Another Trail With A View, This One In Tuscarora State Park.
I was in Schuylkill County early last Saturday morning, so I decided to hike in another one of our many parks here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Tuscarora State Park is located near Barnesville, about 15 miles from my home in Luzerne County. The Park opened in 1971 and featured the new lake formed by the damming of Locust Creek.
My first visit here was shortly after it opened on a picnic with my family. I remember swimming in the lake with my dad and siblings. I also spent many summer afternoons on the beach while in high school. I did not return for many years until I started hiking here a few year ago. I have posted blogs on my hikes on the Spirit of Tuscarora, Old Log and other trails. On Saturday I planned to hike the Lake View Trail, a 3.6 mile out and back trail that begins at the boat launch.
I parked in the lot above at the swimming area and walked down to the lake. It was quiet and peaceful under mostly cloudy skies . I took in the beautiful scene and reflected on the first time I was here so many years ago. Good times they were. In addition to a few fishermen in their boats on the lake the only other activity I saw was this family of Canada geese out for a morning swim.
I wonder if these young goslings will return in years to come and reflect on their goods times in Tuscarora State Park.
I tried to walk along the shore of the lake to the boat launch area. However, there was no trail and, after struggling through some thick underbrush, I walked up to a wide access trail above the lake.
It was a nice walk and here I saw a few folks, campers I believe, out for an early morning walk, some with their dogs. I also saw this pretty phoebe sitting on a tree branch and singing in the woods.
A vireo was also singing it’s song high in the tree tops.
The heavenly aroma of the blooming honeysuckle filled the morning air.
And I saw wild lily of the valley or Canada May flowers, and
delicate yellow wood sorrel blooming along the trail.
There was a lot of activity at the boat launch . Fishermen were in line waiting to launch their boats on the lake.
On the left side of the boat launch I found the start of the Lake View Trail marked with this smiling face.
At the onset, portions of the trail were rocky, narrow and steep as it followed the lake through some thick woodlands.
Walking along the steep, rocky trail was worth the effort, especially when I was treated to the sight of a lady slipper orchid, or as my dad called them, a “duck flower”. He loved these flowers, and. in the Spring would take me an my siblings on walks to find them and the pink azaleas he called “honeysuckles”. And, as we searched for these pretty wildflowers, he was always telling us “to keep your eyes peeled” and we would find them. And we always did.
The trail brought me to the dam on Locust Creek that created the lake and eventually Tuscarora State Park.
After crossing the dam I descended a path that led me to a trail above the lake. At times the trail was again steep, narrow and rocky,
but gradually widened out and became more flat. It meandered through some beautiful groves of rhododendrons.
Wildflowers grew along the trail including wild violets,
I also found some edible oyster mushrooms. However they were too old and infested with insects to eat. Near these mushrooms I had the misfortune to step on a yellow jacket or wasp nest. I immediately sensed my peril and escaped with only one sting.
The trail continued along the lake. It crossed a small area of white birch and aspen trees before crossing two small streams.
lt then led my up to a wider access road and large open field. Honeysuckle trees grew in the field and filled the air with their sweet fragrance. There was a tent in the filed and I am sure he folks camping here enjoyed the fragrance of the honeysuckle. it looked like a perfect place to camp.
The trail turned and descended the hill down to the shore of the lake. Here the Lake View Trail ended with a view of the lake. I sat and took in the tranquil setting before deciding to begin my 2 1/2 mile return hike.
My walk back was uneventful, I saw very few birds or other wildlife, but did see this slimy salamander along the trail .
I also saw a few more wild flowers including a small group of the exotic jack-in-the pulpit flower in the deeper woods,
and these daisies when I left the woods and walked through the camping sites.
Some of the campers were now up, it was near noon, and loud music and laugher filled the park. It was turning out to a wonderful Saturday in the park. I wished I had seen more birds and wildlife on my 5 mile hike, but I was satisfied with the few birds , wildflowers and beautiful scenery I experienced on the Lake View Trail And I hope to return and visit this park again soon .Here is a gallery with some more photographs from my hike in Tuscarora State Park. Lake View Hike May 22 2021
A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature.Henry David Thoreau