Bear Creek Preserve, Another Gem In Our Midst.

Bear Creek Preserve, Another Gem In Our Midst.

Bear Creek preserve  (8 of 59)
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After my wonderful experience discovering and exploring the Picton Wildlife Sanctuary yesterday I decided to check out another land trust nature preserve in our area, the Bear Creek Preserve.

The preserve is located along the southern side of Route 115, about 5 miles east of the borough of Bear Creek, about a half hours drive from my home in Bear Creek preserve  (1 of 59)HazleTownship.

It was a chilly for  a June morning but the sun was shining making for perfect hiking weather.  After parking  near the gate to an  access road  I hiked up the access road to  the marked yellow/red loop trail.  As soon as I  entered the woods on the narrow trail I was overwhelmed and delighted  by the amount of mountain laurel surrounding the trail.   I have hiked many years and miles in Northeastern Pennsylvania but never saw as much mountain laurel as I did today.   The mountain  laurel was just beginning to  bloom but it was still heavenly. . It will be spectacular in a few days when they are in peak bloom. I have always loved our state flower and here it was in it’s full glory.   It was abundant everywhere on my 7 mile hike this morning. Bear Creek preserve  (38 of 59)

I followed the yellow/red loop trail to the green loop trail and hiked down a fairly steep grade , passing a few creeks bubbling out of the ground  and  a coning  nice little waterfall.  Here is a  Youtube link to a video I took at one of the streams I crossed  .  I sat for a bit at the waterfall and continued on the green/red loop trail until they separated and I followed the red loop trail. Bear Creek preserve  (44 of 59)

The   trail got a little wet and rocky as it descended downward. It ran along a rock ledge for a bit and it looked like perfect rattlesnake habitat. Unfortunately, I didn’t see any rattlers but did encounter a few garter and eastern brown snakes. The trees and mountain laurels along the trail were filled with the songs of birds. The heavy tree cover kept me from getting good photographs of these birds scampering in the tree tops and laurel bushes. I did see warblers, thrushes, robins, sparrows  and a large hawk flying overhead but only manage to get a photograph of this, one of my favorite birds, the scarlet tanager. Bear Creek preserve  scarlet tanager (1 of 1)

I continued mainly downward, crossing a gas line and then into some more rocky terrain.  The path got a little hard to walk and also was wet in spots. Still enjoyed the beauty of the deep woods and was hoping to run into a bear because these woods  sure looked like bear territory. No bears, only a lot of chipmunks scurrying about on the ground as I walked by and disturbed their morning. Bear Creek preserve  (31 of 59)

Finally I heard the roar of running water and walked down to Bear Creek and took a rest. Little did I know I would how much I would need it. The trail was wider now, it looked like an old logging road, but it was all uphill . I didn’t realize how much of a descent I had made. It wasn’t easy hiking up this steep grade but it was a pleasant trail, again lined with mountain laurel. There weren’t as many birds on this trail, they seemed to prefer  the safety of the thicker woods that  were found along the lower ridges near streams. This trail hiked upward above the rocky ledge that was  above me on my hike down.

But there still were plenty of robins and song birds singing in the trees and I was able to photograph a northern brown snake. I noticed the deep blue eyes and learned, when got home, that this means he was about to shed his skin. A fluid builds up causing the snake to lose its’ vision and turning its’ eyes blues. Here is a link to some more detailed  information about this process. And this is a link to some more photographs of the Bear Creek preserve  northern brownsnake 4 (1 of 1)snake.

The trail widened even more as it entered into a recently logged area. From the looks of some of the stumps there were once some very large trees in this area. it is sad they are gone but it is good to know that now they will have a chance to regrow into a mature forest without the fear of being logged when they reach their prime.  We have to be grateful to organizations like the National Land Trusts for preserving this beautiful areas for us to enjoy.

The trail, now covered in a thick grass.descended back down to the parking area. The thick grass is perfect tick habitat and I did pick up a few today. it is important to always do a close inspection for ticks when you return from a hike in the woods.  Bear Creek preserve  (55 of 59)

I had one more surprise in store for me before I reached the car. I heard a roar in the sky and  was surprised to see this huge military jet flying overhead. It made a few passes above me. It was a great day to hike this wonderful area. .Bear Creek preserve  (53 of 59)

I fell in love with this place and will be back, maybe as soon as next weekend, when the mountain laurel will be at its’ peak. Once again I found a gem in my backyard that I never even knew existed. Northeastern Pennsylvania is a great place to live if you love nature and the outdoors.

Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike this morning.



I think the environment should be put in the category of our national Bear Creek preserve  (41 of 59)security.  Defense of our resources is just as important as defense abroad.  Otherwise what is there to defend?  ~Robert Redford