Daryl Warren

Daryl Warren

National Summit Day turned out to be National Summit Fizzle Day, at least locally. Nobody showed up for the Gillespie Point hike last Saturday.

Methinks this annual “Day,” initiated by Backpacker Magazine in 2018, is more or less a “Hallmark” event, designed to draw attention to hiking in general. In any case, it didn’t get off the ground (so to speak) in Tioga County. Oh, well. Maybe next year. Perhaps, by then, Hallmark will be offering a greeting card for $4.95: “Happy National Summit Day.”

While traipsing through Penn’s Woods, you’ll encounter animals (fauna) and plants (flora) that you may want to learn about. Well here’s your chance to bone up and impress your friends with your vast reservoir of knowledge concerning some local fauna. (Even using the word “fauna” is impressive).

Hills Creek State Park presents free events open to the public. This Friday, Aug. 9, at the Park’s Nature Center, show up at 8:30 p.m. to examine the world of the coyote, the red fox and the grey fox, all of which are canines, just like your pet pooch.

How do you handle encounters with bears? You’d better be prepared because eventually you’ll run into one when hiking them thar hills. I’ve had many meet-ups with Pennsylvania’s black bruins, each time coming away unscathed.

The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources says you’re more likely to encounter bears at this time of year because it’s their roaming-about breeding season and Pennsylvania’s bear population is estimated in excess of 15,000. Learn how to handle a potentially dangerous situation by showing up at the Nature Center at Hills Creek State Park on Saturday, Aug. 10 at 8:30 p.m.

And then there’s the beaver. Many times our hikes pass by beaver ponds, sometimes in the most unexpected places, like the top of the mountain. Where, you might wonder, does the water comes from to fill the pond?

On Sunday, Aug. 11 at 6:30 p.m. the DCNR has planned a short seven-tenths of a mile hike on the Mid State Trail. Meet at Hills Creek State Park’s C loop. You’ll be guided to an active beaver lodge and introduced to facts about these interesting animals. One question I have is, “What do they eat in the wintertime when the pond is frozen solid?”

How about ducks? After the “Beaver Hike,” you may want to learn the story of waterfowl conservation as seen through the eyes of a Labrador retriever, a young boy and an old hunter. Ducks Unlimited has created this conservation classic which will be shown at 8:30 p.m., Sunday, Aug. 11, in the Park’s Nature Center. Stormy, a Lab retriever puppy, will be there to greet you.

Happy trails.

Daryl Warren has been a serious hiker for many years.