Another Hot And Bear-less Hike To Moosehead Lake
Another heat wave arrived in Northeastern Pennsylvania last weekend. It was hazy, hot and humid, my kind of weather, Sunday morning. I still haven’t seen a bear this year, either in my backyard, where they are frequent visitors, or on my many hikes. So despite the heat, I decided to hike out to Moosehead Lake in the State Game Lands in Dennison Township, Luzerne County.
The trail loop I take to get there and back is a seven mile round trip hike. I knew it would be hot but I have seen many bears in this area this time of year. I hoped to finally see one Sunday morning.
As usual I parked my Jeep at the entrance gate on the old Hollenback Road. It was mostly sunny and humid with temperatures already in the 70’s when I arrived early in the morning. Leaving my Jeep I was greeted by loud and cheerful song of this American robin perched atop a dead tree.
I followed the access road into the Game Lands. The tree and vegetation in the surrounding woods were still a deep Spring green but there were signs of the advancing Summer. A sad sight was the yellowing of the bracken ferns along the trail. It seems they were just pushing our from the cold Spring earth. The warm seasons seem to pass so quickly
There were a lot of birds chattering in the tree tops. Near the ground I heard the distinctive calls of the Eastern towhee. There were a few of these birds rummaging on the woodland floor. They are elusive birds and hard to photograph. But, I was able to capture an image this pretty female..
This week, instead of following my usual route, and turning at the old railroad right-of-way and taking in down to the D & L Trail, I continued on for another half mile on the main access road. I have often seen bears in this area. Unfortunately my extra effort produced no bear sighting. So, I retraced my steps, and returned to the the railroad right-of way.
I have often seen bears along this narrow trail. I think they are attracted to the many low and high bush blueberries that grow along the trail and in the adjoining wetlands. The low bush or “huckleberries” were ripe. The high bush or “swamper” berries still need a few weeks to ripen.
A few weeks ago it was a fast flowing stream. And it has been every year I have hiked out here. This is a photo from Sunday. It was almost completely dry. I think the bears stayed in this area because of the food source, “the blueberries” and the water supply. With the creek almost dry they may have moved into the large wetland areas near Crystal Lake. I think I am going to hike there next week to find out. I need to photograph a bear this year!
The trail continued to it’s intersection with the D & L Trail. I then followed the D & L trail for about 3/4 of a mile up to Moosehead Lake. The intense Summer sun had raised the temperature to near 90 degrees as I approached Moosehead Lake. I decided to take a rare break on my hike. I sat along the shore of the lake. It was so peaceful up here. I did not see anyone on my hike to this point.
and this beautiful male rose-breasted grosbeak.
I spent a few minutes watching, and trying to photograph, this common yellow throat. These small, masked warblers are hard to photograph since they seldom remain in one place and are always fluttering from branch to branch.
It got even hotter as I continued my hike. I now saw a few bicyclists on the trail braving the heat and humidity. After about a 1/2 mile hike I came to the large patch of foxglove flowers I saw last week,
This is a salsify flower that has gone to seed.
A large great blue heron flew overhead as I rested along the shore of the lake. Here is a link to a gallery with more photographs of the birds I saw on my hike. State Game Lands 119 birds June 26 2021.
After a short rest I continued my hike up the trail in the heat and humidity. It was over 90 degrees now and I still had about a two mile hike ahead of me. At least the trail now took me under a canopy of the old trees in a dense woodlands. I had no water with me and greatly appreciated the shade.
I followed the abandoned railroad -right-of- way back up to the old Hollenback Road. It was another mile hike back to the entrance to the game lands. It was hot and humid and I was exhausted. I was glad that this week I had some water in my Jeep. It was a tiring eight mile hike. But, even though I didn’t see a bear, I enjoyed the peace an quite of the woodlands. And I enjoy sharing this experience with you folks who follow my blog. Maybe this weekend I will finally share some bear photos. I hope so. Here is a link to another gallery with photographs of my hike to Moosehead Lake. State Game Lands 119 June 27 2021
“My focus is on bringing people’s attention to nature and animals. I advocate the need to preserve forests.”