A Mild, But Dreary Hike On The Greater Hazleton Rails to Trials.
It was another mild day here in Northeastern Pennsylvania last Sunday. Cloudy and dreary, but mild. Temperatures were near 40 degrees when I decided to hike close to home on our local Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails near my home in Luzerne County. Once again I drove to the east side trail near the village of Hazle Brook.
I hike here, the end of the trail, here since it is more remote and I hope to see some wildlife like birds or bears. I saw none of the later and very few of the former on this bleak but mild late January morning. One need only look at these two photos from the trail to see the dreary brown and gray Winter colors that one finds on the trail this time of year.
There were no birds singing as I continued my hike. In the warmer months these trees and branches have vireos, warbler and other song birds filling the trail with their song. Not on Sunday I did not hear a single bird until I had hiked over a mile. Then, I heard some black-capped chickadees in the distance and saw and heard this white-breasted nuthatch scrambling down a tree.
Although the browns and grays were the dominate colors on the trail, there still were some greens hidden in the bleak scenery and , since there were no birds or other wildlife to photograph I decided to look for and share them. There were a lot of teaberries growing all along the trails, their red berries standing out in the bleak brown leaves.
intermediate wood ferns created patches of green on the brown carpet of fallen leaves.
Mixed in with the mostly hardwood oak, maple and birch trees were some pitch pine trees which also provided some green color to brow and gray woodlands.
On the border of the hardwood forest and the reclaimed anthracite coal mining area was a small stream, here the mountain laurel and
rhododendrons added a little green to the bleak scenery.
I found the remains of some of the mushrooms from last Autumn along the stream.
While photographing these mushrooms , I noticed there were tiny fish darting in the waters of the stream I am not sure what species, but I know there are native trout in this stream. It was nice seeing something else was alive out here besides me.
I continued my hike through the reclamation area, again it was bleak and lifeless.
which crosses over the active railroad track, but I didn’t see the sasquatch reported to be in this area.
After crossing the bridge, the trail passes through some old strip mined areas,
and then enters another wooded area. Here the woodlands area a mixed hardwood and hemlock forest. The hemlock trees provided some more green color to the otherwise drab colors of Winter.
There was still some snow on a portion of the trail. Walking on it for a short distance reminded me how happy I was with the mild weather and the absence of snow and ice on the trail.
The trial continued, for a short distance, on the access road to a beryllium factory that was closed in 1982. was demolished, and is now a Hazardous Waste Site.
The trail next went through endangered pine and heath barrens.
Here I finally seen some more life on this cloudy and dreary day, this downy woodpecker searching for food , and a dedicated marathon runner who I encounter on many of my hikes out here.
I hiked out about 2 1/2 miles when I decided to end my hike. It was an uneventful hike back.
I saw no more wildlife, just reminders left by the birds of last Summer, their deserted nests that were carefully hidden in the lush Spring and Summer leaf cover, but are now exposed. This nest was right along the trail, and almost invisible to hikers when it was occupied.
I finished my 5 mile hike under the cloudy skies. I had hoped to see a bear or at least some more birds but, there is no guarantee when one hikes in our woodlands. I just enjoyed the opportunity and the peace and quiet, of the woodlands, even on a bleak and dreary January morning. Here is a link to a gallery with more photos from my bleak Winter hike on the trail. Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails January 29 2023.
“This world was made to be cloaked in gray.
It wouldn’t feel natural if the sun shone brightly all the time.”