A Detour to the North, Part I

This October I was fortunate to take a trip to Maine, Nova Scotia and Quebec. Much of the topography of the inland areas, and the fall color, remind me of Pennsylvania. First up is a boat trip from Bar Harbor, Maine. This part of the Maine coast from Bar Harbor to Somes Sound is dotted with the “cottages” of the rich and famous.

The trip was themed around the lighthouses of the Bay of Maine near the Mount Desert Island shore.

Here are some boats, buoys, and critters along the way, along with a few looks at Mount Desert Island from the sea.

Happy Thanksgiving

This is a weekend to remember all our blessings – the people, places and things that make life worthwhile. I am grateful that this Commonwealth has such and abundance of natural beauty and wonderful people,

These guys are grateful not to be turkeys.
Fall beauty in State Gamelanda 110.

A Few Covered Bridges Then Home

Lycoming County has a total of four covered bridges. I visited two of them on my way home from Potter County.

The Buttonwood Bridge (also known as the Blockhouse Bridge) was built in 1898 with the structure spanning Blockhouse Creek. It uses a queen post with king post truss and is 74 feet 2 inches (22.6 m) long. The bridge is in good condition with a new wood shingled roof and pressure treated floor. The structure is open to traffic all year long. The bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980 and had a major restoration in 1998. It is the shortest and most heavily used of the three covered bridges remaining in Lycoming County.

A couple of looks inside the bridge.
An interesting sawmill operation near the bridge.
Very nice looking barn.
Anther pretty barn shot.

The next bridge to the south was the Cogan House Bridge. This bridge was built in 1877 of the Burr Arch design with a structure length of 94 feet crossing Larry’s Creek. Cogan House bridge is open to traffic, and leads to a dead end private drive near the game lands. The bridge was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980, and had a major restoration in 1998. The Cogan House bridge is named for the township and village of Cogan House, and is also known by at least four other names: Buckhorn, Larrys Creek, Day’s, and Plankenhorn.

The Cogan House Covered Bridge was constructed by a millwright who assembled the timber framework in a field next to the sawmill, before it was reassembled at the bridge site. It was the only bridge on Larrys Creek that survived the flood of June 1889, and one of only a handful that were left intact in the county. Although the bridge used to carry a steady flow of tannery and sawmill traffic, the clearcutting of the surrounding forests meant the end of those industries by the early 20th century.

The route to the bridge.
The other side.
A look inside.
Cattle on a hill en route to the bridge.

A Dam Long Way Around, Part 2

I left Austin and proceeded south to Sizerville State Park. This park reminds me of Hyner Run or Reeds Gap. It is a quiet park with a small campground and a pool. Alas, the pool at Reeds Gap is gone, but this type of park remains one of my favorites. The 368 acre Sizerville is surrounded by Elk State Forest and near large blocks of additional state forest land. If it wasn’t so far, I’d like to come back here.

The drive up to Salt Run Vista was worth it. Yes, someone must drive up here to mow this.
Salt Run Vista
Trees on the way down the mountain to Sizerville.
A bonus vista – the narrower view at Crooked Run Vista.

I then made the long journey to Kettle Creek State Park. In retrospect, I should have done this the day before as continuation of my trip to Ole Bull, but now I know better. The park consists of 1,793 acres along Kettle Creek in western Clinton County. The park is in a valley surrounded by mountainous terrain and wilderness. Many of the existing recreational facilities arose from a joint flood control project developed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the former Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources. The park offers camping, boating, hunting, fishing, hiking, and other activities.

Another dam.
A dam with a flag.
Looking down over the edge to the lake. It’s further than it looks.
The valley with the lake is pretty.
A family paddle.

I thought I might be able to save some time getting to Sinnemahoning State Park by driving up to Kettle Creek Vista then cutting across the ridge and down the other side. Of course there were no roads down into the other valley, because there was another lake, with (you guessed it) another dam.

Kettle Creek Vista.

