Sunday, May 17, 2015

River Walking, Part One

When we're going for distance in hiking, we tend to stick to flat trails.  Fortunately, there are two big rail trails in our area.  We did a portion of the York County Heritage Rail Trail in April, and now we explored some on the Lancaster side.  

The Enola Low Grade line and the Turkey Hill trail start in the same parking lot.  Neither one of these trails existed as such when we moved to the area, so things have come a lot way!

The Turkey Hill trail is interesting.  It takes you up the river bluffs to the edge of Lancaster County's large landfill facility.  There's a nice overlook out over the Susquehanna River.  What you can't see in this shot is that there are two large wind turbines immediately off to the right.  The islands out into the distance mark the Conojohela Flats, an important area for migratory birds.  

While we were on the Turkey Hill trail, we could hear a bird singing intermittently.  I didn't know what it was, but thought it had a warbler-ish sound to it.  What's really neat is that, once we finished the trail and decided to walk part of the Low Grade Line, we found the bird again.  And I was right, it was a Prairie Warbler!  This is the first of these I have ever seen.  And it came in handy because I was able to recognize one singing the next weekend, during the PAMC.  I would have missed it otherwise!

The part of the Low Grade Line is just beautiful.  The trail follows an old rail bed situated on a bench above the River.  The views from this section are much wider and open than on other parts of the rail trail.  We noticed that a large number of Mennonites were out this lovely Sunday afternoon, and this lady with her bright blue dress caught my eye especially.

This is Mann's Run, as it gets ready to enter the Susquehanna.  And below is a restored rail car, painted to represent a particular scheme that actually was used on these rail lines at one point.  Neat stuff!

We definitely want to come back again, and walk the whole stretch from the parking area to Safe Harbor Dam and back!

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