A Busy Saturday. Two College Graduation Ceremonies And A Quick Hike In Tioga State Forest

A Busy Saturday. Two College Graduation Ceremonies And A Quick Hike In Tioga State Forest

Graduation (29 of 46)
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It was a busy Saturday. I was up early. I was proud to attend two graduation ceremonies.   After waking up at 6 a.m. I walked 3 1/2 miles near my home in Hazle Township Luzerne County.   I  then took a nice drive to Bloomsburg under partly cloudy skies  . My  niece  Brooke graduated from  Bloomsburg University  with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Language and Speech Pathology. It was  a beautiful ceremony.

I left immediately after the ceremony to avoid the traffic and  took a nice scenic drive through the Endless Mountains . My nephew Mike’s ceremony was scheduled for 4 p.m. at Mansfield University. It was a nice ride through the mountains on Route 15. Although there were some threatening clouds, the rain held off.

However, I was hungry and there were not a lot of places to eat. I finally saw a sign for the Fly Brother’s Turkey Ranch Restaurant in Trout Run.

I soon learned this restaurant and family that operated it had  a long of history. It  was established at this location in 1939. It’s specialty is turkey, which I do not eat, so I had to settle for a mediocre , but filling, fish sandwich and some good coleslaw. However,  judging from the many customers, and local coming in for takeout I believe the turkey and other items on the menu would be filling and delicious.

A sign in front of the restaurant indicated we were in the Allegheny Mountain Range and at an elevation of 1704 feet. This is about the same elevation as my home  in Luzerne County.

It is about and 1 1/2  scenic hour drive from Bloomsburg to Mansfield.   I wanted to get a quick hike in before the ceremony at Mansfield University and, while at lunch,  I saw some trails in the Tioga State Forest near the town of Arnot.

I drove to  the small village of Arnot and parked alongside the road,

near some ponds.

The ponds looked manmade but looked like they supported a lot of wildlife. I saw beaver dams on the ponds, and there must have been fish in the ponds since there were a few people fishing along the ponds shore.

I walked along the main highway to the dirt road to the Tioga State Forest,

and along the way saw this Baltimore oriole singing in a treetop, a good sign I thought.

I love these colorful and cheerful birds. 

I had planned to hike on the Sawmill Trail, but when I started my hike I saw a few ponds on my AllTrail app and decided to follow the main dirt road in the state forest.  The trees,  mainly second growth maple,  black cherry with a few large white pines and hemlocks, were green and lush.

There were many hawthorn trees covered in their white flowers.

Wildflowers also  bloomed  along the trail, including  wild strawberries,

and yellow coltsfoot flowers,

many having already gone to seed.

As I walked on the road,

  I saw a male red-winged blackbird attacking a broad winged hawk overhead.

It got cloudy and the threatened rain again, but it held off and I soon came to a pond,

where I saw some wood duck which quickly flew off, and this great blue heron that flew to the other side of the pond. There was another beaver dam on the pond,

and a few red-winged blackbirds. 

I kept my eye on the time as I walked on the dirt road. I  was about a half hour from my hotel near Mansfield University and I wanted to be there by 3 p.m.

I came to a second pond with a large beaver lodge in the middle.

I discovered there was a bird blind on the pond,

but I saw no birds from inside the blind.

It was a scenic pond and it looks like some folks camped here. The fire place looks like it was just used recently.

I was out about a 1  mile when I realized I better head back. I wish I could have continued on my hike on this green and quiet trail  but I wanted to be at my nephew’s ceremony on time.

Walking back I noticed some Christmas ferns and

partridge berries along the trail, and saw

both a female

and male eastern towhee.

I hiked back to the main road near the village of Arnot,

and walked past the ponds near my Jeep,

seeing a few noisy  Canada geese on the water.

I finished my 2 mile hike a little later then planned. It was now 2:45 p.m. I drove  to Mansfield and arrived at  the Hampton Hotel around 3;15.

I quickly showered and changed and was off to the Mansfield University graduation ceremony. I parked at one of the remote parking lots. It was over a 1/2 mile from the stadium were the graduation was being held. I  walked since I wanted to get my usual 7 miles of hiking in and this walk would do it.

I meet my brother Mike and his family  and we proudly watched my nephew Mikey enter the stadium for the ceremony where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology.  It started to rain and the ceremony took longer than expected but it was a nice experience to see join his younger and older sisters as a college graduate.

We met Mikey after the ceremony and chatted a bit. But my brother and his family were driving back home and had to get on the road. I was staying in Mansfield and it was after 6 p.m. and I was hungry. I drove to the Farmer’s Table in the small town of Blossburg, about 8 miles away in a torrential rain. I had a delicious and filing meal of fried catfish, mixed vegetable and mashed potatoes. I was full and tired. I drove back to my hotel and began to edit my photos but was sound asleep by 8;30.  I was exhausted but looking forward to exploring some more of the Tioga State Forest in the morning.   Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with some more photos from my drive and hike. Tioga State Forest and Graduation May 11 2024.

“You’re off to great places. Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So … get on your way.” — Dr. Seuss

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson



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