Hawk Mountain Sanctuary hike

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary hike

Earlier this month I was looking for a decent hike on my way to Virginia. I found it at Hawk Mountain. This refuge for birds of prey was founded in 1934 by Rosalie Edge, who saw the impact of raptor hunting in the area. With 2,600 acres, this is now a research center, a learning facility and one of the best places to view the annual fall hawk migration.

So I was in, of course! I arrived ready to hike and see some hawks! At the very beginning, I tripped and skinned my knee. No problem, I thought, just get going. Aptly named, The River of Rocks trail was only slightly challenging. So I decided to add a short loop since the entire day was devoted to this place. That loop was followed by a steep ascent of 900 feet, with no switchbacks, which took a while as I had to stop every 200 ft or so to catch my breath! Whew! But I pushed on, as I was looking forward to arriving at the top of the ridge and the final 1.5 miles as I thought “skyline” meant you’d have a view. Instead, the last portion consisted of giant boulders and cautious footing, meaning forget the view! Just finish this thing!

Hawk Mountain Sanctuary hike

Hawk Mountain hike along ridge. The red circle indicates the next trail marker!

The very last climb was the hardest for me, as I was tired, bruised and achy.  I asked a younger lady who had just passed me, to please hold my hike poles and backpack, as I couldn’t get a leg up onto the last giant boulder with them.

Now, finally, at the top, feeling safe and catching my breath, there were the magnificent views.  Except – only one hawk was viewed that day.  No – really! The day before they spotted 37 raptors, and on my day, only one!  Not terribly disappointed as I felt pretty smug that I was able to complete 5.5 darn difficult miles!

Here are sketches started on site, but completed and color added at home. Hawk Mountain Sanctuary hike Hawk Mountain Sanctuary hike

Stay tuned to hear about my latest hiking adventure!

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