Another Visit To Egypt Meadow And Bruce Lakes In Pike County

Another Visit To Egypt Meadow And Bruce Lakes In Pike County

Bruce Lake (45 of 50)
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I visited glacial Lake Bruce for  the second time on Saturday. This wasn’t an  easy decision but a good one. There are so many parks, state forests and hiking trails near my home here in Luzerne County Northeastern Pennsylvania it is always a hard decision where to hike on  a weekend, Of course,  one day is usually at my favorite hiking trail in the Susquehanna Wetlands and River Lands. The second day is never  an easy decision.

Well on Saturday I decided to take the 76 mile  drive  to the Bruce Lake  Natural Area in the Delaware State Forest  in Pike County. I left my  home early, around 4:30 a.m. to get to the Bruce Lake Trail around  sunrise. It was a nice drive in the morning twilight.  When I arrived at   the trailhead located on  Route 390,  the sun was up but it was still dark.

in the  deep deciduous and conifer forest when I began my hike. 

The trees above the grassy wide trail  were filled with bird songs although it was hard to see and photograph them in the dim light under the thick canopy of trees.

I walked on the trail listening to the birds and  seeing a few wildflowers, including this bunchberry dogwood flowers ,

and a few mushrooms including these deer mushrooms.

After about a mile hike on the trail I finally saw the sun shinning through the trees in the forest.

It was about another 1/2 mile hike to the scenic Egypt Meadow Lake.

This lake was created in 1935 by the Civil Conservation Corp.  The last time I hiked here late last Summer  there were a lot of people fishing off of a bridge on the trail or on canoes on the lake. There was no one this visit,  one of the reasons I arrived at this early hour. The low morning sun shone on the lake and the mist rising from the water on this chilly morning.

I had hoped to see some duck, geese or other water fowl and maybe even a bald eagle. However, I only heard a few wood ducks in the distance and saw a pair of great blue herons fly overhead in the early morning sunshine.

Instead of hiking up to Bruce Lake I decided to first hike around Egypt Meadow Lake on the Egypt Meadow Trail.  It was a narrow, rocky trail through a thick woodland along the lake.,

with many fallen trees on the path. I enjoyed the rough terrain on the trail. It reminded of the original forest that once covered all of Pennsylvania.

I was delighted to find lady slipper orchids or moccasin flowers growing along the trail.  My dad called them “duck flowers” and would take me and my siblings into the woods near our home searching for them. They are my favorite Spring flower.

Canada mayflowers,

wild sarsaparilla,

wild geraniums

and starflowers also grew along the trail.

Large patched of Christmas ferns,

and hay-scented ferns also were seen along the rugged trail.

And, as the sun warmed the cool morning air I began to see more bird activity. There were few black and white warblers,

American redstarts, and

red-eyed vireos in the treetops on the trail.

Closer to the ground I saw this pretty chestnut sided warbler in the shrubs along the trail,

and a few eastern towhees scurrying near the ground.

I followed the trail along the lake for almost a mile, occasionally getting nice views of the lake.

The narrow trail then joined a wider, more maintained trail, that led to a boat and canoe launch on the lake

Here in these more open woods I saw and heard this beautiful scarlet tanager,

singing in a tree near the lake.

I also saw a Baltimore oriole singing in the treetops.

The trail continued along the lake and came to a fast moving stream. It looks like there was once a bridge here by now I had to cross it by stepping on rocks and branches placed in the stream. It wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be.

For a short distance the trail was clear along the lake. Then, it entered the forest long the lake and  became narrow, more rugged. There  were may many rocks along the path as it followed the inlets of  the lake.

In these deeper woods I saw this black throated blue warbler,

and this pine warbler.

The trail  took me back to the bridge where I started earlier after about a nice two mile hike. At the bridge I met a gentlemen who pointed out a few water snakes in the waters below the bridge. 

There were at least five of them enjoying the morning sunshine on the ledges of rocks or on logs and branches in the water.

While watching the water snake  I heard a banding and then saw four teenage boys  pushing and pulling a pretty large boat. They stopped  to see the water snakes and told me they were taking the boat up to Bruce Lake. I was impressed that some youngsters these days would make this effort. I left them and started on the trail to Bruce Lake.

It was a wider , grassy trail, about another 1 1/2 mile up to Bruce Lake. It was a pleasant hike as the May sunshine filtered through the canopy of trees. I heard and saw many of the same birds I saw earlier and also

this eastern phoebe and it’s unmistakable song,

this veery 

and one of my favorite Spring birds this male rose breasted grosbeak. I love their brilliant colors and songs. They migrate from the rain forest of Panama and northern South America where they spend the Winter.

As I hiked up the lake, the four teenagers passed me up pushing and pulling their boat, huffing and puffing as they passed.

I followed up the path and soon came to the lake where the teenagers were getting ready to put their boat in the lake and fish.

I hiked a little further on the trail, which became muddy, and found a clearing where I sat and took a view of scenic Bruce Lake. Created in the last ice age I thought how this lake was here before humans roamed these woods. Giant sloths, giant, beavers, mastodons, woolly mammoths, camels and other extinct mammals could have swam in these waters.  After a short hike at the lake I began my 3 mile hike back.

It was now late morning and I passed a steady flow of bikers and hikers, some with there families, as I walked back down the trail.

It was now nearing noon and there wasn’t as much bird activity in the trees. I came back down to the bridge at Egypt Meadow Lake, and like on my last hike here, there were over twenty people gathered on, and near the bridge. Many were fishing, but there were some bikers and families just enjoying the view of the lake.

I continued on my hike  along the trail,

and encountered another snake, this time a garter snake.

I also saw this yellow bellied sapsucker ,

 As I was nearing the end of my  hike, I was surprised, and delighted to hear and see this Blackburnian warbler. this elusive bird is usually found high in the tree tops,

it is the only orange throated warbler. I am guessing it was looking for water near the ground as the sun heated the cool  mountain air. It was a great way bird to end my hike with.  Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with some more photos of the birds and snakes that I saw on my 7 1/2 mile hike. Bruce Lake birds and snakes May 25 2024.

However, I would see one more critter before I finished my hike, this white tail deer ran across the trail just before the parking area. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with some more photos  from my 7 1/2 mile hike. Bruce Lake hike May 25 2024.

I was now past noon. I had been hiking for  6 hours and enjoyed ever minute of it.  I hope to hike the many other trails in the Bruce Lake Natural Arear and nearby Promised Land State Park. But there are so many other great places to hike here in  Northeastern Pennsylvania I don’t know when that will be. I know next weekend it will be another difficult decision, with no bad results. I love Penn’s woods and I love Spring.

“My recollection of a hundred lovely lakes has given me blessed release from care and worry and the troubled thinking of our modern day. It has been a return to the primitive and the peaceful.”Hamlin Garland


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