Sunday, December 11, 2016

Tuckahoe State Park and Adkins Arboretum, MD

Tuckahoe State Park - Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Adkins Arboretum

GPS Coordinates 38.96743, -75.93843
Lake and Picnic Area Parking

Tuckahoe State Park Trail Map - Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Adkins Arboretum Trail Map
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From the parking lot, the paved path heading towards the lake leads to...
... the Fitness Trail on the right.
There are a few stations.
But it does not look like they have been maintained.
Although very pretty in the pines, the squiggling back and forth on the Fitness Trail becomes tedious so we took a short-cut path (not on the map) over to the blue-blazed Lake Trail.
Shortly after this bridge the trail becomes a little more hilly and narrow than I would like for the wheelchair so since it was an out and back anyway and we had more of the park to explore, we turned back.
The cacophony of birds on the lake side was LOUD but hard to see them even with leaves down because of all of the branches.
Thought only New Jersey hikes had this.
The Lake Trail comes out on that same paved path that we started on...
... and heads towards the lake.
There is a restroom building on the right and although I am sure this is not allowed, there was nobody around and to leave her outside I would have to take her out of her wheelchair since she can get into trouble in it (like tipping over) if left unsupervised.  Much more efficient just to bring her in with me.
At first I thought this tree by the lake was full of nests.
But on closer inspection, I think this is mistletoe!
A repurposed old tire playground.
Heading towards the street and another parking lot, turn left...
... then right on the ...
...Tuckahoe Valley Trail.
I winterized Shawnee's ride.  Those aluminum bars are darned cold when I have to grab on to them so some pipe insulation did the trick.
There are lots of bridges on this hike.
The Tuckahoe Valley Trail sort of disappears temporarily through Adkins Arboretum.  Instead of keeping right to meet back up with the Tuckahoe Valley Trail, we did some exploring in the arboretum first.
Nice signs at every intersection but you still need a map to know which way to go.
We could not stop to take pictures at the overlook on the Creekside Trail because people were throwing sticks into the creek for their labs to fetch and it was quite chaotic.
The downed leaves come in quite handy because Shawnee usually hikes behind me and I can hear that she is right behind me with the crunching of the leaves.  When that sound stops, it is always because ...
... she is stuck and needs help.
The South Tuckahoe Valley Trail, which is still in the arboretum and not blazed, leads back to the blue-blazed Tuckahoe Valley Trail..
Could it be?
Yes, indeed, it is balloon season again now that I can see them better with the undergrowth gone.  I have to count how many are in my collection now but I have been collecting for a year and I am pretty sure it's pushing 30 balloons.
At this intersection we leave the arboretum and keep right at all intersection, back on...
... the blue-blazed Tuckahoe Valley Trail.
Time for a break.  She no longer wants her chicken jerky that she always insisted on during hikes.  I think it is becoming too hard for her to chew, even the soft kind I had started getting wasn't appealing to her any more.
So now it's freeze-dried chunks of stuff that she LOVES and that are easier to chew.
Lots of beaver activity along Tuckahoe Creek.
The last intersection brings us to a hard right turn crossing this bridge over Tuckahoe Creek and then right on ...
Tuckahoe Creek
... the orange-blazed Pee Wee's Trail.
This trail is the most rugged but still doable for the wheelchair with only a handful of challenging spots.
A committee of turkey vultures.
More vintage vehicle ruins.
Pee Wee's Trail comes out on Crouse Mill Road.  Although the map shows that it ends here...
... the orange blazes continue along the road all the way to the lake.
Before crossing the bridge over the dam, a quick trip to see what is at the lake and wow, so glad I did that...
... my first ever otter sighting!  He was on the dam and another was in the water.
Right after this picture he noticed me and slipped back into the water to join his friend.  They popped their heads up every so often to see if I was still there so figured we had better move along so he could finish his lunch.
Crossing the dam on the bridge.
This continues on a short distance back to that playground and the parking lot.
But first, a Great Blue Heron in flight.
Turning left at the lake towards the playground.
And there is the heron.
Back to the paved path passing the Lake Trail then the Fitness Trail and ending at the parking lot.

Last month when we hiked at Henelopen State Park, DE I had photographed a banded peregrine falcon and reported the band numbers to the USGS.  Last week I received the following information from the USGS regarding the bird:


  1. Hello: I find it amazing how our feathered friends can take such long trips. What a great bit of information that the Peregrine Falcon was born in Ma. and tagged while it could not yet fly but somehow found its way to Delaware. It was something that you were able to get those great photos of those otters. My favorites are when Shawnee is in the photos. She seems to be one sweetheart and the best kind of hiking partner. By the way, I appreciate reading about the lightweight boot covers. I just sent for some. Thanks again.
    Bill from Clifton.

    1. Thanks, Bill. Yes, that was quite a thrill to get info on that falcon. Shawnee certainly is the best hiking partner - always ready to go, never complains, has always known how to behave properly on the trail, what more can you ask for? Just hope I can keep her around another 16 years :)


  2. Hi Daniela, Always enjoy your pictures. I love seeing Shawnee. I don't blame you for taking her into the restroom with you.:) That is so neat that you got such a great picture of the falcon and then were able to get an acknowledgement back. Thanks for sharing! Joanne from NJ

  3. That was so cool you were able to get info back from USGS about the falcon & that you were there in the first place to grab that photo! Hey, I'd take Shawnee in the bathroom too and not risk leaving her alone. Who wouldn't! :) Another great (more gentler for us seniors) hike to keep in mind. Looks like it might be a good snowshoe, too!


    1. The bare tree that falcon was in was right next to a row of pines. Had she been in those pines, I would have never seen her. And yes, I think definitely a good snowshoe!