One of yesterday’s hikes was at the Crow’s Nest Nature Preserve, one of 17 tracts of land in Eastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey administered by Natural Lands Trust and open to hikers. The Crow’s Nest is just outside French Creek State Park, and runs along the stream that gives the park its name. The preserve’s website is: http://www.natlands.org/preserves-to-visit/list-of-preserves/crows-nest-preserve/
I had high hopes for the Creek Trail based on my positive experience at another Natural Lands Trust preserve in the fall, but I chose poorly. The Creek Trail would have been fine many other days, but not a day after the heaviest rains in six months. Between the rain and the beaver activity on this stretch of French Creek I was getting wet again and again. For the second time in two weeks my poor Brooks Cascadias were soaked.
After a half-mile of my feet swimming in brackish water I turned around. But regardless the day was glorious, and I will return on a drier occasion.
One other concern I had was about the planking for stream and marsh crossings. The wood in this crossing was old and weathered, and it bowed and complained under my weight. I’d hesitate to trust it under other circumstances.
Still, despite the wet feet and the turnaround, I hiked a mile in a beautiful preserve. I didn’t see any beavers, but I did see the results of their labors. There were many pools formed along French Creek; as usual with beavers, its just one dam thing after another.