My First Hike In Tobyhanna State Park In Monroe County And No Bears Here Either
Well I didn’t hike in the Susquehanna Wetlands this past Saturday. I changed my usual routine. Instead, I hiked in Tobyhanna State Park. Located in Monroe County it is about 55 miles from my home in Luzerne County. It was my first hike in this park. My pursuit of the elusive black bears brought me there. Some friends were camping here the previous weekend and saw a large black bear three times. They were told this bear is becoming a nuisance and may have to be removed. Well I decided to try and get some photos before they removed him. And, of course, I love exploring a State Park I haven’t visited before.
Tobyhanna State Park I learned, is a 5500 acre park that was once part of a military artillery range from 1914 to 1941. Unexploded shells can still be found in the remote areas of the park. The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania re-acquired the land in 1949 and created Tobyhanna State Park, State Game lands 127 and Gouldsboro State Park. I also learned the Tobyhanna is a Native American word for ” “a stream whose banks are fringed with alder.” There is a scenic 170 acre lake in the park.
I was eager to explore the park, and find the bear, when I arrived at the boat launch park around 8:30 a.m. It was mostly cloudy and a pleasant 70 degrees when I began my hike on the Lakeside Trail. The trail was well maintained as it followed the shore of the lake toward the beach and camping area.
After I left the beach area, and followed the trail into the woods, I noticed that many of trees along the trail were second growth red maple, yellow birch and some pine trees . I was surprised there were almost no oak trees in these woodlands. I don’t usually hike in these type of woods.. Most of the woods near my home are primarily oak.
There were some late summer wildflowers blooming along the trail, including a few species of goldenrod. I never knew there were so many different types of this late Sumer flower until I got my plant identification iPhone app , It tells me I saw some grass-leaved goldenrod at the beginning of my hike , and that I also saw
I continued to follow the Lakeside Trail , but left it and walked in to the campgrounds with the hope of seeing the bear. It had been seen roaming around the pavilions looking for leftovers. I was disappointed he wasn’t there on Saturday so I left the campgrounds and continued my hike .
The woodlands along the trail were still dominated by maple trees but there were also a lot of large black cherry trees. I haven’t seen this trees since my visit to God’s Country in Potter County last year.
There were a lot of folks using the trail, at first it was only runners and bikers, but later I would see large groups of young campers hiking on the trail with their elders. It was nice to see young folks experiencing nature.
I was surprised there weren’t many birds in the woods along the trail. I heard some more red-eyed vireos, some eastern wood peewees and black-capped chickadees but none came near the trail except this red-bellied woodpecker.
The trail kept taking me away from the lake. There was no cell service and I had no map so I wondered if I was on the right trail. It sure wasn’t along the lake. I was relieved to finally see this sign and knew I was on the right trail.
I also saw these alder buckhorn berries near the dam. These trees are invasive, and are not the same alder trees that the Native Americans would have seen. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos of the flowers and mushrooms I saw on my hike. Tobyhanna State park flowers and mushrooms September 3 2022.
and back to the boat launch area where I parked my Jeep.
The boat launch area was empty when I arrived but was now overflowing with people and vehicles enjoying this last unofficial weekend of Summer. I didn’t see the bear, but I enjoyed my 5.8 miles around the lake. I will visit again, but not during mushroom season. I need to hike in oak woods to find the edible mushrooms I enjoy. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photos from my 6 mile hike. Tobyhanna State Park September 3 2022.