Another Hot And Bear-less Hike To Moosehead Lake

Another Hot And Bear-less Hike To Moosehead Lake

State Game Lands (25 of 48)
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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 

However, the daisies blooming nearby reminded me we still have many warm weeks ahead of us to enjoy the splendor of Summer. 

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.

I also heard a few American redstarts singing in the treetops. These are also elusive as they flutter from branch to branch in the trees. This was the best photo I could get. . 

In addition to the birds,  the were a lot of honeybees feeding on narrowleaf plantain flowers growing along the trails. 

The pretty, but invasive,  and poisonous, bird’s foot trefoil provided splashes of bright yellow along the trail. 

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. 

Hiking further down the trail I saw a few of the birds that remain here all year, the friendly black-capped chickadees. A small flock were feeding in some trees above the trails. 

And this oven bird was also foraging in the trees. 

I also saw a few insects, including moths, butterflies and 

dragonflies on the railroad right-of -way.  Sorry I wasn’t able to identify them, this week. Any help is always appreciated. You can email me the identification and I will add it to the blog.. 

I think I may have discovered one of the reasons for the absence of any bears on my hikes. The  trail is close to,  and eventually approaches,  the headwaters of the Little Nescopeck Creek

 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. 

After my short rest, I  walked to the  other side of Moosehead Lake where there is a large wetland. 

Here I saw a number of different birds including a kingbird, 

a mourning dove,

and this beautiful male rose-breasted grosbeak. 

It was feeding on some sort of berry near the wetlands. 

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. 

I spent some time along the wetlands looking for frogs and turtles. I didn’t see any but I admired the beauty of the many water lilies blooming in the wetlands. 

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, 

and watched the many bees visiting these  pretty flowers.

There were other flowers blooming along the trail including milkweed,

daisies and

 yellow salsify flowers. 

This is a salsify flower that has gone to seed. 

It was a hot 1 1/2 hike until I  came  to the small lake along the trail. Here I stopped and again took a brief rest  in the shade.

Here I watched dozens of frogs jump  into  the water of the lake as I approached. This is one of the few who didn’t.

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. 

As I toiled on in the heat, I  was surprised to find this mushroom growing along the trail. We had so little rain and I haven’t seen many mushrooms this past week. 

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.”
― Biju Karakkonam,

This is my first post

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