Saturday, January 10, 2015

Wandering the Frozen Tundra along the Wissahickon Creek

Today I met with some MLC trail runners at Valley Green along the Wissahickon Creek (Forbidden Drive).

I usually park at Northwestern Avenue entrance to FD but the trail runners like to start at Valley Green. I can  understand why since the Inn is kinda in the middle (mile 2 of 5.5) of FD and the trails along the bank of the creek can be picked up for all directions from there. In the past when meeting them I go early and park at NW Ave and the run or hike down to Valley Green. I was not feeling like getting up that early this morning. So last night I admitted to being intimidated by parking at Valley Green and asked for help. The group responded kindly and assured me there were no secret turns or difficulties getting to the parking lot. But it was John T's text that saved me. He told me he comes down Wises Mill Rd off Henry Avenue. All along I wanted to come down Wises Mill because I could see from the trail exactly how it approached but every time I tried to map it, the route would not go there. With John's assurances I went that way.

At 8 am I met with this group which included Tootsie who hiked with me. Two others took off before I got the photo.



Tootsie and I crossed the creek and headed northeast toward Bells Mills Road. I had hoped to pass by the Indian Statue but missed it --- again. I have yet to find it on my own. And I have never found the Toleration Statue because I've only tried on my own.  So today's hike keeps my streak of getting 'lost' at Wissahickon intact. Fortunately, it's hard to get hopelessly lost here. If you feel like you are, you just head down to the creek and follow it to a bridge. We did not have to resort to that today but we definitely turned off somewhere I had not intended. We saw some trails I haven't explored here yet. It was great.

The trails were mostly just snow covered with a few icy spots where there was thaw and refreeze but nothing hidden so we managed it just fine. All told we did 5 miles. Ok, 4.9 if you must know the truth. :) After reaching Bells Mills Road we crossed over and returned via the yellow trail on the other side.

I felt great at the end and would have strongly considered going out again except for one rookie mistake. This is the first time out this season in sub freezing temps with my pack and I forgot that I have to keep the tube inside my jacket or it will freeze. Solid as a rock. So I had no water after the first mile and that's not good. It took almost half the trip home in the heated car for it to thaw. I'm happy to say this was my only error. I had appropriate layers top and bottom and had even remembered to Vaseline my face for extra protection against the wind.

The views today were awesome.  You'll have to take my word for it though. The few pictures I managed to take were washed out by the bright sunshine. So you'll have to imagine the creek running through the ice and the gigantic ice patches and icicles coming off the hills and the gorgeous view of the covered bridge from high up on the creek on both sides.

Trust me it was beautiful .

Keep smiling and keep moving
-Paula 


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