The Mountain Laurel Is In Full Bloom , Creating A Magical World In The Woodlands Of Northeastern Pennsylvania
Once again we had cloudy skies that threatened rain on Sunday here in Northeastern Pennsylvania. It seems to rain every weekend. But it is mid-June and I knew the mountain laurel would be in bloom. I decided to take a ride to Tank Hollow in Carbon County. Located in State Game Lands 141 I only hiked here once before, last January. It is looked in the mountains above the Lehigh River and thought it would be a good place to see our State flower, the mountain laurel.
There were open fields on both sides of the roads with scattered large trees and many low shrubs and brush. I saw this deer feeding in the brush and was pleased that it didn’t see me when I first approached.
It was a lot different on this hike. I soon walked into groves of mountain laurel in full bloom. At first they were scattered about, creating beautiful white and pink splashes of color in the deep green woodlands.
I have seen a lot of mountain laurel but I never seen such a large and beautiful display as this. I took a video of this massive display.https://youtu.be/wq2sizWAlnw
I also saw a pair scarlet tanagers playfully fluttering among the oak, pine and maple tree tops. I followed them for 10 minutes trying to get a photograph of these beautiful birds. Their bright red colors would stand out as the flew from tree to tree. Unfortunately this was the best photograph I could get before they flew off.
I walked through the thick laurel groves and came to an outcrop of rock with a magnificent view of the Lehigh River below. A light rain started to fall as I listened to the roaring of the river fall below. I reflected on the folks who may have stood on these rocks and took in this view before me. It could have included the great naturalist John Audubon who visited here in 1829.
After my bit of reflection on the rock outcrop I made my way back up the trail through the mountain laurel to the main road. The road continued on for about a mile ending at a parking area which I assume would be used by hunters during the hunting season. The wide stone road ended here and a narrower grassy trail began.
As I walked closer to the trees he birds continued to sing in the branches above the trail including a few eastern towhees.
Unfortunately, the grass that grew on the trail, and gave it its rustic appearance, was also a breeding ground for ticks. I had about a dozen of these nasty critters crawling on me in this grassy area. I hate them.
I didn’t see any bears on my hike but I found what I was looking for, our beautiful State flower, the mountain laurel. I am glad I did, since it only blooms for a few days each year. I highly recommend visiting our mountains here in Northeastern Pennsylvania to see them. Here is a link to some more photographs I took on my hike. State Game Land 141 hike June 16 2019.