Monday, December 4, 2017
Exploring Birch Creek Owl Pond Park
Hiking on Long Island can be a weird experience. There are a fair number of trails, but information on them is scarce, and they aren't typically well marked.
J and I tried to go to a hike in the pine barrens mentioned in my LI hiking guide, which isn't a very helpful guidebook. Now I mean no disrespect to the author's knowledge - he clearly knows a lot about the area. But it isn't arranged well as a guide. Often, it's not clear which trailhead to park at, for example, or the map isn't sufficient guidance. Which might be fine if there was enough info online or at the trailhead.
So when we got to this park, every parking spot was marked "for archery permit holders only," and, one, we didn't have an archery permit, and two, that didn't make us feel very safe, what with it probably being some kind of hunting season. Fortunately, while looking for the park we had seen a kiosk at the start of another hiking trail. We decided to try it with really no idea of what we were in for.
Birch Creek Owl Pond Park (a name with at least two too many nouns) is, per usual, not easy to find info on. When I Googled it, tide tables and sunset times were among the top results. Nor was a map posted at the trailhead.
Without guidance, we had to make random decisions about turns (with the occasional assist from Google Maps). Handwritten signs pointed to various landmarks, with no suggestion of how far they were. (Answer: In some cases, in other parks entirely.)
The good news was that it was a very pretty park, so well worth exploring. We only did about 2.5 miles.