Monday, May 4, 2020

PA Old Pinnacle Road Out and Back

May is National Take A Hike Month! At least it is in my house where a walk or hike a day is required for maintaining positive mental health during this long pandemic shut-down.  A few weekends ago Amos and I hiked the Pinnacle Preserve and walked a section of the unpaved Old Pinnacle Road north of Kelly's Run. South of Kelly's Run the old road was paved but it is quickly growing over with vegetation and is part of the Kelly's Run trail system. It's a good hill walk workout!

Old Pinnacle Road closing in with vegetation.

We got a late start after dinner, but it was delightful to walk in cool breeze, no humidity, and brilliant low sun. We began at the Kelly's Run trail head at the old Holtwood Park, now managed by the Lancaster Conservancy as part of the Kelly's Run Nature Preserve. A mile through the woods, across a big bluestem meadow, and down a steep section of trail, then finally to the old road gate that starts a long descent to Kelly's Run at the bottom of the valley, it was all downhill from the car.

Wild Geranium 

On the old road it seemed Indigo Buntings were a dime a dozen darting constantly back and forth across the shrinking pavement surface. A Great-Crested Flycatcher sang from the edge of a small grove of Paw Paw. Yellow-Rumped Warblers flitted through the down slope underbrush. Towhees called from the high slope. Pileated Woodpeckers worked in tandem on a dead standing pine. A Barred Owl called from the hill top. Very birdy!

Wild Radish

Paw Paw blossom

The river hills across the river put on quite a show in the slanting light. From a view point not yet obscured by leaves, the Oakland Run valley was beautifully defined by the light and shadow of the contour of hills. The Mason Dixon Trail runs along the river and right up that valley to the game lands on Posey Road where Amos and I had hiked the day before.

A cross-river view of the Oakland Run Valley and its sister hills

Cascading spring and spring flowers.


American Dogwood

The road walk is a little under a mile and steady down until it reaches the remains of the bridge that spanned Kelly's Run. It is now a skeletal frame of iron trusses and beams, but still beautiful in form and age.  A Phoebe has built a nest beneath an I-beam and it didn't tolerate our presence for too long. We backed away and slipped down the muddy trail to the creek where the ruins of an small dam are still visible.

At the Pinnacle Road Bridge over Kelly's Run

Kelly's Run and a partial dam ruin

We stayed exploring the creek for a good half hour and when I got chilly I made the executive decision to start the climb out. Even though this out and back is only three miles, one of our shorter day hikes, the hill climb back generated heat through extra calories burned. It was a constant uphill walk from the creek to the gate, then upwards into the woods with a steep final pitch to reach the breezy native grass meadow at the top. Just as the sun was setting we reached the car with a cool drink for Amos and hand sanitizer for me.

Old woods road back

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