Happy New Year with a Boyce-Mayview Park hike: wetlands, creeks, beavers, woodpeckers, waterfalls...

Happy New Year 2014!

Abby and I started off this new year with a lovely hike with the Pittsburgh hiking meetup group, led by Gary Byrdman. It was in Boyce-Mayview Park, a park we’d never been to before in Upper St. Clair.

It was a beautiful day, not too cold (over 20F), and mostly not too muddy or icy either, thankfully. Abby and I did each use a pair of hiking poles, and many of us used MICROSpikes or Yaktrax also during the hike, but it turned out that the spikes were actually something of a hassle because snow accumulated under them for people. If it had been more icy out, I would have used spikes, however.

I was originally hoping to wear my relatively new minimalist New Balance Minimus Zero trail running shoes for this hike, but quickly decided that this would be a bad idea mainly because of the risk of getting my feet cold and wet, so I wrote my old Montrail Rockridge trail running shoes, which I haven’t worn in years because they have gotten a bit small for me, requiring me to wear very thin socks (which I did on this hike). Far from minimalist, but in the winter in the face of water dangers (and indeed, we had a couple of stream crossings in which I got a little wet), I don’t have a true minimalist shoe yet.

Montrail Rockridge

The hike lasted about two and a half hours.

We had a great group of people, and Gary even brought breakfast to share with us. After the hike, I eagerly sampled his treats. What a guy! During the hike, he pointed out interesting features, such as beaver dams, woodpecker holes (and we heard woodpeckers too), places that are great for birding in the spring, and a nice waterfall that was partially iced but running.


If you’re a member of the Pittsburgh hiking meetup group, you have access to the event page and the photo page for the hike, where I uploaded a couple dozen photos.

I’m posting just a few here, to whet your appetite for this park. There was such varied terrain and so much to see!

Parking at the trail head:

Breakfast by Gary:

A beaver was at this tree:

Stream crossing:

On a trail:


Going uphill:

Short break:

One of the meadows we crossed:



Abby and I really enjoyed this hike. We promised ourselves that we would return to it next spring and summer. There’s clearly so much to enjoy and explore in Boyce-Mayview Park.

If you want to check it out yourself, the Pittsburgh Meetup group often has hikes in this park.

I love living in Western Pennsylvania. There is so much to see around here. I will never get bored here. I feel blessed to be living here in Pittsburgh.

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