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 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 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.
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 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.
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.