Matt and I have gotten into the habit of taking Piper hiking nearly every weekend. We have a few favorite spots like Ridley Creek State Park and Okehocking Preserve, but sometimes it’s fun to let our pup explore a new place. Earlier this month when the weather was especially nice (aka not below freezing!) we decided to bring Piper to the Woodlawn Trustees Preserve. The preserve stretches for thousands of acres on either side of the Pennsylvania-Delaware border and features miles of hiking trails, scenic sections of the Brandywine Creek and breathtaking vistas of rolling hills and woodlands.
Matt and I have hiked at Woodlawn several times but last weekend was our first visit since the area was officially declared a National Monument in March 2013. With the exception of a few new signs in the parking lot the National Monument designation didn’t seem to change the area much which is good because it’s already perfect just the way it is!
Piper had a blast on our hike. She sniffed everything, tried to convince us to let her swim in the Brandywine (it was 40° out – not happening, pup!), and confidently stared down the mountain bikers that were out on the trails in force. She is definitely getting accustomed to me taking photos of her on hikes… sometimes I think she poses on purpose!
In the shot above Pipe stopped to listen to the eerie sound of a train whistle floating through the cold winter forest. I learned afterwards that the train we heard is the East Penn Railroad (you can actually see the locomotive in the Granogue Estate photo, above) and it runs about three times a week to take steel to and from a recycling plant in Pennsylvania. Cool!
Below Piper was pointing at some unseen (or imagined) prey. She looks so grown up!
Matt, Piper and I hiked a nice 4 mile loop that began at the parking lot on Brandywine Creek Road just south of the intersection with Smithbridge Road on the Delaware side of the border. We finished with an easy flat mile along the Brandywine Creek. During warmer months this is a very popular area for kayaking and canoeing but last weekend we only saw one lone canoer (canoeist?), frantically paddling upstream against the current. I bet her arms were tired once she made it to her destination!
If you find yourself in the southern PA/northern Delaware area on a nice day I would strongly recommend that you pay a visit to the Woodlawn Preserve. Detailed information on the area is somewhat scattered between Woodlawn’s web site, the new National Park Service page, and an preservationist group called Save The Valley so I suggest checking out all three organizations for information before planning a day trip. Here’s a map from Save the Valley with our 4 mile hike overlaid in red:
When the weather gets nicer I will hopefully return to Woodlawn with a running buddy for some quality trail running. Maybe by the end of the summer I will be running here with little Piper! I’m pretty sure she will think that’s the best thing ever. 😃