A Hike On The Spirit Of Tuscarora Trail At Tuscarora State Park
I decided to hike on the Spirit of Tuscarora Trail in Tuscarora State Park last Sunday. There was a mushroom festival going on nearby so I was going to get in a five mile hike and then visit the festival. Located in Schuylkill County, and first opened in 1971, the Tuscarora State Park is named after a transient tribe of Native Americans who briefly lived in Locust Valley in the 18th century.
It was sunny and already warm with temperatures in the 70’s when I arrived early in the morning. Before starting my hike on the Spirit of Tuscarora trail I first walked to Tuscarora Lake. The lake was created by the damming of Locust Creek that flows through the valley. There was no one swimming at this early hour but there were a few fisherman in boats on the scenic lake.
I walked back up the steep road to the trailhead for the Spirit of Tuscarora Trail. I have hiked this trail a few times and there are some blog posts on these hikes which can be found using the search tool on my blog archives page.
I didn’t t hear or see much bird activity in the hemlock woodlands but there were dozens of eastern American toads, of all sizes, hopping along the trail.
I continued on the trail which now took a fairly steep climb back up the ridge. The woodlands were now mostly oak trees with still few hemlock , maple and sassafras trees. I heard black capped chickadees and tufted titmice in the tree tops.
and I found many ghost or Indian pipes growing along the trail. As noted in previous blog posts these are not fungi but actually flowering plants that do mot produce chlorophyll. I love seeing them pushing through the leaf litter of our woodlands.
The trail now took me to the Locust Creek. Here I found the old contorted silver maple tree stump that the trail is named after, the Spirit of Tuscarora Tree. It was given this name by Dennis “Pap” Knauss. a volunteer who created the trail and has maintained it for over 30 years.
I followed the trail, so far it was marked with white stripes, and came to a red striped trail. I had never hiked this far on my previous visits and so this was a new experience for me. It took me trough a hemlock and pine woodland ,
There is not much shade in the meadow, the still strong August sun had warmed the temperature to near 90 degrees. It was hot. I am sure there would be a lot more bird activity in the cooler morning or evening hours.
I walked along the trail and it left the creek and into a meadow along a ridge. I found this old picnic table, it appears this part of the trail has not been maintained in years. I was out about 2 1/4 miles and decided to hike back.
I followed the same trail back and I will admit it was a lot harder hiking up the hills in the heat and humidity. I only saw two women walking there very thirsty dogs on the trail. It was hot. I stopped at the lake again and took in the view, and,
a few more dragonflies. Here is a link to some more photos of the toads, birds and other critters I saw on my hike on the Spirit of Tuscarora Trail. Tuscarora State Park critters August 7 2022.
I finished my hike on the Spirit of Tuscarora Trail, and walked down to the beach along Tuscarora Lake. There were now some folks on the beach and swimming in the waters. It brought back memories of my first visit to the park when I was 14 years old when my dad took our family. I remember it like it was yesterday I have visited this lovely park many time since, and hope to have many more visits in the future. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my hike on the Spirit of Tuscarora Trail. Tuscarora State park August 7 2022.
Nature always wears the colors of the spirit. Ralph Waldo Emerson