Game Lands 119: Thanks To A Heavy Downpour, I Have Found Some New, And Beautiful Hiking Trails.

Game Lands 119: Thanks To A Heavy Downpour, I Have Found Some New, And Beautiful Hiking Trails.

State game lands 119 black-and-white-warbler -9
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It was  another cold and rainy morning here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. I haven’t missed a day of hiking on a weekend for years, but I was considering it today.  I thought the rain would prevent me from taking my camera and I was a bit tired as I  I have been pushing it since I returned from my trip to Poland. But the rain let up and I decided to hike in the  Mary  and Harry Goeringer Preserve again. As I arrived it started pouring. .  Instead of getting soaked I decided to drive the dirt roads leading to the preserve.   I drove a few miles and found the entrance to State Game Lands 119. And what a good find it was. State game lands 119-1

The entrance is located in Dennison Township, Luzerne County, a few miles north of White Haven. The rain stopped and  I left my jeep and immediately felt at home. The road and woods reminded me of the woods located near my home and which I used to hike before they were developed into an industrial park and residential community. State game lands 119-2

The woods were mixed pine and hardwood forest with  abundant ferns and low bush blueberries. The blueberries here were weeks behind the ones at the lower elevations of the PPL Wetlands where I hiked yesterday. They are just beginning to flower up here in the higher elevations. State game lands 119-9

I followed the well maintained trail through the game lands hearing many species of birds singing in the surrounding trees and brush, including robins, cardinals, eastern towhees, sparrows, other song birds including this rose breasted grosbeak. State game lands 119 birds -1

The trees, too,  were a week or so  behind in their leaf development, than the trees at lower elevations. I plan to alternate my hikes between the two areas so I can get an extra week of Spring. State game lands 119-30

It rained off and on throughout my six to seven mile hike. I noticed that when it rained the birds would stop  singing and find shelter, and when it stopped they would be fluttering about in the trees and brush. I saw this beautiful bird for the first time, a black-and white warbler. ( click on the red highlight to see more photos of this bird)   And saw quite a few after my first sighting. State game lands 119 black-and-white-warbler -12

And theses beautiful birds also were seen when it stopped raining, this is, I believe a male common yellowthroat State game lands 119 common yellow throat -3

and this the female common yellowthroatState game lands 119 birds -6

A lot of the birds, including this Baltimore oriole were seen on the high bush blueberry bushes. I am not sure whether they were feeding on the flowers or on insects attracted to the flowers. State game lands 119 birds -2

Like in the wetlands at the lower elevations, there appears to be a big crop of blueberries up here this year too. State game lands 119-15The trail soon was crossed by a trail which I believe was a gas line. There were two beautiful apple trees in full bloom where the two trails met.State game lands 119-10

I followed the trail down and it passed through a wetland very similar to the ones located near my house and which I hiked for many years.  How they were able to develop these pristine areas still puzzles me. But I am glad I found these wetlands which are in the protected game lands. I have a feeling I will be hiking up here for many years. State game lands 119-18

There were many familiar plants growing in the wetlands along the trail including  pretty violet like flowers,State game lands 119-4dwarf ginseng, State game lands 119-21

and lot’s of ferns. State game lands 119-16

I came to a spring flowing from the ground and later was surprised to  learn that this was one of the headwaters  of the Nescopeck Creek, another of my favorite hiking destinations. State game lands 119-22

The trail was all downhill, and I knew it would be a long hike back, but I was so excited discovering new creeks, trails, plants ans wildlife that I couldn’t turn back. State game lands 119-25

The small stream flowed into a larger one and I followed the fast flowing stream until it ran into this pond, where it met the Black Diamond section of the D & L trail, about a half mile north of Moosehead Lake which I visited the first time a few weeks ago..State game lands 119-43

I hiked up to the lake and arrived just as another rain shower started. I was about 3 1/2 miles out and getting hungry so I decided to make the long hike back, knowing it will be mostly uphill. State game lands 119-42

A light rain was falling so there wasn’t a lot of wildlife activity, although I saw a few birds including this year round resident, a black-caped chickadeeState game lands 119 birds -8

and this, a chipping sparrow, I believe. State game lands 119 birds -11

I also ran into these critters who seemed just as curious about me as I was of them. They appear to be in the midst of shedding their dark winter coats. I watched them watched me for a while until they decided to move on. Here is a link to some more photographs  of some of the birds and deer I  saw on my hike. game lands 119 deer-3

I also saw some more wildlife, this time of the human kind, a gentleman riding his mountain bike and two woman enjoying the beauty of the game lands. I am so glad that it rained this morning since it let me find this wonderful place, with so many more trails to explore, and explore them I will, hopefully under some sunshine next weekend. Here is a link to some more photographs from my hike today. game lands 119-26

“With beauty before me, may I walk 
With beauty behind me, may I walk 
With beauty above me, may I walk
With beauty below me, may I walk
With beauty all around me, may I walk
Wandering on the trail of beauty, may I walk”
–  Navajo: Walking Meditation