I’m recovering from an injury to my right knee, and my hikes at the moment are limited in distance and difficulty. But I am getting out to enjoy the fall colors and to speed recovery, and because this website isn’t called A Taste For Sitting In Front of Your Computer. (Admittedly I’m there now, but still….)

Fall colors are at their peak, or near their peak, in my area, and so I’ve been keeping hikes local. I visited the Crow’s Nest Preserve on Sunday for a hike, expecting to find the trees ablaze, and stumbled into something else.

Natural Lands Trust, owner of the Crow’s Nest and sixteen other preserves in Eastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, acquires land from owners in many different ways, and the the properties often come with buildings. Parts of the 612 acres of the Crow’s Nest are from a former farm, and among the structures on the preserve are a house built in 1817 and a barn. On Sunday afternoon the preserve hosted an open house to celebrate the renovation of the house. In the future it will become the home of the preserve manager and interns. Part of the barn will become a visitor’s center.


I toured the first floor of the house, and visited the barn. I wonder how much of this wood is original?

Beams in the lower part of the barn.

The house and barn are located a mile by trail from the visitor parking lot. I was about to head back when I noticed a tractor pulling an open trailer filled with spectators. Hayrides are common in this area, but I’d never been on one, and when people began to climb into the trailer for the next ride, I joined them.

Preserve Manager Dan Barringer led us across the preserve, following the road past the barn and the visitor’s parking area and onto the red-blazed Deep Woods Trail, which I’ve only hiked a short stretch. While its called the Deep Woods Trail, the stretches we drove on were farmland, or fields being allowed to revert to their natural state. I enjoyed the bumpy ride, and a chance to see a part of the preserve I haven’t hiked on yet.

Dan Barringer is outstanding in his field.

After the hayride, I resumed my hike. It was late in the day and I wanted to get in more distance, and more photos. I was distracted by these cuties, having lunch near a fence.

Much friendlier than the Black Angus my neighbors raise.

Once I passed the cows, I came to the high point of my hike, the hilltop with the amazing surround views.

As the sun sank and the shadows lengthened, I headed back to the car. My right knee was a little sore, but it was worth it. I’d seen more of the Crow’s Nest, had a hayride and house tour, and felt like I belonged in the outdoors. The hike itself was a little over two miles, but it was a good two miles. I was outside. It was good.