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Colin Devroe

Reverse Engineer. Blogger.

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Turkey, Archbald, PA – July 2017

This young Jake wanted blood. He spotted me from about 50 yards away and decided to come investigate. I crouched behind a bush and got smaller and smaller to try not to intimidate him and he got within a single yard from me. I have it all on video.

Grass – July 2017

Top of the World, Dunmore Pine Barrens – June 2017

Turkey egg – May 2017

Quad trail – June 2017

Gravel pile, Archbald, PA – June 2017

Pano – South of Aylesworth Park – June 2017

mapmywalk

Under Armour has a free app called mapmywalk that I’ve been using to map hikes that I’ve been taking recently. I really like it.

It doesn’t rely on street maps but rather exact GPS coordinates to map the route I take. This helps me to map trails that I’m hiking that aren’t on any park maps so that I can track the distance I’ve hiked, the trails I’ve already taken, and more. I like to explore new areas and this app is useful to know where I’ve already been.

One other nice feature is that it gives me audio updates while I am hiking at each mile I cross to tell me my current pace and time. My hiking goal isn’t to set a pace or go a particular distance (at least not lately) but this does give me a cue as to how long I’ve been wandering around. I can easily burn a bunch of hours so this app keeps me moving forward so I’m not stumbling around for hours and hours.

Thanks to the team behind this app for making it useful.

Slowing down my hike to see new things

I’ve spent a lot of time outdoors in my area. A lot. Especially when I was younger I was outside more than I was inside. And now that I’m older my main hobbies are hiking, kayaking and photography. All of which force me to explore.

This weekend I was pleasantly surprised to have seen a few new creatures for the first time. I believe I saw them because I was paying more attention than I have been lately. Usually I’ll go on a hike with tons of photo gear, my drone, or a goal of covering a certain trail or distance. However, this weekend my goal was to observe my surroundings and it paid off.

During my hikes I saw an Indigo Bunting, a Scarlet Tanager, and a Snowberry Clearwing for the first time. Not to mention the deer, rivers I crossed, ticks I flicked off, countless birds and insects and blooming plants.

Where normally I would have covered 13 to 20 miles during my hikes I only covered just over 6 miles. But I saw a lot more wildlife, understood where I was physically more than usual, and enjoyed the relaxing sounds of nature far more.

I’m all for picking a trail and hiking it for the exercise… but this weekend has shown me that it pays to slow down, even sit for a while, and look around more often.

 

Jeff Mitchell hikes South Branch Trail

Jeff Mitchell, who has inspired me to hike in several locations due to his blog and books, somewhat recently hiked the South Branch trail of Lackawanna State Park. He writes:

What a place to hike on a hot summer day, I thought.  It was noticeably cooler in this deep, shaded glen along the creek.  We reached a powerline swath and here it got a little confusing.  The trail goes up the swath a short ways and then continues along an old grade higher above the creek.  It was still a nice hike, although the floodplain along the creek is worth exploring.

Yes, it is a great place to hike when it is warmer. Here are my photos and notes of the trail. And yes it is cooler there. Also, I agree it can get confusing in this area he’s mentioning. Even if there isn’t snow cover it can be a little odd. This area of the park can use some attention.

He ended up going a little further than I did on the trail itself and then doubled back. Perhaps I’ll do the same thing the next time I hike this area because the journey I took ended up being 6 miles.