A Hike On The Susquehannock Trail In The Potter County Mountains

A Hike On The Susquehannock Trail In The Potter County Mountains

Susquehanock (7 of 52)
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When I awoke  in the Mills Stream Inn in Coudersport, Potter County on Saturday morning I was surprised, and disappointed,   to see that is was still raining. The forecast was for clearing early in the morning and I didn’t bring rain gear on my trip. Well, I didn’t drive three hours to sit in a hotel in the rain so I decided to hike on the Susquehannock STS trail near Denton Hill State Park despite the rain. 

It took me a little while to find the trailhead located at the ranger station on Route 6.  The rain was ending  when I left my Jeep and began my hike. 

The trail took me under a thick forest of mixed hardwood trees. It was dark walking in the light rain and cloudy skies under the canopy of leaves. I truly enjoyed it.

It was primordial. I imagined hiking under the deep forests that existed when only Native Americans roamed these woods. 

Not long after I began my hike I found this chicken of the woods mushrooms, one of my favorite edible wild mushrooms. I am always searching for them back home. This one look nice but it was a bit too old for harvesting. 

A little further along the trail I found a log book along the path and signed in. The Susquehannock Trail is an 85 mile loop trails though the last of the Pennsylvania wilderness and attracts many hikers each year. I commented on the beauty of the trail and my luck in finding a chicken mushroom nearby. 

There were many species of mushrooms growing along the trails under the large old trees including  a couple of these pretty Berkeley’s polypore,

and, I believe this may be a purple cort, 

this a  russula and 

this a panther or blusher amanita. I am sure the rain that just fell will bring forth many more mushrooms in these old woods.

It was nice to see the bright red berries of the painted trillium flowers along the trail. I used to have many of these growing on my property in Hazle Township but I don’t see them anymore. They are beautiful early Spring flowers and a becoming rare in the woods of the Commonwealth. 

There were also some birds in  deep woodlands along the trail. I saw this winter wren and

a couple of these eastern towhees. Most were scampering on the ground but a few,

perched on a branch as I was walking past them.  

Black-capped chickadees and

oven birds also  sang in the woodlands along the trail.

I also saw this downy woodpecker rapping at a tree trunk in search of grubs and insects. 

The trail widened  and ferns now grew everywhere along the trail. Most of the ferns were intermediate wood fern, 

but there were also a lot eastern  hay-scented ferns

and a few species I haven’t seen before. My PictureThis App tells me this is a log fern. 

Another new sighting to me were the towering  black cherry trees growing along the trail. They were the most dominate tree in this area of the trail. They were impressive. I have never seen them this large before. I later learned the Cherry Springs State Park was named after the large stands of these beautiful trees. 

There were also a lot of striped maple or moosewood trees growing along the trail. 

There were a number of side trail that branched off of the Susquehannock Trail, which I would loved to explore, if I had the time. 

I only took one, which directed me to a vista.

I walked about a 1/4 of a mile and found this nice view of the surrounding mountains. 

Shortly after leaving the boundary of Denton Hill State Park the thick woodlands cleared up and  the trail continued through an area that had been logged. There was now open space which was overtaken by ferns,

but also some wild plants such as pokeweed, these are the unripe berries,

and wildflowers, such as these whorled wood asters, were growing in the clearings. 

I hiked out about 3 1/2 miles when I decided to end my hike and start back. I followed the same trail I hiked in on  but after a 1 1/2 I left the Susquehannock Trail and followed a wide trail which I soon learned was an ATV  trail. I would guess 50 ATV’s passed me on the last 2 miles of my hike. 

It wasn’t peaceful and quiet now, with the constant noise of the passing ATV’s. But it was still nice hiking in the deep forest. And  the wider trail allowed for more sunlight and the growth of  wildflowers.  Many colorful wildflowers were in bloom including brown knapweed,

common chicory,

mountain dandelion and

bull thistles. 

The flowers also attracted  insects including this beautiful eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly. 

A few birds also sang in the tree tops including the red-eyed vireo. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with some more photographs of the birds I saw on the Susquehannock Trail. Susquehannock Trail Hike birds August 14 2021.

The skies had cleared and I was now hiking under the still strong August sun. The sun warmed it up and  it was near noon when I finished my 7 1/2 mile hike on the Susquehannock and ATV trails.  It was, hopefully, the first of many hikes on the trails in God’s Country, in Potter County. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs from my hike on the trail. Susquehannock Trail August 14 2021. 

“Hiking is not escapism; it’s realism. The people who choose to spend time outdoors are not running away from anything; we are returning to where we belong” – Jennifer Pharr Davis


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