Take a Hike

This week’s blog is a guest post written by Samuel W., a Bucktails alumni. Samuel plans on pursuing a career in forestry. Samuel enjoys hiking and just being outside. He also enjoys drawing, painting and, playing a variety of instruments. When Samuel is outside he spends his time looking at trees and making metal notes of which species are where and which species are growing the best in that particular area. He was interested in WLA because he knew that he would learn lot about forestry and also it gave him a place to learn and use leadership skills.

Today is September 2nd, 2022 and today I took a hike. I take many hikes, mostly because I just like being in the woods, and I am blessed to live on property with thick woods, wide fields, steep ridges, and a flowing creek. My house is on top of a ridge covered with woods so that is where the hike started.

As I walked down the ridge I notice a very good mix of species. Lots of Red Maple, Sugar Maple, Chestnut Oak, Red Oak, Black Oak, White Oak, and Shagbark Hickory. But the most plentiful species was White Pine. I made my way to the bottom of the ridge where the fields began. I walked along a tree line to see Honey Locust, American Beech, American Elm, Black Walnut and Sycamore.

This is the creek that I crossed, notice the Eastern Hemlocks.

The fields ended where a creek ran. Across the creek was my favorite place that the hike took me. We haven’t had much rain so the creek was shallow. I rolled up my pants and waked through more than eight inches of water. I stopped in the middle of the creek and looked down stream. On the left I could see the ridge I was about to climb up. It had big Hemlocks that reach across the water. On the right, strong sycamore trees stood close to he edge of the creek, I crossed, and continued.

This is the top of the ridge on the other side of the creek.

I looked up the ridge, it was very steep, and the ground was soft, covered with moss and Hemlock needles. Hemlock was the only species I could see. Because of the steepness I had to climb by reaching for a trunk of a tree then pulling my self up then find another tree and continue. I did this until I found a path that ran parallel with the ridge that was worn in by coyotes and other animals.

Eventually I stopped to take in the amazing vista. I sat down on the soft ground with my legs stretched out. I looked out over the creek, the fields, and the ridge where I started my hike. Then I looked to my left to see the ridge I was currently on. I listened, it was quiet, the needles in the trees and on the ground absorbing any sound. All I could hear was a soft breeze blowing through the branches of the forest, and the water in the creek below. I thought to my self, “This is why I hike, to get to places like this and take in Penn’s woods.” So I encourage everyone to take a hike, and find places like the one I found, where you can enjoy just being outside.

The photos used in this blog belong to the author.