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