Not Many Signs of Spring On The Local Rails- To -Trails

Not Many Signs of Spring On The Local Rails- To -Trails

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It was raining here in Northeastern Pennsylvania on Sunday morning.  And I was still feeling some side effects from my second Covid-19 vaccine shot.  So I decided not to travel far  and hike on my local Rails -to -Trails which is located a couple of miles from my home in Hazle Township, Luzerne County. 

Ground was broken for the Greater Hazleton Rails to Trails in 2004 and it opened  to hikers, bikers, runners and dog walkers in 2005. It is a wonderful asset to the community and provides a place for folks to get out and experience and enjoy the beauty of Nature. 

I started my 5 mile hike at the parking lot on Route 93. The rain had stopped but it was overcast and cool when I started my hike. Unlike the Susquehanna Wetlands, where  I hiked on Saturday, Spring had not yet  arrived here on the mountaintop where the local Rails To Trails path is situated.  Only a few  trees had any signs of leaves and there were very few wildflowers in bloom. The tree  with the most leaves I saw on my five mile hike was the autumn olive. And there was only a couple of these  along the trail. 

The blackberry brambles along the trail also had some new leaves,

and the serviceberry trees were just starting to bloom. 

But, for the most part the woods along  the trail were still brown and leafless. 

However, looking more closely, you could see hints of the new growth that is coming. The scrub oaks along the trail did have tiny buds, 

as did the high bush, and 

low bush blueberry bushes. 

About one mile from the parking lot, the trail crosses  a highway and continues on a slight upgrade along the Dreck Creek Reservoir. 

It was quiet in the woods along the trail. I saw no wildlife activity. I saw no deer, rabbits or squirrels, which are I often se on my hikes here,  and heard only a few birds, black capped chickadees, robins and blue jays,  high in  the tree tops. A few chipping sparrows  were the only birds I saw close to the trail.

In addition to the scrub oaks and serviceberry trees the trail is surrounded by a mostly second growth forest of pitch pine, oak , birch and maple trees. 

There are also a lot of the State flowers growing along the trail, the mountain laurel which is an evergreen and stands out in the Winter when the trees are leafless. 

Along the tree are informative placards with information about the trail and reservoir, or the history of the area, or like this one with information about the bat nesting boxes,

located along the trails.

It is a 2 1/2 mile walk to a small picnic area with a dog watering station which provides drinks for thirsty canines in the warmer months. 

I ended my hike here on Sunday and started back on the trail I hoped to see some more wildlife but there was very little activity on my return hike. And I only saw three other people on the trail on my five mile hike.

I found  a few more signs that Spring is here on my walk. back. There were a few white violets growing along the trail.

And, further in the woods, I could see  the leaves of the fly poison plant sprouting through the dead leaf litter. This interesting plant was used by early colonists  to kill flies. The bulb and other parts of the plant are very toxic.

I crossed the highway again and walked that last mile to the parking lot. 

There were also some ferns pushing out of the ground near the end of the trail , I think these are cinnamon ferns.

I also saw this critter, a redback salamander. It wasn’t moving very fast and I think it may have just awakened from hibernation. 

I didn’t see any other critters on my hike, and the only bears I saw were these two, in the picnic area next to the parking lot. 

It was a cloudy and cool day, and there wasn’t a lot of wildlife activity but it was still nice to enjoy the peace and quiet our local Rails- To- Trails path provides. Take a walk out here, you won’t regret it. Here is a link to a gallery with some more photographs from my hike on the local Rails-to-Trails. Rails to trails hike April 25 2021. 

Find a path or make one–SENECA,





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