The weather can change quickly in January here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Although the coldest month, we often get January “thaws” where the temperature is above freezing. Well this year we had a late December and early January “thaw”. I found evidence of the warmer temperatures at the Nescopeck State Park in Luzerne County.
Usually Lake Francis, located in the park, is frozen solid by now . Not this year. At least half the lake was ice-free when I visited on Sunday .
And the ice on the other half was thin. There would be no ice fishing or ice skating this week. I walked around the lake on the cloudy and seasonably cold morning. Temperatures dropped into the uppers 20 at night. Colder than the mild temperatures of the past few days but still well above average. I followed the Nescopeck Trail from the lake down to the Nescopeck Creek. Most years there would be some snow cover but this year they were snow free and muddy.
There were quite a few black-capped chickadees scurrying in the trees tops.
The Nescopeck Creek was also ice free. I had hoped to see some ducks or other water fowl on its waters but there was no sign of any wildlife.
Earlier on my hike I did see some beaver activity, including this interesting wood sculpture one of the critters created.
The trail followed the creek for about a half mile until it meandered through some wetlands and onto a trail that, in the summer, is surrounded by ferns.
I followed the Fern trail to the trail that led to atop of Mt, Yeager.
I had hiked up to the top of this hill in the past. I decided to turn back and followed the Fern Trail over a small stream.
Here I hiked under large hemlock and pine trees, some of which I believe to be hundreds of years old and part of the original old growth forest.
The wind picked up and the sun broke through the clouds as I returned to lake Francis.
There were now a number of people walking around the lake and enjoying its beauty.
As I returned to the parking lot I encountered a number of birds that were taking advantage of the feeders , including some more black-capped chickadees,
a tufted titmouse,
and, I think a goldfinch in its winter colors.
Although I didn’t see and bald eagles or other exotic wildlife, once again I got to enjoy the natural beauty of our woodlands here in Northeastern Pennsylvania, my favorite place on this planet we share., Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs from my hike. Nescopeck State Park hike January 5 2020.
Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you. Frank Lloyd Wright