On Monday I made it out to Alley Park ahead of yesterday’s snow. This is the first I’ve made it out in a while. Temperatures for the past couple of weeks have been just a bit too cool (as in, below freezing) to be out there barefoot, and while I obviously can hike wearing moccasins, it’s much harder to motivate myself to get out there and do it.
It was nice to be out again.
Another reason I went to Alley Park is that Trek Ohio recently did a write-up on Alley Park and noticed what they thought might be an eagle’s nest there. So I wanted to check that out.
But the first thing I ran across, shortly after ascending the first hill south of Loretta was this little guy.
It is really pretty rare to see opossums in the daytime. But there he was.
By the way, “opossum” is a Native American word. It comes from the Powhatan “aposoum”, which means “white animal”. Powhatan is an Algonkian language, so it might be expected to find a cognate in other Algonkian languages, and since I have some resources for Lenâpé, I thought I’d check that out.
In Lenâpé, “white” is “òpi” (or sometime “òp” in a combining form) and “animal” is “xàm”. The “x” is a guttural (like the “ch” in Bach), but it’s not too hard to see its relation to the Powhatan “soum”.
However, “òpixàm” is not the Lenâpé word for opossum, it is “òpinkw”. That means “white face”, which is also quite apt for possums. You may think, “white face” is pretty close to “paleface”, and you’re right. The Lenâpé also used “òpinkw” for Europeans.
Anyways, back to the hike, and a better picture I got of the possum after it clambered higher into the tree.
From there I found the (possible) eagle’s nest alongside of Twin Lake. It’s right at the intersection of Alley Trail and Meadow Trail. Here’s a shot from below.
From what I can tell, it’s about 2½ to 3 feet across. Is that large enough? I don’t know. I did not see any signs of habitation, though. I also don’t remember if it was there last year. I don’t recall seeing it, but that doesn’t prove anything.
One of the nice things about the recent cold weather is that we get nice icicles from water seeping through the Blackhand sandstone. Here’s just a bit of that.
The ground had also thawed, which meant that there were quite a few tracks. (And I left quite a few of my own.) I’m usually not very good at tracking, but I managed to follow the path of a Vibram wearer through a lot of my hike.
If that’s not a Vibram, it’s some other toe-shoe for sure. It’s foot-shaped, not regular shoe-shaped, and you can see some toe-slippage. (That was more obvious in a few other tracks I noticed.) Any other hikers, though, who followed behind got hit with a double-whammy of footprints: toe-shoes and no-shoes.
After I circled around Twin Lake, I got on some high ground on the other side and got out my telephoto lens (I came prepared!) to try to get a better side-on look at the nest.
Again, no sign of habitation. Is that an eagle’s nest. About all I can do is compare it to another eagle nest photo I took, up in northern Wisconsin.
My high vantage point gave me a unique perspective on Twin Lake. Here’s a stitched panoramic picture of it.
[Click for the large version.]
It was nice to get out again. The total distance I hiked was 3.3 miles. I have to admit that I felt a bit of that on my soles the next morning—too much inactivity and the soles start to lose it. (That and tennis tends to wear off my callus.)
Anyways, yesterday’s snow should melt again soon and I hope to get out and about more often.