A Dreary And Cloudy But Enjoyable Hike At Locust Lake State Park

A Dreary And Cloudy But Enjoyable Hike At Locust Lake State Park

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It was cloudy with a chance of rain again last Sunday, not the best weather to photograph wildlife. I decided to hike  in Locust Lake State Park, another one of the  State Parks near my home in Hazle Township Luzerne County. 

Locust Lake State Park is located in Ryan Township in Schuylkill County, about 20 miles from my home. It is a 1000 acre park with a 50 acre lake nestled in the mountains of Northeastern Pennsylvania.  The rain stopped when I arrived at the park.

They trails  in the park are located in the camping area where only campers are permitted to park. So I parked in the visitor parking lot and hiked the access road through the north side of the park. The road is at the bottom of a wooded ridge. I was soon greeted with the melodic song of a  wood thrush. I love their beautiful song. 

I was surprised to see and hear over a dozen of them in the woodlands along the road. I have never seen or heard this many wood  thrushes in one place. To see and hear one is a great experience. It was like being at a wood thrush rock concert . And I would see and hear more on my five mile hike. 

I left the road to investigate this little  camp store. It was  not open the last time I  visited two years ago.

It was a quaint little shop that took me back to a long ago  simpler time, when small neighborhood stores were common. 

I continued my hike and found evidence of  a little tragedy on the way, I saw  a  robin egg that appeared to have been the victim  of some sort of predator, possibly  a blue jay or brown headed cowbird. both species of theses birds destroy the eggs of other birds. 

As I continued my hike the beautiful songs of the wood thrushes continued to echo in the woodlands, I saw no other birds along the road but I did see many species of mushrooms growing in the woods including dozes of bolete mushrooms , this is a bitter bolete and

amanita mushrooms these are young blusher mushrooms and

this older ones. 

Ghost or Indian pipes were also widespread in the woods along the road. These are not mushrooms or fungi as some believe but are actually flowering plants that do no produce chlorophyll . 

I followed the road into the camping sites. and I don’t think there was a empty campsite.  I enjoyed hearing the voices of the folks awakening, the laughing of children and the barking of dogs.  And I especially enjoyed the smell of smoke from the may campfires.  It is one of my favorite smells. It was a pleasurable walk despite the overcast skies. 

I saw a few birds here including some American robins and

common grackles. 

I walked past the empty beach,

I then came to  the  trails in the park.  The trailhead is near the Locust Creek which not only provides the waters for the Locust Lake but also  continues onward and provides the waters that create the Lake in Tuscarora State Park. 

I crossed the creek

and made my way to the Discovery Trail. This trail was created as an Eagle Scout project and identifies trees common to the park. 

I walked up the trail, which does get somewhat steep and rocky in spot

and I continued to see and here wood thrushes. 

I also saw a scarlet tanager, 

a few oven birds, 

and I this , an Acadian flycatcher. I think . I also heard a yellow billed cuckoo bird in the distance, 

Abd there were also a lot of  interesting mushrooms growing along this trail too,  including many rosy russulas, 

painted bolete, 

this beautiful golden reishi ,

and this pretty but deadly  destroying angel. 

The woods were very wet  from the rains we had  overnight and, when it started to rain lightly again I decided to head back

However when I reached the trailhead the rains stopped so I continued my hike along the other side  of Locust Creek for about a half mile. 

Once again I saw a lot of mushrooms growing along the trail. 

I returned to the park road and walked along the lake,

through the campgrounds again enjoying the aroma of the campfires. I only saw one more bird on my hike, a female red[winged blackbird. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website  with some more photos of the birds I  saw on my hike. Locust Lake State Park birds July 16 2023. 

However I did see a few other critters including the lad phase of this eastern newt and

this eastern chipmunk. 

I finished my five mile hike on the road on the crest of the dam on the lake. As I neared my Jeep I again heard the beautiful song of the wood thrush. I decided I will have to hike in this park just to hear the  wonderful songs of these birds. And I think their song will be even more joyful on a sunny day.  Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my five mile hike. Locust Lake State Park July 16 2023. 

“This is the only bird whose note affects me like music. It lifts and exhilarates me. It is inspiring. It changes all hours to an eternal morning.” Wood thrush Henry David Thoreau

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