I made the trek back down the valley to highway north to Sinnemahoning State Park. The park, located near the center of the Pennsylvania Wilds’ scenic steep valleys region, encompasses 1,910 acres of beautiful scenery and outstanding wildlife habitat. Situated in Cameron and Potter counties, the park is nestled between the green-shouldered ridges of Pennsylvania’s Elk State Forest and Susquehannock State Forest. The park is long and narrow and includes lands on both sides of First Fork Sinnemahoning Creek — a major tributary to the Sinnemahoning Creek. At the southern end of the park, a 145-acre reservoir created by the George B. Stevenson dam provides fishing and boating opportunities. There is a campground and excellent wildlife viewing opportunities, including elk, bear, and large variety of birds.

Another valley with another dam.
Park office and wildlife center.
A look inside the Wildlife Center.

Some Horses and a Vulture Convention

A trip tp eastern Lancaster County provided a look at the following scenes:

A group of vultures found something dead and furry by the side of the road. There was one black vulture and several turkey vultures.

Who’s the other guy?
When I circled back around, the turkey vultures had decided to show off the interloper. More vultures were in the air.

There were also plenty of horses enjoying their Sunday off. I think almost everyone likes horses.

A peaceful browse.
Now I don’t know know what this one is trying to say, but he doesn’t seem happy with me.
Some more horses off in the distance.
A bonus shot of an Amish buggy.

Franklin’s Covered Bridges

Franklin County, Pennsylvania is home to two covered bridges. It was great to seem them in the Autumn, which is the Commonwealth’s best season (in my opinion. of course).

First up is the Martins Mill or Shindle Bridge which is reported to be the longest remaining Town truss covered bridge in Pennsylvania. It was reconstructed after the Hurricane Agnes flood of 197, but it is now closed to all traffic. It is still open to foot and bike trail users. The bridge was built in 1839 by Jacob Shirk. The length is 207 ft. with a width of 16 ft.. it crosses Conococheague Creek in Franklin County.

One the way to this bridge, I spotted some interesting cattle:

The Witherspoon Covered Bridge is the second covered bridge in Franklin County. The bridge was built in 1883 by S. Stouffer. It utilizes the Burr Truss in its construction. The bridge’s length is 87 ft., and the width is 14 ft. it crosses Licking Creek in Montgomery Township.

It’s Very Early Fall in Lancaster County

An unusually bright and sunny day greeted me in late September in Lancaster county. The sky was so blue and the white so white that it almost hurts my eyes. I’m not used to this here in Pennsylvania. As it was a Sunday, the buggy traffic was out in force, and the field horses were grazing in the fields.

Buggies are upcoming in the next episode!

Summer at Middle Creek

I don’t make it to Middle Creek Wildlife Management Area in Lancaster and Lebanon counties all that often during the Summer. Here are a few shots from around the property.

A lovely tiger swallowtail decided to hang out.
Geese can be found at Middle Creek almost any time of year.
The corn is looking good.
Farming is done at Middle Creek. The fields provide habitat and food for some species.
Pennsylvania farm country in a nutshell.
I never really noticed the hills around this area as much as on this trip.
Much to do here other than wildlife viewing.
A glamorous egret interloper with the geese.
Purple wildflowers along this pond.
Lots of wildflowers everywhere ….

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun

Our annual Poconos girls’ weekend occurred in July this year. On short notice, my friend was able to find a great weekly rental at Lake Naomi. I also take this time to do some exploring around the Poconos. I set out to view some lake communities I hadn’t visited before. I will leave the rest of the weekend to your imagination.

The most photogenic was the Emerald Lakes area.
Boats lined up near a swimming beach.
A nice private dock in need of a boat.
This looks like a great family day out.
A deer came out to say hello.
The clubhouse beach at Stillwater Lake has seen better days. The waterfowl have taken over.
Something different: Checking out the shooting range at State Game Lands 127.

Once More Into Delaware

April and May are prime times for birding at Bombay Hook National Wildlife Refuge in Delaware. The weather was beautiful on a recent trip. Here are a few photos of what I saw.

This egret had the Beaver Pond to itself.
Two avocets at cross purposes.
Looking like a school master with errant pupils – great and snowy egrets.
A relaxing bask in Finnis Pool.
A beautiful redbud in bloom.
Finally, the worst picture of the cutest pied billed grebe ever.