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Monday, September 20, 2010

Union Canal Trail, Angelica Creek Trail and the SRT

I'm finding that there are quite a few good trails in Berks County PA. My most recent cycling trip was on the Union Canal Trail to the SRT and a bypass on the Wyomissing Creek Trail and the Angelica Creek Trail. I love meandering my way through the mix of urban and wooded trails on paths of dirt, crushed stone and sometimes asphalt. I feel so lucky to have a chance to see the sites and take in nature as you only can on foot or by bike (bicycle). To step through history while on the Union Canal or to cruise along on the old rail bed of the SRT is so invigorating. The only thing wrong with these trails is that it's hard to say when to stop. A casual ride led to another long cruise to Birsdboro PA.

On my journey I was lucky enough to stop and explore an 18th century cemetery slimmed down between the highways Route 422 and Route 10. This poor cemetery has been robbed over and over again, but not by grave robbers, but first by the Union Canal taking land back in the 1800's, then the railroad taking more later that century into the 1900's, but then twice by PENDOT in the mid and late 1900's to build the current highways that crunch this poor cemetery into such a slim little parcel about a third of its original size. Once with room for 200 plots, now a mere 27 graves remain. Moving the remains of 2 children seamed a bit morbid even for PENDOT, but at least they came to final rest nearby.

The angelica Creek nature trail was born from the damage caused by the earthen damn breech on route 10 which emptied the Angelica Lake in 2001 and returned it to its prior state as a stream weaving its way to the Schuylkill River. The Berks County Parks Dept has done a wonderful job of preserving this quiet little sanctuary and improving it since 2001. Birds and other wildlife are calling this little patch of heaven home now.

A trip off of the beaten path up stream from the SRT led me back a long access road that is not suitable for riding unless you like riding on the baseball size stones similar to those you would normally find along a rail bed. This would even be a difficult walk, but it was still a nice diversion. If you have ever driven on RT 422 near Reading and noticed a huge painted rock in the middle of the Schuylkill River, I can now say, been there, done that, and I don't need to do that part of the ride again. But after that bone jarring ride I still felt up to continuing South on the SRT all the way to Birdsboro.

My next trip on the SRT will start where I left off with the hope of winding up in Pheonixville PA, Oaks PA or maybe even go as far as Manyunk. We'll see how adventurous I feel and how well the trails are marked and whether I can pry myself away from Dee for the day. Without her love and support I would not enjoy the outdoors as much as I do.

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