My friend Ron wished to go to Hawk Mountain for his birthday, so his wife e-mailed a bunch of friends and got together a small gathering for a huge lunch and a short hike. I was pleased to attend!
We met at 11:45 at the Port Clinton Hotel, in Port Clinton, PA, which prides itself on serving huge portions. I think their burgers must start with more than half a pound of ground beef. I had the Mushroom Swiss burger, and it was cooked perfectly to my medium-rare specification. The four of us shared a large order of fries, and we were unable to finish them. I couldn’t finish my burger, either, though it was very yummy.
After lunch, we loaded the four of us into a Mini Cooper for the short drive from Port Clinton to Hawk Mountain. After putting on our hats, choosing our viewing equipment and cameras, and paying our trail fees, we crossed the road to the trail.
The weather was beautiful – warm and sunny, but not too warm and not humid. The sun was lovely through the still-bare branches of the woods, and there was a perfect breeze at the rocky lookout points where the sun was strongest, so nobody got too hot. It was my first time visiting the mountain, and the trails were busy and the lookout points were getting a fair amount of traffic. Families with small children, groups of teens, random people who seemed to just want a place to sit and talk on their cell phones. Why come to such a nice place to talk on your phone? I suppose it beats talking on the phone inside your house. But it seems awfully public for one of the conversations we heard.
We saw a lot of turkey vultures, which are not that special, in my opinion. They are found all over Pennsylvania. But while we were at the North Outlook, which has an excellent view down the valley the birds fly up, the Hawk Mountain interns there pointed out a bald eagle, which took its time soaring by. That was pretty special.
It was also pretty special to relax in the outdoors, to laugh and joke, and enjoy the sunshine! And never fear, I wore sunscreen and did not get a burn.
I’m really glad I got out into the woods this weekend! Happy Birthday, Ron!