It's actually an appropriate St. Patty's Day post since the namesake of the trail and house was Samuel Dale, an Irish immigrant. Just a little history lesson for ya.... Samuel Dale came to America in 1766. During the War for Independence, he served with the Northumberland militia and fought in the Battle of Princeton. He bought the land that the trail runs through in 1789 and built the house 1793. I haven't been in the house yet. I think they're only open on Sundays or something. Maybe I'll check it out some day, but I'm more interested in the trail. The first part of it runs along Buffalo Creek. I was very excited about all the wildlife I saw.
There were lots of ducks, and that second picture, I'm pretty sure, is a beaver. See it? Yeah, it wouldn't stand still long enough for me to get a decent picture. It was walking along the banks, and jumped in the creek and swam around for awhile, then got out and scampered away. There's also a little spring-fed pond along the trail that was totally full of frogs, but they were too quick to get any pictures.
After the pond, there's a pretty steep set of switchbacks to get up on top of the ridge, but other than that, it's an easy, fairly flat hike. At one point, it goes under some hardcore power lines, but the views are worth the ugliness of the power lines.
I only saw one other person on the trail, and it was a jogger. I felt a little foolish with my day pack, hikers, thick wool socks, water bladder... and this middle aged guy ran by me with just a t-shirt, running shorts, and sneakers. It is nice that it's such a versatile trail, though. I can gear up and go for a nice hour-long hike, or I could strap on some running shoes and go for a jog. I'll definitely be visiting Dale's Ridge again. It's only a few miles from my house, it's a nice length for a quick hike, and it's got some great views, wildlife, and plantlife. In the summer, I don't know that I'll be able to resist jumping in the creek, though!