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Monday, October 2, 2023

Fall Hike in Promise Land State Park

 Monday, October 2, 2023

Hi Blog!

After leaving the White Mountains of New Hampshire, we made a stop along the Hudson River just below Albany, New York. We used that stop to visit Dave's brother and sister-in-law, Laird and Risa. We had a great take-out dinner Friday and a fabulous brunch on Saturday at the new and improved Cafe Madison. We also managed to play Chuck Luck! The visit was too short, but hopefully once we settle in the new house there will be more opportunities for visits.

On Sunday, we left the Capital Region of New York and stopped in upstate Pennsylvania at one of our favorite parks, Promised Land State Park. We typically camp on Pickerel Point, but decided to stay in the Beechwood Campground because it is closer to the small boat launch on Lower Lake. However, after back to back to back moves, we really didn't want to sit in our kayaks. We opted to take a hike instead. The nice part of being in the Beechwood Campground was we could just walk over to the trailhead.

The Little Falls Trails is popular with campers. Several other hikers had preceded us, knocking down most of the spiderwebs. However, one lone birch leaf spun on an invisible thread of spider silk.

The first part of our hike follows the East Branch Wallenpaupack Creek.

Looking back upstream from the bridge, we saw the spillway for the dam at the bottom of Lower Lake.

With all the recent rain, the creek was flowing briskly. The trees are beginning to show their fall colors.

Normally dry side channels now required a little rock hopping.

In all of our hikes, this is the first time we have come across woolly alder aphids. Woolly aphids are spectacular. They sit on twigs in large numbers and fly through the air like bits of fluff or feathers. Their aerial appearance has earned them common names like fairy flies, fluff bugs, and angel bugs.  Of course, they're not as angelic as their nicknames imply.

The “wool” on a woolly aphid is wax, produced by abdominal glands in order to make the aphid look less like a Happy Meal to its predators. The wax streamers shed water, make the aphid look like mold, and are distasteful and distracting. Several sources suggested that the strands also assist a woolly aphid when it’s aloft, helping it float in the breezes and disguising it as an airborne plant seed. 

We bid the woolly aphids goodbye and continued down the trail. A carpet of maple leaves hid the infamous Pennsylvania rocks.

After hiking to the end of the Little Falls Trail, we set out on the East Branch Wallenpaupack Trail. We were hoping to make it to Lake Paupack. However, we found the lake surrounded by private properties and were not able to get a good look at it. We made our way back to the Little Falls Trail. You can normally ford the stream here and pick up the Dam Ridge Trail. However, the recent rains had made fording a very wet proposition.

We hiked back to the bridge next to the Little Falls. 

In the photo below, Kathy is sitting on a bench at the far end of the bridge taking in the falls.

We thought this would make a great lunch spot. We listened to the falls while we ate our sandwiches.

After lunch, we continued down the near side of the creek. The high water flow was creating interesting new channels through the flats.

We left the creek behind and picked up the Dam Ridge Trail. After the hurricane came through a couple weeks ago, a number of trees were knocked down along the trail. Kathy practices a little trail yoga in the photo below.

The trail crossed right through a rododendron forest. If it wasn't for Dave's red shirt, Kathy would have missed the trail.

We connected with the Hemlock Trail, which is actually a forest road and fire break. It was nice to walk on the old woods road instead of all those rocks!

The hike ended at the far end of our campground, in an equestrian camping area. While there were no horse campers present, you could definitely smell that some had been here recently. Good thing blog posts don't come with a smell feature!

This may be our last blog for a while. We move to the South Philly KOA tomorrow. We plan to spend the next several weeks working on our new house, visiting more family and puppy sitting for our daughter. Until next time, stay thirsty my friends.

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