A Shortcut To Crystal Lake Reservoir, But Still No Bears

A Shortcut To Crystal Lake Reservoir, But Still No Bears

Crystal lake (34 of 51)
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Crystal Lake Reservoir  is located  atop Penobscot Mountain  in Bear Creek Township, Luzerne County. It is at an  elevation of 1932 feet.   It has supplied water to the City of Wilkes Barre and the Wyoming Valley for over a century. It is also adjacent to the Pinchot State Forest. I have hiked here a few times, in search of bears. And I have  always seen at least one bear  on my previous  hikes here, until this year.  . 

On my previous visits I  hiked in from the State Game Lands 119 parking lot near Penn Lake in Dennison Township . However, it is about a  4  mile hike to the lake. So I didn’t hike there often. Last Sunday I learned of another trail to the lake. It is located on Laurel Run Road in Bear Creek Township. It is a little over a mile to the lake. 

I arrived at the parking lot around 7:30 a.m. It was partly sunny and a cool 57  degrees. I began my hike on the access trail which was narrow at first, with tall grass growing on the trail. 

The trail widened out after a few hundred yards as it proceeded under an older second growth forest of oak, maple and pine trees. The trail was lined with ferns. 

And there were, as there have been all over Northeastern Pennsylvania this Summer, a lot of mushrooms growing along the trail. I love seeing the many different species of mushrooms and their shapes and colors. I believe this is a blusher or panther amanita mushroom, 

this possibly a purple cort, 

this a russula 

and this an edible milker or lactarius mushroom. But please don’t ever consume a wild mushroom unless you absolutely are sure of its edibility or have it confirmed by an expert in person. Many wild mushrooms will make you sick and some are lethal if ingested. 

As I continued my hike, I was disappointed that I wasn’t seeing  or hearing more wildlife or song birds. I only saw a few eastern towhees and 

this female common yellow throat  warbler singing in the tree tops. 

The trail opened up as I approached the Crystal Lake Reservoir, 

and here I saw some wildflowers along the trail including clover flowers, 

white meadowsweet, 

purple meadowsweet or steeplebush,

black-eyed susans or coneflowers and 

many milkweed flowers. 

Some of the flowers such as  the common selfheal and

St John’s wort attracted bees and butterflies. 

The trail , after a 1 1/4 mile hike, took  me to the breast of the dam on the Crystal Lake Reservoir.

The reservoir itself is private and  recreational activities are prohibited within 500 feet of the water, however I saw a lot of campfires on  my hike along the shores of the lake. It sure does look like a great place to camp. 

I visit the lake because of the many swamps and wetlands that are located near the lake. There is an abundance of high bush blueberry bushes in these wetlands, which attract the bears I am trying to find and photograph. 

This being my first visit to this side of the reservoir, I wasn’t sure of what trail to follow so I took one that led me through some wetlands, 

but ended on a golf course. 

I returned to the lake and followed a second trail that appeared to lead to a wetlands. The trail was flooded  and

I found some more mushrooms growing here including this interesting earth star mushrooms, 

coral mushrooms, 

this mushroom which I believe is an amanita mushroom,  and 

some of these interesting plants, Indian pipes or ghost plants. They are not a fungus but actually a flowering plant that does not produce chlorophyll and thus the reason for the white color.

I followed the trail and it did  pass through a wetlands. These are the areas I have found bears on my past hikes.  The trail was wet and   meandered through an old second growth forest. It sure looked like bear country. But, alas, no bears. 

However I did see a few critters including this hairy or downy woodpecker, 

and this red eft. 

I followed the trail to a small  creek and then began my hike back.

As I approached the lake it looked like rain clouds were moving in from the south, so I picked up my pace on my return hike. 

It was a nice walk back. I met a gentleman on the andwe  had a nice chat about the lake and trails. I didn’t see any bear on this visit but I will return and explore the many side trails that I can now access . I am sure there are bear living here. I just got to find them, and I will!!! Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with some more photographs from my hike to the Crystal Lake Reservoir. Pinchot Forest Crystal Lake Hike August 1 2021. 

“I could never in a hundred summers get tired of this.” ―Susan Branch.

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