It was a cool overcast morning when I awoke in my hotel in Mansfield on Sunday morning, where I was visiting my nephew Mikey. After a cup of coffee at the hotel I picked him up at his dormitory at the University. We were headed back to the Hills Creek State Park. Located in northcentral Tioga County, the 400 acre park is about a 15 minute drive from Mansfield. Along the way we once again encountered a number of deer in the many farm fields,
and woodlands along the way.
My nephew brought along his fishing gear and was going to try his luck at catching some fish while I explored the park. There were very few people in the park when I began my hike. The thick clouds hung over Hills Creek Lake as I began my hike on the the Lake Side Trail.
The trail, as the name suggests, followed the shores of the 137 acre lake. I followed it in a southerly direction through the picnic area and to the dam breast of the man-made lake.
There were mostly oak and maple trees showing their peak Fall colors on this portion of the trail.
After crossing the dam I found the trail on the eastern side of the lake continued under a large stand of Norwegian spruce trees. This is were my nephew and I searched for the bald eagle we saw on the night before.
No bald eagle on this morning, only a couple of mallard ducks. The song birds and other migratory birds were long gone from this northernmost part of the State.
There were not many wildflowers in bloom either, just a few remaining goldenrod,
and alpine aster flower were seen on my hike.
The trail followed the lake through the spruce forest and to the boat ramp on the north shore,
Here it left the lake for a few hundred yards and into an older mixed conifer/hardwood forest.
I kept my eyes peeled among the old trees and tree stumps for some edible mushrooms but I didn’t find any. There were many bracken,
and sensitive ferns growing along the trail.
Contrasting the browns and yellow colors of the ferns were orange and red colors of the oaks and maple trees and,
Virginia creeper vines along the trail.
Scurrying on the leaf covered ground were a few squirrels and chipmunks,
gathering and storing acorns for the approaching winter.
The trail again turned south and neared the lake. Here I saw a beaver lodge,
and some brilliant red maples along the shore of the lake.
The trail led to the camping area. I enjoyed the smell of the wood campfires and the aroma of many breakfast cooking in the campground. I am hoping to camp here some time in the near future.
The trail now followed the road back to the picnic area. A few crows flew overhead as I finished my walk. My nephew Mikey met me at the car. He was unsuccessful in his attempt to catch some fish.
It was still early but I wanted to head back to my home in Hazle Township, a two hour drive, so I dropped my nephew off at his dormitory. checked out of my hotel and began my drive home. it was a nice drive, even on a cloudy day. The leaves were at their peak fall color. It was a nice visit to Tioga County and I hope to return soon.Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs from my hike. Tioga County Hills Creek State Park Hike October 11 2020
“The more civilized man becomes, the more he needs and craves a great background of forest wildness, to which he may return like a contrite prodigal from the husks of an artificial life.”– Ellen Burns Sherman