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Sunday, December 28, 2014

Hiking the Pickering Creek Trail

Today is Sunday, December 28, our last day in the little cottage in Historic Yellow Springs.  We decided to find a local hike and then finish off with a visit to one of our favorite brewpubs.

For the hike, we chose a walk on the Pickering Creek Trail, near the Natural Land Trust's Binky Lee Preserve.  This section is called the "Bridge to Bridge Trail."  David shows off the trailhead sign:

The trail follows Pickering Creek, which winds through northern Chester County south of Phoenixville, ending in a dramatic falls that can be seen on the road between Phoenixville and Valley Forge National Park.  Here, Kathy welcomes our arrival at a bridge across Pickering Creek:

The bridge at the other end of the hike (hence the name, "Bridge to Bridge...") spans the creek to permit Pikeland Road to unroll to the east toward the Binky Lee Preserve:

The creek itself is quite picturesque;

We hadn't even started our hike on the trail when Kathy spotted some deer browsing in a nearby field.  They paused at alert just long enough for us to snap this photo:

The trail is maintained by the local township, but clearly has some loving patrons, because we noticed some unique improvements - such as this unique birdhouse with character:

More evidence that the trail has attentive patrons is seen in the many signs that identify local trees. This tree and its signs were unique because the older, wooden sign appears to be the only survivor of what was apparently an earlier generation of tree identification media.  In this case, the old and new signs identify a box elder.  The more modern sign describes bark, leaves and fruit, and describes the most unique identifying characteristic as well as some interesting facts about the tree.

To a casual observer, this photo seems to be simply another view of Pickering Creek.  However, to us, it marks the location where we spotted a large red fox scampering across the creek and up the opposite bank.  Unfortunately, the fox was too quick for us to get a photo of him (or her).

The trail boasts a few small, hand-made hiking bridges:

Our hike was an out-and-back.  While we walked up Route 113 and through Pickering Grove Park to reach the trailhead, we decided to circle back to our cottage along Art School Road.  This gave us a chance to enjoy more colonial-era farmhouses - brick, stone and wood frame, innumerable stone fences, farm fields, and view of the tower and hill above the village.

The hike built up a powerful thirst, so we repaired up to the road to Sly Fox Brewery and Restaurant to sample the latest beers brewed by Sly Fox.  We selected two big beers to purchase and save for sharing with friends later, and returned to the cottage to pack up for the long trip back to Fredericksburg, Virginia tomorrow.

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