Winter brings new sights, joys to Harrison Hills in Natrona Heights
Harrison Hills Park offers “so much year round,” entomologist Grace Tabitha Clark says.
The winter season, the Harrison resident says, presents the chance to experience its natural beauty in a completely different way.
“The snow-blanketed woods are a sight to behold, and the view from the lookout at the top of the riverside trail is spectacular at this time of the year,” she says. “For those whose enjoyment of the park in spring or fall is dampened by allergies or hay fever, the clear crisp winter air is bound to clear your head.”
All are good reasons to consider taking part in Saturday's Venture Outdoors' “Stews Hike,” says Clark, who, with husband Spencer Clark, will lead the “moderately easy” trek covering up to 5 miles over undulating terrain. “It's a wonderful opportunity to meet people and share our favorite trails in the park,” she says.
Casual hikers should find it quite doable, says Clark, who is a member of Friends of Harrison Hills Park. Her husband serves on the organization's council.
“We will go at a slow pace with two or three rest stops. There will be an option for those who prefer a shorter-easier distance. We can lead this second group through a shortcut loop,” she says.
A change of shoes and socks is recommended, as the trails can get muddy and wet. A snack and water also are suggested.
“Venture Outdoors always has a great mixing of singles, couples, and participants of all ages,” Clark says.
After the hike, participants will adjourn to the park's indoor Environmental Center for hearty homemade hot stews and rolls.
Among the offerings is Council of Friends' member Sue Vertosick's well-regarded vegetarian stew.
“We have heard that it is amazing,” says Clark, who loves making all-natural and organic foods from scratch. Clark will be baking the five-grain dinner rolls to accompany the stews.
“These hikes provide avenues to Venture Outdoor members and the public to explore and learn about great natural areas while getting some exercise,” she says.
Although it may be normal to feel sluggish and unmotivated to get outdoors during this time of the year, such exercise could be especially helpful to those who suffer from Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Clark says. “This afternoon hike should get us a much-needed dose of sunlight, however weak,” she says.
Harrison Hills Park has 500 acres offering picnic shelters, and 14 miles of color-marked trails for running, hiking, biking, birding and horseback riding.
Cross-country skiing and snow shoeing are options in the winter. Nature programs for all ages are held in the Environmental Learning Center.
“Participants on this Stew Hike will see woodlands, conifer stands, the pond, and the Watts Memorial Overlook with spectacular views of Allegheny River 400 feet below the park,” Clark says.
It is yet another way, she agrees, to encourage people to get out into the environment, and to celebrate, rather than hibernate, in winter.
Rex Rutkoski is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-226-4664 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Arnold settles health benefits lawsuit with former councilman
- Despite challenging weather, home sales continue to rise
- Fawn teen wins national Patriot’s Pen essay contest
- Fire damages vacant Vandergrift home
- Retired teacher pushes black history forward at Peoples Library presentation
- Months of hard work go into Alle-Kiski high-school musicals
- Mia Z (Zanotti) of Hyde Park advances on NBC’s ‘The Voice’
- 3 charged with selling heroin that killed Lower Burrell woman
- Teenage suspect in Leechburg killing held for trial
- Leechburg man charged with molesting girls, watching child pornography
- Drivers survive head-on crash on Route 356 in Allegheny Township