Mar 25 2008

Along the Armstrong Trail

Published by at 11:26 pm under Hiking,Migration,Water and Shore

Allegheny River at Rosston, Armstrong County, Mar 23, 2008Hiking is one of my favorite pastimes combining exercise, the outdoors, peace and quiet, and birds.  Winter weather and lousy footing kept me out of the woods for the past few months so I've been itching to get out for a real hike.

Last weekend I kicked off hiking season with a visit to the Armstrong Trail at Rosston.  It was so beautiful I had to take this picture. 

The Armstrong Trail runs for 52.5 miles along the Allegheny River from Schenley to East Brady on the path of a former rail line.  I hiked two sections:  Rosston to Logansport and Kelly to Godfrey.   Here the trail is maintained but rough and often paved with coal dust, a heritage of its coal-mining past.

Rosston and Logansport were especially good for birds.  In early spring migrating waterfowl find the river a welcome stopover when the lakes are frozen.  Last weekend Lake Arthur at Moraine State Park was still 90% frozen so no wonder the birds were at the river.

At Rosston, Crooked Creek empties into the Allegheny and is protected by a downstream island.  I could see wood ducks and ring-necked ducks feeding in the island shallows. 

Abandoned beehive coke ovens, Kelly Station, PA, March 24, 2008The river was high and the flats at Logansport were flooded so the trees were up to their ankles in water.  Here I found many more wood ducks, ring-necked ducks, a gadwall and a few horned grebes.  One horned grebe was so close I could see his red eyes.

A curious part of the landscape at Kelly and Godfrey are the abandoned 1850’s beehive coke ovens.  They look like a line of big holes in the forested hillside (pictured at right).

It was very quiet on the trail last weekend but I could tell by the tire tracks and the signs saying "No ATVs" that ATVs use the trail extensively and are unwelcome.  Sadly, this means I won't be visiting the trail when the weather is good and the ATVs come out.

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One Response to “Along the Armstrong Trail”

  1. Margeon 26 Mar 2008 at 8:49 pm

    They’re going to get rid of a few of the trees that are in water. Also going to do something about that large “sinkhole” (did you notice?) at Rosston in between the roads going in and out of the boat launch before the walking bridge. It is a nice place–but I was told to not leave anything showing in your vehicle when/where you park, too. Nice people that live there–it’s others from outside.

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