Tuscarora State Park, It’s Got A Lot More Than Just Swimming
I do not think I have been to Tuscarora State Park (for you new readers the red highlighted words are link to other websites with additional information or photographs) since I was in high school. I would swim here with friends and recall picnicking here once with my family. So for me, this park, located about 17 miles from my home in Hazle Township, was only a place to swim and have cookouts. Well I learned something new today, it is also a wonderful natural area with some great hiking trails.
It was cloudy when I started out on the Spirit of Tuscarora trail at the far western end of the parking lots. The trail immediately climbed slightly upward above Tuscarora lake. It was wide and well maintained, in fact, I ran into it’s maintainence man and creator, “Pap”. Pap was trimming the undergrowth along the trail and stopped to give me a very detailed history of the trail and some it;s highlights.
After a nice chat about the local flora and fauna I proceeded along the yellow trail under ancient pine, hemlock, oak and yellow birch tree. I came across a number of tiny frogs, which Pap later identified as a young american or wood toad . I found a mature on later on my hike.
I took the white blazed trail to the Locust Creek. There were a number of wooden walkways and a bridge over the creek. And after crossing the first wooden walkway I came upon the “Spirit Tree” which the trail was named after. Pap named the old tree since it resembled a human face.
I than continued through more old forest and thick rhododendron woods. I heard a lot of birds in the trees above but didn’t get to see many. I then took the red blazed trail down to a meadow area along the Locust Creek. The trail was lined with flowering wild roses and other wildflowers such as milkweed that are not yet in bloom. I was told it is beautiful in August when they are in full bloom.
I stopped along the creek for a rest. So peaceful listening to the flowing waters. Thus is a Youtube link to a video I uploaded.. https://youtu.be/ZQYOB_kdtD0
The trail than headed back up a steep and steady incline. I passed some beautiful varnish shelf mushrooms growing on a hemlock tree. These mushrooms are used by artists and may have some medicinal uses as well. The recent rains we have been getting have the mushrooms growing and I saw a few species including some edible ones.
The trail looped after rejoining the white trail to create a figure eight and then reconnected with the yellow trail which headed back to the parking area. I ran into Pap again and we walked down to his canoe together, exchanging stories of our mutual life long love of nature and it’s many wonders and the woods of northeastern Pennsylvania. I learned a lot from Pap and from my hike on the Spirit if Tuscarora Trail Tuscarora Park is far more than a place to swim or picnic. It has s0me beautiful forests and great, well maintained hiking trails. I didn’t even get to the trails on the other side of the lake. But I will be back.
This is a link to more photographs of the beautiful Spirit of Tuscarora trail. https://keepyoureyespeeled.net/photographs-5/nggallery/blog-photos/tuscarora-state-park-june-13-2015
“One may lack words to express the impact of beauty but no one who has felt it remains untouched. It is renewal, enlargement, intensification. The parks preserve it permanently in the inheritance of the American citizens.”
― Bernard DeVoto