creek again

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Looking down from above the waterfall

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The creek, lined with pines


Tunkhannock

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

Here are some photos from a recent drive Sarah and I took to the rather quaint town of Tunkhannock, PA, and the surrounding area. I don’t have much commentary, except that I managed to get the car temporarily stuck on an ice patch while attempting to turn around. A guy in a pickup truck came by and suggested an alternate route, which worked out very well.

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Tracks by the Susquehanna River

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Looking the other way

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Tunkhannock

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Another part of Tunkhannock

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Weird house

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The house across the street

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Darkness falls

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Door

Seven Tubs Nature Area

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

Sarah and I enjoyed our day of hiking on Saturday so much, we decided to do it again. We had planned to do another long hike, but we were in dire need of sleep. So we slept in and did a shorter hike at Seven Tubs Nature Area, a county park that is nearby and has a trail of about three miles. This is another hike from the hiking book Sarah got me for Christmas. Incidentally, this trail is open for mountain biking as well, although some parts seemed like they’d be awfully technical on a bike. I forgot to put batteries in the GPS, so I don’t have any data for this hike.

The “Seven Tubs” are impressions in the rock carved by the water as it cascades down the mountainside in a narrow gorge. This was an exceptionally beautiful hike, with views of the cascades, tubs, and a few “runs” (creeks) flowing through the areas, and some mountains. There was snow and ice, but again, not enough to warrant snowshoes. The trail was rocky and icy in places, which made for some challenging hiking.

The park was technically closed, but you could still park by the gate and walk in. So, we did. It was a bit of a slick hike down the hill, as the road had some snow and ice on it.

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Walking down the park road

Once we hit the trail, there was immediately a bridge taking us across the cascades where the tubs are located. It was different from what I envisioned. Somehow I thought the tubs would be spread out, not all in one place. Wheelbarrow Run had carved a narrow and steep path through the rock, and the tubs were readily visible. The bridge gives you a great vantagepoint. I did some relatively long exposures so the water would have some motion blur. I didn’t bring a tripod, I just braced my camera on the bridge. I did this at several other points during the hike, bracing the camera on trees or rocks, with mixed results.

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Looking down at the falls and tubs

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A closer view of one of the falls

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Looking the other way. One “tub” is visible at the bottom, and another after the narrow waterfall.

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The bridge

Instead of crossing the creek, we turned on the trail just before it, after taking in the views.

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Looking across the gorge, with a neighboring mountain in the background

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Sarah, hiking up some slick rocks

The trail followed Wheelbarrow Run for a bit, and we hiked up for a while before taking a ladder into a gorge. Fantastic icicles and other formations sparkled in the sunlight. Sarah was patient as I took tons of photos, even a few macro-ish shots with my telephoto lens.

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Ladder down to Wheelbarrow Run (this might be tricky on a bike)

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Flowing ice draperies

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Sarah, below

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Wheelbarrow Run

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Icicles glisten in the sunlight

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Ice-covered rock wall

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Extreme icicle closeup

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More ice on a rock wall

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Another view of the lovely Wheelbarrow Run

Sarah double-checked the book, and we were on our way. The trail climbed out of the ravine and up the rocky mountainside. We had a few views of an adjacent mountain that I’m guessing was Wilkes-Barre Mountain.

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Sarah, reading in the woods

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Rocky trail

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Looking toward Wyoming Valley, where we live

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Some context

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The whole view

We crossed some more small creeks and passed a powerline cut. After a while, we hiked down to a bigger stream, which we followed to its confluence with Laurel Run.

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Power lines

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One of many large rocks along the way

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Stream

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Watching the water cascade over the rocks

Sarah was once again very patient as I spent way too much time taking photos. I couldn’t help myself. The trail then followed Laurel Run back to the original bridge. The water ran incredibly clear, and Laurel Run went from wide to narrow, and back to wide. Rocks and ice in the stream, combined with the beautiful afternoon light, made for a very beautiful and peaceful scene. Rock piles had been built at various points along the trail. I thought they were very cool — my thanks to whomever took the time and effort to do this.

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What a gorgeous hike. I look forward to going back at various times of year — I imagine there must be a lot of wildflowers in the spring. There are a lot of mountain laurel and rhododendron, so June or July should be amazing as well — and of course foliage in the fall. I’d also like to go back again this winter, maybe sometime when there is more snow. Maybe I will bring a real tripod, to improve my photo opportunities.

And of course, I will have to try mountain biking there — although like I said, it would be pretty technical. And I am feeling sort of down on uber-technical riding. It’s never really been my thing, and sometimes the technical stuff gets in the way of just riding.

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