I’ve been spending more time in the Lackawanna State Forest due to its proximity to my house. I’ve been impressed by what I have seen.
Recently I went on an off-trail hike along Painter and Panther Runs in the northern part of the Thornhurst tract of that state forest. I began by hiking up Panther Creek as its clear waters reflected the fall colors. I even saw brook trout as they zeroed in like a torpedo on a crevice to hide. I soon reached Painter Creek and followed that stream. It too harbored brook trout as it tumbled over small boulders. In a few places, it flowed through beautiful hemlock forests in hidden gorges. I followed the creek and crossed when necessary on moss covered rocks, and scrambled along roots when the bank became too steep. Birch trees crowded the creek with thick saplings that were wet from the rain. If the heavy mist didn’t get me wet, the trees surely did.
I passed some nice off-trail campsites along the creek near the Watres Trail, which I followed to the Pinchot Trail. I took a quick break and followed the yellow-blazed Watres Trail over to Panther Creek, which I followed downstream to complete the loop.
At first, the creek was nothing noteworthy. In one place, it even disappeared as it sank into the streambed. But I heard something downstream and I was soon greeted to a beautiful falls the tumbled down mossy ledges into pools framed by fallen, yellow leaves.
My goal was to also climb Panther Hill to find a vista from a rock outcrop. I decided to forego that search on this hike due to the weather. I continued down Panther Creek and returned to my car, bringing an end to my 7 mile hike.