My First Hike At The Austin T Blakeslee Natural Area in Monroe County.
I am having some remodeling work done on my home, My contractors arrived early Saturday morning. One of the contractors asked me where I was going to hike that morning. ( They knew I hiked somewhere every weekend) I said I hadn’t decided yet. He suggested I should try the Austin T Blakeslee Natural Area in Monroe County. I was never there before and I soon learned it is about 35 miles from my home. It is right off of Interstate 80 and is only a 35 minute drive from my home in Hazle Township, Luzerne Count . I was soon on my way.
It was an overcast and cool March day when I arrived. The temperature was in the mid 30’s. The lower parking lot was located near the Tobyhanna Creek. I walked to the river, and as I did, a bald eagle and kingfisher flew over my head. They flew to fast for me to capture an image but I was glad to see them. Their presence hinted there must be a lot of fish in the river. I would learn later it is a good fishing area visited by many local fishermen including my brothers and nephew.
I also learned there was once an amusement park here and that it was destroyed in a flood in the 1950’s. The park was taken over by the county and named after a local conservationist Austin T Blakeslee. There was a grove of tall spruce
The trail continued above the swift flowing waters of the Tobyhanna Creek. Tobyhanna is a Native American word that means ” a stream whose banks are fringed with alder” and that it is a tributary of the Lehigh River. I hope to learn a lot more about the creek and this area.
As the trail approached the creek again it crossed some more open woodlands where I found many northern highbush blueberry growing. They were known as “swampers” by the old timers in my hometown. I will have to visit this area when the ripen in mid-July for two reasons, first to pick these delicious berries and second, to hopefully see some black bears who also love this tasty fruit. I followed the trail along the creek.
I walked back down to the creek one last time and and finished my five mile hike. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my hike in the natural area. Austin T Blakeslee Natural Area March 26 2022.
Although I didn’t see a lot of wildlife on this hike I am sure I will on my future hikes here at the Austin T Blakeslee Natural Area. And I am sure, God willing, there will be plenty more hikes in this wonderful little nature preserve.
The woods are made for the hunters of dreams,
The brooks for the fishers of song;
To the hunters who hunt for the gunless game
The streams and the woods belong.
(Sam Walter Foss, The Bloodless Sportsman)