Not Looking Much Like Spring In The State Game Lands 119 In Dennison Township.
Even though the weather turned cold there were some promising signs of Spring at the PPL Wetlands in Salem Township Luzerne County on Saturday. On Sunday I decided to drive nearby Dennison Township and hike in State Game Lands 119. I parked at the Harry and Mary Goeringer Preserve, located adjacent to the Game Lands and lands of the Wildlife Conservancy. This beautiful tract of lands is also a great place to hike and explore.
But on Sunday I began my hike in the game lands on an old railroad right of way near the preserve . Unfortunately, the first part of the trail has essentially become a small stream. The game lands are located on the Pocono Plateau in Dennison Township about 12oo feet higher in elevation than the PPL wetlands I visited Saturday. And what a difference the elevation made.
There were no sign of any green plants growing along the railroad right of way. I didn’t even see any skunk cabbage in the wetlands along the trail . So much different from the lower wetlands in Salem Township.
It was sunny and cold when I started my hike with temperatures in the low 20’s. Skies were clear and the bright March sun shone on the oak and beech leaves that still clung to the branches of these trees.
I saw no birds on the trail. And no bears either. I have often seen them in this area and had hoped I might encounter on waking up after their winter hibernation .
The trail followed the railroad right of way to a small lake and wetlands adjacent to the Black Diamond section of the D&L Trail. Legend has it that a locomotive did not make the sharp turn at the bottom of the railroad track grade and plummeted into the lake. They say it is still there.
I saw no signs of the train under the waters of the calm and serene lake but I did see some birds on the lake and the surrounding woodlands. There were a number of golden-crowned kinglets hopping and scurrying about the higher branches of the tree tops. These tiny birds never sit still.
The sound of woodpeckers pecking at tree branches filled the air and I saw a few downy or hairy woodpeckers along the trail .
Red-breasted nuthatches scampered down the tree trunks looking for insects.
And this Carolina wren was singing on a branch overhanging the trail.
Near the far distant shore of the lake I saw a pair of hooded mergansers .
and a pair of ring-necked ducks enjoying the quite waters under the late March sun.
The old railroad trail intersected with the Black Diamond segment of the D&L trail and I followed it northward. Once again I was reminded how a difference in elevation can affect the climate of a location . There were no sign of any new green growth of plants or trees here in Dennison Township.
The D&L followed another old railroad right of way but it is a much wider and well-maintained trail. I was hoping to see a few early migratory birds along the trail but there were none. Only a couple of the more usual winter residents including sparrows,
I walked out about 3 1/4 miles and came to a pond and wetland along the east side of the trail. I had hope to see some water birds, a blue heron or even an osprey or bald eagle, However, mush to my dismay there was nothing on the water.
I followed the trail a short distance around a curve and came to beautiful Moosehead Lake. Once again my expectations to see some wildlife were disappointed.
However I sat on a bench enjoyed the solitude of the lake and its deep blue waters.
It was now late afternoon and the March sun had warmed the cold morning air. Still, I saw even less wildlife on my return hike. I did see. a couple of walkers and bikers on my return hike but not as many as I would have expected on this spectacular March Day. As our world is turned upside down with the “social distancing” requirements brought on by the corona virus please remember there is plenty of wide ope spaces where you can get out and enjoy the beauty of nature. Here is a link to a photo gallery with more pictures from my hike in Dennison Township. . State Game Lands 119 hike March 22 2020
It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. Charles Dickens