I knew it was time to get out for a hike alone. Been a while and now that the weather has turned colder I figured this was perfect. Laurel Hill State Park has quickly become one of my favorites. I’ve visited several times since last year and still haven’t explored all the areas there. However, one trail, Hemlock trail is my favorite within the park so far. With the weather being cold and rainy, I’d head to that trail. It meanders along Laurel Hill Lake for most of the way until you hike up into the Hemlock Natural Area. This area is a patch of virgin hemlocks, the only still left in the park.
My first stop was because of the loud thumping sounds I heard in the creek. Quick survey and I found out why. It was a trout. Tucked under one of the small nooks along the banks it was having some fun, flapping around in the water. I watched it splash about for a long time. A few yards up the creek I spotted what I thought would be a nice spot for a photo. The ripples were hitting the shallow rocks, the foam and leaves making a nice swirly pattern in the water. I set up shop and took a few long exposures. It was cloudy which gave nice even light and not too many reflections, nonetheless a polarizer was used to make the colors pop a little bit. I was in the middle of taking my first long exposure. I turned around to take in my surrounding and spotted something scampering down the creek. I wasn’t sure quite what it was. I stood completed still until it got closer. It was a River Otter! It got within a few feet of me and stopped. Obviously it must have been thinking ‘What is this creature doing here!?’ It looked at me, turned and ran away! I’ve never seen a River Otter before. I felt extremely lucky to see one. I read that they have only recently been re-introduced to Pennsylvania. Spotting one definitely means that Laurel Hill Creek is a healthy eco-system environment. Needless to say I’m very happy. I wish I could’ve gotten a picture but I am very glad for the experience!
I went out to nature to relax and get away from the all of the noise that’s been going on lately. Nature rewarded me with spectacular scenery and gave me a glimpse into her world. I’m feeling very refreshed!