Close, But Sill No Bear, Another Hike On The Greater Hazleton Rails To Trails.

Close, But Sill No Bear, Another Hike On The Greater Hazleton Rails To Trails.

Rails to Trails birds (42 of 42)
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It was cloudy with a few showers  here in Northeastern Pennsylvania on Saturday morning. I decided to stay close to home. There were a few more bear sightings at the Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails  near my home in Luzerne County this past week. So,  of course I was off  to  too go looking for him. (It was a big one so I am assuming it is a male.) 

Unlike most folks, I try to  find, and photograph  bears on my hikes in our woodlands. I have seen  hundreds of bears on my many hikes over the years.  I have also seen hundreds of bears in my back yard.)  They are wild creatures and one must respect them. 

 I always maintain a safe  distance from these  beautiful creatures, especially a mother with cubs. But bears are not predators. They will not attack unless frightened or provoked.  They are actually very timid, especially the males, and I have frightened 300 pound bears off with a wave of my hands and a yell.  There is still some danger involved.   But they are beautiful animals and I love photograph them, and share my photos with the hope of seeing their beauty folks would want to protect them and their habitat. . These first three  photos are from bears I have encountered on hikes in previous years.

 Well, this year I have only seen one, and only briefly. So  I was excited when, shortly after parking at the Route 93 parking lot,  a gentleman told me he just saw a bear! 

Of course I was excited, and much to his surprise,  I  walked in the direction he  told me he just saw it.  I didn’t find it. But I was still excited to walk the trail and hopefully encounter  the bear.

  As I said it  was a big one. a male, from the photos I have seen on social media. Well  I didn’t see the 300 pound bear, but I did see this much  smaller, but cute critter singing  on a tree branch.  It was  tiny,  but very  loud,  house wren. I love all the critters I see on my hikes. 

I continued my hike on the trail, enjoying the lush green foliage on the trees in the surrounding woodlands. Early Summer is always a great time of year to hike in the woodlands of Pennsylvania. 

Our  local library, in co-operation with  the area’s  Civic  Partnership,  which maintains the trail,  have placed  a series of showcases along the first section of the trail. Pages from children’s books are displayed encouraging children to read and hike on the trail.   It is a wonderful idea. 

I continued   my hike  through the mainly oak, maple and pine forest. 

There were not many wildflowers on this part of the trail but I did see  these Indian pipes. Many folks mistake them for fungi but they are actually flowering plants that do not produce chlorophyll. 

The first mile of the trail follows an old railroad right of way around a ridge and down  a gentle incline to the  Stockton Road  Here  I found there was a 10K charity run taking place on the trail. I now felt  my chances of seeing the bear were not great, They are shy creatures and will  avoid  human contact. The runners would have kept them away from the trail 

The trail crossed the highway and woodlands included older and more mature oak, maple and pines trees, with some birch and sassafras trees too. 

I wasn’t seeing or hearing much wildlife. The birds were quite and the  most common bird I heard were ovenbirds.  These deep woods warblers sing loudly in our woodlands and one finally  perched on a tree branch near he trail.

There were not a lot of wildflowers in these deep woods either ,  just a  few daisies and.

common selfheal flowers,

delicate spreading  dogbane flowers and, 

milkweed flowers, which were just beginning to bloom. It was cloudy with some drizzle so the bees and butterflies that usual visit this flowers weren’t active.

I continued on the trail now hearing some birds in  the tree tops, but not getting many photographs because of the overcast conditions. I was able to capture an image of this white breasted nuthatch,

an American robin, 

this eastern wood peewee and

this beautiful scarlet tanager.  

I hiked out to the picnic area overlooking the Dreck Creek Reservoir, about 2 1/2 miles form the  the parking lot and began my hike back. I now knew my chances of seeing the bear where slim. It could be miles away but  I was still looking and listening for it as I finished my five mile hike.  

It was a quite and peaceful hike back. They charity run ended and I only saw a few folks walking on the trail on this overcast day. 

In addition to the lush green foliage on the trees there were  many ferns that growing  along the trail including the cinnamon fern,

the eastern hay scented ferns, 

and bracken ferns.

 I also saw a few mushrooms popping up along the trail .

I believe both of these are a type of amanita mushroom, and not edible. It was a good sign for me, since I hope to be finding some edible species. soon.

As I walked back up the ridge to the parking lot I saw  one more bird, this pretty red eyed vireo. These birds are very common and heir  song if heard throughout  our  woodlands and forest. Here is a link to a gallery on my blog website with some more photos of the birds I saw on my hike, Rails to Trails birds July 2 2022.

I did see one one more critter on my five mile hike. It was a small and unusually one. A daddy long legs. And it is not a spider. I only learned this recently.

 Daddy longlegs and spiders are both are members of the arachnid family, but the former are members of the order Opiliones.

Whatever it was it was pretty cool looking

I finished up my hike observing some sand dune wallflowers, 

and nodding sedge along the trail. 

And I did see some bears on my hike. These bear statues in the picnic area at the end of the trail. Hopefully, I will see some real ones on my next hike.  Here is a link to another gallery with some photos from my five my hike on the trail, Rails to Trails July 2 2022. 

  1. “You can visit the same trail twice but you’ll never take the same hike.” – We Dream of Travel


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