Hawk Mountain, 3 December 2005

Despite the temps flirting around the freezing mark, the day being sunny, I took a ride via scenic roads to Hawk Mountain. Today & Sunday, they are having a Christmas weekend with special events and sales. Hawk Mountain is dedicated to preserving the natural beauty of the mountain range, and its habitat for birds of prey.

Riding to Hawk Mt. from home, I decided to take the backroads around Lebanon, thru Mt. Zion and pick up PA 419 after Frystown, then on to PA 183 then 895 to Hawk Mt. Now, I'm finding that PA 895, which runs from Pine Grove to Snydersville, is a very scenic road.

Its just a nice one hour ride, after which I entered the visitor center and signed up for a family plan. The benefits include free admission to the trails and a newsletter about the events during the year.

The next part was a physical endurance test. Entering the trails, its about 100 yards to the first scenic overlook, but then its one mile to the north overlook. How hard could that be? Well, the trail started out nice as a four foot path, very smooth. About half way, the smooth trail vanished and a path of rocks with orange paint came into play! From there, its a cardiac trek uphill to the North Point Lookout! I put my feet into low gear, took advantage of some wooden benches along the way, but made it to the lookout.

What can I say? The views were spectacular, even in the dead of a freezing but sunny day. Several onlookers were there with varied equipment, looking for hawks. One was spotted on the horizon, then it disappeared into the forest. I took several pictures and a movie clip to capture the panoramic view, but nothing can substitute for being there on those rocks with the view stretching out around you.

I figured that to get home by sunset, I'd better make tracks. The trip back was easier, as it was mostly downhill. After making it back to the broad path, it was easier to make it back to the Wing.

I traveled home via the Interstate, as the sun was setting and the temperature was falling quickly. Despite the cold temps, my gear kept me warm. Still, I was grateful to pull into my driveway as the sun set, and thankful for a very nice ride and hike along the mountain.

I'm sure that when the winter turns to spring and warmer conditions prevail, I'll be back to view the beauty of the mountain and the birds in flight.

Hawk Mountain Map

The view from South Lookout

The trail turns to rocks!

The view from North Lookout

North Lookout divide Looking east from North Lookout

These photos cannot replace being there and seeing the view through human eyes!