A Frosty Early November Morning Walk In The State Game Lands 119 And To Moosehead Lake

A Frosty Early November Morning Walk In The State Game Lands 119 And To Moosehead Lake

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One can only predict that early November weather will be very unpredictable here in Northeastern Pennsylvania.  Like late March, temperatures could range from  the low 20’s  to the mid 70’s. Snow is not  uncommon in either month. However, unlike March when the air is cold from the long Winter, and the sun is becoming stronger as it climbs in the eastern sky, in early November the sun is weakening and the air is usually still warm after the long Summer. 

On Sunday  I would say we had a fairly average early November day.  We had an extra hour of sunlight in the morning with the end of Daylight Saving Time so I decided to take advantage of it and  drove to the State Game Lands in Dennison Township in Luzerne County. When I arrived around 7 a.m. the sun was still  low on the southeastern horizon and the temperature was a cold 30 degrees, which is close to average. 

On my drive on the rutted dirt road leading to the parking lot at the entrance top the Game Lands I saw a couple of deer run across the road in front of me. They stopped to have a look as I drove past.

After  parking my Jeep I began my hike on the main access road. There was still some color in the woodlands. The oaks and beech trees still had many golden brown leaves on their branches. 

There was also a very heavy frost which could be seen on the leaves,

ferns

 and grasses along the access road. 

It was eerily quite as a continued my hike.  I did not hear a bird song for almost a mile on my hike. No frogs or insects sounds either. Just the soft sounds of the leaves  fluttering to the ground in the early morning sunlight. 

When I reached the old railroad right of way , almost a mile from the parking lot, I had a decision to make. I had seen a bear in my yard the previous night. So I decided to hike in the game lands and try and  see another one.  I wasn’t sure if I should  continue on the access road and hike up to the view at Stony Ridge Cabin, the 9th highest elevation in Luzerne County,  or hike down to the D & L trail and Moosehead Lake. Only because, I thought I might see some birds, maybe even a bald eagle or osprey, I decided to take my usual hike to Moosehead Lake. The chances of seeing a bear were about  the same on either route. 

I walked down the old railroad right of way, again only the oak and beech trees had leaves remaining on their branches. 

There are some wetlands here and I heard, and saw my first birds  on the cold early November morning, a small flock of  black-capped chickadees feeding on some common winterberries. 

There were also a few robins in the wetlands along the trail.

The  common winterberries were pretty covered in frost. 

Continuing my walk on the trail I soon came to one of the mountain streams that are the source of the Nescopeck Creek. I stopped here  for a few minutes to listen to the running waters  and enjoy this peaceful woodland scene. 

Resuming my seven mile hike after my stop along the creek, I saw  a small flock of golden crowned kinglets feeding in the tree branches along the trail. They would be one of the few birds I would see on my hike. 

I walked to the Black Diamond section of the D & L trail and walked toward Moosehead Lake. I didn’t see a person walking the trail and a couple of bikers would be all of the humans I would see on my hike.  I didn’t mind having the trail to myself. 

There were no eagles or ospreys at the lake. There weren’t even any birds at the pond and wetlands across from the lake.  In the warmer months I always see some bird activity here. Not on Sunday. 

It was still nice hiking in the early November sunshine. It filtered through the remaining leaves on the oak and beech trees along the trail. 

There were no flowers blooming along the trail this late in the season, but  milkweed seeds,

and grasses shone in the morning sun. 

It was about a 1 1/2 mile hike to another railroad right of way that led back to the  access road to the game lands parking lot. I enjoyed the hike. It was quiet, I saw no birds, insects or other critters, but I enjoyed the remaining Fall colors on the trees along the trail.

There is a pond near where the D & L trail and the railroad right of way meet. Here I heard a kingfisher squawking on the other side of the pond and it would be the last bird I would hear or see on my seven mile hike.

I followed the old railroad right of for about another mile on a trail that was littered with a thick layer of fallen leaves . I love stomping through fallen leaves.

It was nice walking in these  deep woodlands. There are a lot of oak and beech trees growing here, and many still had  leaves remaining on their branches so I walked in what seemed like a tunnel of gold. 

After walking along a wet section of the trail,

I  arrived at the access road and had another mile back to my Jeep to complete my 7 mile hike.  I was disappointed in not seeing a bear, a bald eagles, birds or other wildlife. There were no flowers in bloom either. But it is early November, and I was glad to be outside in these peaceful woods and to enjoy the last of Nature’s annual colorful Autumn display. Here is a link to a gallery with more photos from my frosty early November hike in the game lands. State Game Lands 119 hike November 7 2021. 

How beautiful leaves grow old. How full of light and color are their last days.” —John Burrough

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