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Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Scouting the Paradise Creek Nature Preserve

 On Monday, November 16, 2020, we had gone for a run at Tobyhanna Lake in the morning, so we were looking for a shorter hike to fill some afternoon time on a gorgeous day.  We decided to scout the Paradise Creek Nature Preserve for a possible hike with our daughter Katie and puppies Maggie and Ruthie.  This would be a perfect distance for the doggos at about 2 miles.

We wore our hunter orange on this trail because hunting is permitted in the reserve:

Late Fall and what was now the beginning of Winter had painted the landscape with its sepia brush, but the green of mountain laurel and rhododendron still dominated this trail:

Not far into the trail, we came upon this memorial to Alex and Lillian Kurmes, who donated this land for the preserve and the hiking trails:

It was the quotation on the marker that drew our attention:

And this, our life, exempt from public haunt, 
finds tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
semons in stones, and good in everything.

This quote is from Shakespeare's play, "As You Like It,"  which follows its heroine Rosalind as she flees persecution in her uncle's court, to find safety and, eventually, love, in the Forest of Arden (Ardennes).  These particular lines were spoken by Duke Senior, Rosalind's father, upon his introduction in Act II, scene i. The woods are romanticized, as they typically are in pastoral literature, and the mood is set for the remainder of the play. Although perils may present themselves, they remain distant, and, in the end, there truly is “good in everything.”

Ironically, the quotation captures our own feelings as we cloister here in the Pocono Mountains, exempt from public haunt, trying to avoid exposure to Covid-19 and Presidential politics, being reminded by nature that there is good in everything.

In fact this is why we love to hike.

But we digress, because it really is about the landscape we explore when we hike.  On this day, there were some wet spots from rain and snow that had pelted the area during the week prior to our hike:

Obviously, this section of the trial must often be wet, because boardwalks were in place, even where the trail happened to be dry on the day we hiked:

Our hike brought us around to Tank Creek, which flowed toward and past us as it burbled its way down to its confluence with Paradise Creek, which itself empties into Brodhead Creek, and that then into the Delware River in the Delaware Water Gap near Stroudsburg:

While winter in the Pennsylvania forest is not as lush as the summer, it strips the cover away from the ground and reveals flowing stream and vistas more dramatically than they can be seen during the more verdant seasons:

We hiked along Tank Creek for a while, watching it dance and listening to its jazzy conversation.  You might get an idea of what we experienced by watching this video of little Tank Creek as it flows down to meet Paradise Creek.

The trail turned upslope and away from the stream, as we worked our way back toward the trailhead.  Along the way, we came across this tree that just invited us to pause and rest on its prone trunk:

The trial wound along a curved ridge that gave us a view of the Tank Creek valley before it turned again toward the trailhead.  As we reached the end of the hike, we had a pleasant surprise when we found a trail register built as a project by a local Boy Scout Troop.  We felt we should register that we had been here and how much we appreciated the work done by all those unknown people in making this adventure possible for us:

Our final verdict:  This trail would be perfect to bring Katie and the puppies!  We hope to introduce them to it the next time they drive up to visit us.

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