Back To Beltzville State Park : A Cloudy And Windy Hike On The Trinity Gorge Trail.

Back To Beltzville State Park : A Cloudy And Windy Hike On The Trinity Gorge Trail.

Belatzville (33 of 49)
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It didn’t take long,  I  returned to  Beltzville State Park  last Saturday.  I decided to hike here because of lingering showers and snow flurries  north of my home in  Hazle Township. A  cold front   brought clouds, winds and colder temperatures to Northeastern Pennsylvania overnight.  I was hoping  I would find less showers, clouds and wind by heading south to Beltzville State Park  in Carbon County. And I wanted to explore more of this park after my recent  hike there a few weeks ago,  

Well, when I arrived at the park I avoided the showers,  but not the clouds and winds  It was a windy and  chilly 38 degrees  at the park. And the temperature was dropping.  Looking at the trail maps, I decided to hike on the south side of the lake, on the Trinity Gorge Trail.  I found the access road  to the trailhead was  closed.  I had to walk down the  very steep road to  get to the trail. It was easy walking down the road but I knew the hike back up would be a struggle. 

It was a nice walk down to the lake. I walked  through a mixed hardwood  and  hemlock woodland with many rhododendrons, ferns and a lot of old  and large yellow birch trees along the trail. There was a lot of green in these woods for this time of year. 

At first I thought the many green  ferns were intermediate wood ferns.. And many of them, like this one,  were ,

however I noticed some were different and my PictureThis iPhone app identified them as marginal wood ferns, I am no expert and rely on these apps for plant and bird identification.  I hope it is correct and please correct me if I  misidentify a plant or animal.  

After about a half mile hike I came to the lake, 

and the kayak launch where the Trinity Gorge Trail begins.  A tree was felled by the strong winds. 

I stopped to watch  the choppy waters of Beltzville Lake, reflecting on the Summer days many years ago when I waterskied here. 

The strong winds  created waves on the lake and   knew  there would not be a lot of water fowl in these  conditions.

The Trinity Gorge Trail. 

 followed an old road, above the lake and  below the ridge of a mountain. 

It was a nice walk under the large trees. There were a lot more marginal wood ferns, a few intermediate wood ferns. and another species of ferns I hadn’t seen in our area before, rock polypody ferns. They were clinging on rocks along the trail. I thought the were Christmas ferns at first. 

It was nice walking with so many evergreen ferns, hemlocks and rhododendrons in the drab Winter woodlands. I was really getting to like Beltzville State Park. 

The trail split at a large old farm field.  I followed the trail above the fields. The other trail continued along the lake, 

There was no bird activity on my hike until I came to the woodlands above the fields. Here I saw a small flock of white -throated sparrows,

song sparrows, 

and a few American robins.  I heard a Carolina wren and a few black-capped chickadees higher up on the ridge above the trail. 

The strong winds blew across the field making it feel even colder as the temperatures dropped. 

The trail met up with the other  split of the Trinity Gorge loop that followed the lake.  The trail entered some  wetlands  here, some areas were flooded from the recent rains. 

Here I saw some  green garlic mustard, an invasive, but edible wild  plant 

and these small green plants with  tiny red berries or fruit. I learned they are invasive chickweed plants and they covered the grounds along the trail. 

I also saw a lot of Christmas ferns here. 

A stream flowed into an inlet of the lake where ,

 I heard, then saw this belted kingfisher.  I love to hear the chattering of these birds as they fly over streams, ponds, rivers and lakes in search of fish. 

The trail continued over the stream, and then back along he lake,  but I had already hiked out 2 1/2 miles and decided to turn back. 

On a tree along the stream I noticed this  decayed chicken mushroom. They are delicious edible mushrooms and I am surprised no one harvested it last fall. I may be back in the Fall hoping  it will be there, and unnoticed again .

I hiked back on  the loop of the Trinity Gorge  Trail  that followed the shore of the lake.

The wind howled furiously across the lake and created some large waves for an inland lake. 

The trail  appeared to be  new one and only recently  cleared. There were fallen trees, 

and scattered branches strewn across the trail. It wasn’t  an easy hike and I was tripped up a few time on the fallen branches. The trail was on the south shore of the lake and the winds had deposited a lot of debris that was lost on the lake by the boaters in the Summer months. I saw old hats, sandals, and shirts as well as suntan lotion, soda and many other beverage bottles along the trails. 

I also saw hundreds of shells from some sort of fresh water mollusk all along the shore of the lake. 

There was not much wildlife or bird activity along the trail. I only saw a pair of cardinals on my walk, this is the male. I couldn’t get a photo of the female. I am sure the wind  affected the bird activity and I think there would be a lot more birds on a clam a sunny day. I think it would be a nice place to hike during the Spring migration.  Here is a link to a gallery on my website with more photos of the birds I saw on my hike. Beltzville State Park March 4  2023. 

I was glad when I ended my hike on this loop of the trail and left the howling  winds. But now I had to walk up the steep access road back to my Jeep.  Hills, for some reason, seem to be steeper every  passing year.

As I took a slow walked up the hill I  again reflected on my first visit to this lake almost a half century ago. Time passes so quickly. I was glad I decided to visit again and plan to explore some more of the trails around the lake. I am sure there will be  more wildlife  on a more pleasant day. However, I still enjoyed this blustery walk, it is always better then sitting inside.  Here is a link to a gallery with more  photos from my hike. Beltzville State Park March 4 2023. 

“Springtime is the land awakening.  
The March winds are the morning yawn.”  
–  Lewis Grizzard and Kathy Sue Loudermilk,


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