Frances Slocum State Park: Beautiful Scenery And Some Amazing History

Frances Slocum State Park: Beautiful Scenery And Some Amazing History

lake at Frances Slocum State park
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The cool weather continued here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. It was another cloudy and cold start on Saturday. I wanted to hike and explore someplace new and made a good choice when I decided to visit Frances Slocum State Park. Frances Slocum park sign along highway

I had often heard about Frances Slocum Park , located in Kingston Township around  40 miles north and west of my home. However I  never got to visit this park . On Saturday I did. It took about 45 minutes to drive to  the Nature Center located near the shore on one arm of the horseshoe shaped  lake. Nature center along lake

The skies were starting to clear as I began my walk along the lake. The lake was  created in the 1960’s  by damming the waters of the Abraham Creek. In researching the park’s history  I learned about the parks namesake, Frances Slocum and her abduction by Native Americans in 1778 when she was 5 years old. A remarkable story. You can learn more by clicking on the bold faced link. Nature Center at Frances Slocum Park

  As I began my walk I  disturbed a pair of Canada geese swimming near the shore. These were the only geese I saw on my walk. Canada geese on lake

I followed the shore until I reached the Deer Trail and followed it around the lake. Deer path trail at park

The path was  wet and muddy in some spots, as paths usually are in the Spring in Northeastern Pennsylvania. muddy trail

It was still a pleasant hike as the trail meandered along the lake under a canopy of old growth trees, including ancient yellow birch, yellow birch tree

and hemlock trees. I love walking under these ancient trees and wondered about the many folks who had visited over the many years since they first sprouted. hemlock tree on trail

The woods were filled with the song of the black-capped chickadee. There were dozens of them fluttering in the branches of the old trees. black-capped chickadee on branch

The path crossed  Abraham Creek, which was associated with the abduction of Frances Slocum. headwaters of Abraham Creek

There were a lot of wetlands in the area and many skunks cabbages pushing through the still cold earth. skunk cabbage

There were many more black-capped chickadees in the area, a few flycatchers, andfly catcher on branch

this beautiful blue bird.bluebird on tree branch

After a short distance the trail split and I took the steep path to the upper deer trail. The path was covered with pine cones and needles from the large pine and hemlock trees that made up this area of the park. pine cone on ground

There were also numerous stone fences along the trail.  I am guessing the were built as property boundaries between adjoining tracts of land in the 18th century.stone fence on trail

Whenever and whatever they were built for it sure took a lot of work piling up this many rocks. stones in stone fence

The logs and rocks along the trail were covered with a thick growth of ferns. ferns on trail

Not seeing much bird activity on this trail I walked back down to the shores of the lake. Here I found a few fisherman on a boat,  trail along lake

some common mergansers andcommon mergansers on lake

a lot of double-crested cormorants. Their snake-like heads were everywhere in the waters of the lake. And there was a steady stream of them flying overhead. double crested cormorant in flight

I crossed a few small streams that flowed into the lake and came to the Moconaquah Trail. This was the name given to Frances Slocum by the Native American family that raised her. I followed the trail which took me out of the park and to a highway. 

Monanaquah trail sign post

It was decision time. The trail ended and I had to return by the same trail I walked out. Or follow the highway that ran along the lake. I decided on the later and walked the bike lane between the highway and the lake. 

It was a noisy but pleasant hike. The lake was below me and I watched the many cormorants flying above it’s waters and saw a few cardinals and sparrows in the brush and cattails growing along the shores of the lake. 

I saw a few ducks on the far shore of the lake and heard the familiar chatter of a  belted kingfisher. I love these birds. There was actually a pair of them flying over the waters of the lake looking for a meal of fresh fish. belted kingfisher in flight

As I followed the lake I had to make a detour when I came to the outflow from the lake but found my way near the campground near the other arm of the horseshoe shaped lake. 

There were  more ancient trees on trail including oak, birch, hemlock pine and a few of the rarer  shagbark hickory trees. shagbark hickory nut tree

Some of the trees showed evidence of some woodpecker activity in the park although I didn’t see any.holes in tree made by woodpecker

The sun was now shinning and I encountered a number of folks walking along the shores of the lake. I also saw a few great blue herons fishing for breakfast. great blue heron eating fish

I came to Lakeshore trail and continued my walk along the lake  walking along many area of wetlands. I heard one spring peeper in the wetlands. In a few days I am sure he will be joined by thousands of others and the sound will be deafening. wetlands along lake

The trail came to the middle of the two arms of the lake. There was a lot of human activity in this area using the boat and kayak ramps to enter the lake. And a lot more folks walking there dogs or parents out exploring nature with their children.

I followed the trail along the lake and came to another area of large old hemlock trees. trail along lake

I saw a few more cormorants on the water and this pair of mallard ducks. Here is a link to some more photographs of the birds I saw on my hike. Frances Slocum birds April 7 2018. pair of mallard ducks

I also came upon  some cliffs along the trail. I didn’t know it at the time of my walk, but I  have now learned that young Frances Slocum may have sheltered under these very rocks on the first night of her abduction. I love to learn the history of the places I hike and this area sure has a lot of it. rock cliffs along trail

It was a long five mile hike around the lake. I was glad to see the parking area and my car. Although the weather was more like January than April it was still a great day to explore this wonderful park. I hope to return, in warmer weather, which I hope will be very soon. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike. Frances Slocum hike April 7 2018

“A people without knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots.” –Marcus Garvey