Sunday, May 15, 2016

Nescopeck State Park, PA

Nescopeck State Park, Pennsylvania DCNR

GPS Coordinates 41.09097, -75.88056
This is the first lot on the right.  The hike actually starts at the far end of this lot on the left, beyond handicapped parking.  You won't see the trail head until you are right up on it.

Nescopeck State Park Trail Map - Pennsylvania DCNR

HIKE DISTANCE:  6.1 miles

Today was Sebastian's 7th birthday hike.  Shawnee and I got him a Ruffwear Front Range Harness so he can be dressed like a proper hiking dog.  And because the Ruffwear harnesses don't chafe like other harnesses do.  Sebastian's regular walking harness was giving him raw armpits :(.
A gorgeous American Goldfinch in the parking lot was a predictor of things to come.
At the far end of the lot, the Lake Trail starts on the left.
A bridge over a side creek to the lake.
Lake Francis
I believe this is an Eastern newt in the lake, the adult stage of those red efts we see on land all the time.
These two pair of eagles eyes were spotting all kinds of thing in the lake...
... like American toads, errrr, making tadpoles.
Another pair a little farther along in the lake.  It's a hoppin' place.
The weather on this particular day was quite strange.  It started raining the closer we got to the park, then stopped the minute we pulled into the lot.  (The forecast was for partly sunny skies until early afternoon, then cloudy.)  But this wasn't all, there was more to come.
This is about 2 hours away from the NY Metro area where we live but spring was about 3 weeks behind.
My first ever Scarlet Tanager!
The map is very misleading.  It looked to me like we were to take the Lake Trail to the Creekside Trail but there is a section of the Nescopeck Trail in between the two.
Now starting the Creekside Trail (no Creekside Loop on the map).
Blue blazes will start now but they do not denote a particular trail.  In PA State parks, colors denote usage.  Blue means cross country skiing is allowed.
A GIANT old growth tree.  The picture does not adequately capture the size of this massive tree.
Uh oh.  No way was she going up those steps, even with harness handle assistance.  She had to be muzzled and lifted up.
Sebastian sailed up those steps but then again, he is a young punk at only 7 years old.
After that bridge, the trail goes left but to the right, a beaver dam and pond.
Sebastian isn't one to go into water but heck, when wearing a real hiking vest...
Shawnee inadvertently stepped into a deep spot and had to swim, which she is not fond of.
Just before one of us jumped in to rescue her, she made it out on her own.
Now continuing on past that bridge.
The son doesn't miss a thing.  Over in that puddle...
... strands of spirals that are American toad eggs!  We are still trying to figure out how a toad can produce that many eggs.  The strand appears to be continuous and it is a huge amount of eggs.
A section of multiple boardwalk and bridge crossings.
But no more as scary for Shawnee as that first one.  These she could handle just fine.
After crossing the bridges, the trail follows Nescopeck Creek.
We picked up a lot of litter along here :(
Blue Jay
I believe this is a veery.  It's hard to get a clear picture because for some reason the camera never wants to focus on this specific type of bird.
Nescopeck Creek
Then it happened.  Something was hitting us in the head and it was not rain.
Hunkering down for a few minutes.
Dueling trekking poles. 
And birthday treats.
Now the sun is out again.
I had one heck of a time trying to ID this bird.  That might be because it looks like he is a Canada Warbler just passing through on his way north.  This would be a migration area, not a final destination.  I read where this bird is the last to arrive at its breeding grounds in the spring so that explains why he was still in PA.  Happy and safe travels little guy!
Sebastian had the good sense not to go into the swamp.  Shawnee, against our wishes, went right in.  Let's just say a bath was had once she got home.
Coming up on a pond on the way back to Lake Francis.
Black and White Warbler
A crisper picture after he went behind a branch.
Taking the trail along the pond.
White-breasted Nuthatch
At the son's request, we took the full loop around Lake Francis on the way back.
We went through a total of 6 hail storms with sunshine in between each.
Lake Francis
Finding things that interest dogs.
Finding things that interest humans.
More American toad eggs in the lake.
Back at the parking lot, availing ourselves of the garbage can to deposit the litter we picked up and Sebastian's poop.  Next birthday a backpack so he can carry his own poop.


  1. You got some beautiful pictures here. I love that Shawnee went swimming even though she's afraid. It looks like a great place to hike. Thanks for sharing! Joanne

    1. Thanks, Joanne, but make no mistake, Shawnee does not swim voluntarily. She is all about wading in and getting wet but wants all 4 paws on the ground at all times. She must have stepped off into deep water and had no choice but to swim.

  2. Thanks for including me in your email updates. The dates you post above... are those the dates of the actual hikes? It just seemed the vegetation was a bit sparse is why I ask.


    1. Yes, I always adjust the date to reflect the actual date of the hike so it was last Sunday. As I mentioned in one of the picture captions, even though this hike is 2 hours away from the NY metro area, spring appears to be about 3 weeks behind, that is why it looks so sparse.

  3. Suggestion for the dog pack - Ruffwear pack with those disposable (but re-usable) tupperware type containers inside. I learned the hard way that storing poop just in poop bags in my dog's backpack is NOT a good idea. Much safer to put the bags inside a hard sided container :)

    1. Oh. Ewwwww. I get the picture. Shawnee never poops on hikes so it has never been an issue. Good advice, thanks! Sebastian, however, is a 2-3 times kind of guy and we mostly have to take it home in the car with us which is not pleasant. I read that putting the poop bags in a container with those silica absorbent packets cuts the odor so I have a plastic coffee container with those in the car but haven't had a chance to use it yet because since I did that, there have been trash cans available in the parking lot. Might be worth carrying that container in the backpack versus poop bags dangling and thwocking every which way :) You have given me ideas now...