Another Hike In The State Game Lands 119 On The Last Day Of June.
A cold front moved through Northeastern Pennsylvania on Saturday evening. The temperatures were still in the low 60’s but the strong northwesterly winds made it feel a lot cooler. A perfect day for hiking. I decided to return to State Game 119 in Luzerne County in the Pinchot State Forest. There are a lot of trails to explore in this large tract of woodlands.
This time I started my hike on a trail on a gas line that crosses Route 427 near Glen Summit. I never hiked this area before and found myself climbing a steep uphill trail. I was thankful for the breeze and cool temperatures.
There was a swath of scrub oak, sweet fern , heath and brambles along the trail. About a hundred feet from the trail the older and thicker forestcovered the mountainside. There were a lot of birds fluttering about in the lower brush but they would fly off into the deeper woods as approached. I was able to photograph a few indigo buntings that were common on this trail.
I have never seen so many of these beautiful birds in one area before. I must have seen two dozen of them on the gas line trail.
The trail climbed upward providing me with spectacular views of the rolling mountains in the distance.
There were only a few wildflowers along the trail including some daisies and
The few wild flowers that were in bloom attracted some butterflies.
I was trying to get to the swamps near Crystal Lake. That’s where the bears live. I found a side trail I thought would get me there. I followed it a few hundred yards when I came upon this sign. I always respect the wishes of property owners who post their land so I returned to the trail on the gas line.
The trail had a few steep descents to but generally continued upward to the Hollenback Road trail. I hiked this trail when I parked at the Dennison Township entrance to the Gamelands.
The trail now left the gas line and continued along a stream and some wetlands under some tall oak and pines trees. I welcomed the shade the trees provided. Despite the cool temperatures the late June sun was intense.
The trail left the wetlands and I was back in the sun. Here I saw some different wildflowers including yellow loosestrife,
I was hoping to find more low bush blueberries, or, as we call them, “huckleberries”. I only found a few on my entire hike. They were delicious.
I was now getting close to the swamps near Crystal lake and again found them to be flooded. We had about 7 inches of rain above average this year. I decided to turn around rather than struggle with getting through the flooded road.
I found another trail that led down to the lake but it too, was covered with some puddles and mud.
I trudged my way through the mud and was now in one of the swamps near the lake. Last time I was here I saw a mother bear with her two cubs. No bears today but I did meet a trio of bikers who were making their way through the narrow trail.
I was now out about 4 miles and decided I’d to turn back. As often occurs when cool air from Canada id heated by the intense summer sun, a lot of clouds formed overhead. I wasn’t complaining. I enjoyed the relief the clouds provided from the sun.
On my way back I saw this plane that was descending to land at the airport in Avoca. As I always do I wondered who was aboard and where they were coming from.
I made the long walk back to my car. I saw a cub along the way. It quickly fled into the forest and the safety of its mother. I also saw a dozen more indigo buntings as I walked down the steep trail along the gas line. I didn’t get any bear photographs and I was hungry,tired and thirsty when I finished my 9 1/2 mile hike. However , as always I enjoyed every minute of my time in the outdoors of beautiful Northeastern Pennsylvania. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs from my hike. State Gamelands 119 June 30 2019.
Study nature, love nature, stay close to nature. It will never fail you.
Frank Lloyd Wright