Seems like an odd title, I know… but I have seem a swimming bear at this week’s destination before. Shohola Marsh Reservoir in Pike County PA is a 595 acre (accessible size … over 1,100 acres if you include the restricted waterfowl propagation areas) man-made lake. I have kayaked here five or six times and every time I see at least one Bald Eagle. Today’s visit was no exception with at least five Eagle sightings. One thing that was a little unexpected was that, even though it’s only August 12th, the trees already appear to be showing some fall color! Not much yet, but this is earlier than I can remember in recent years.
Last Saturday was another day without a plan. I wanted to go somewhere new, but as I mentioned last week it gets increasingly difficult to find new places close to home. I thought I had found 2 new lakes to paddle, but found out last minute the the larger of the two, Lake Minsi, has recently been drawn down for dam repair… like a lot of other man-made lakes in the area. Since it was over a hour drive to get there, I decided to abandon that plan considering that only one, relatively small lake was now accessible.
My friend suggested nearby Fords Lake, a spot that I have driven by many times and never realized it had a boat ramp or was publicly accessible. So we drove up to Clarks Summit and checked it out. I was pleasantly surprised.
(more after video)
After Fords Lake, we decided it was time for some lunch and wound up back in Tunkhannock were we ate at the Downtown Deli, great little spot by the way. After lunch and while we were right next to it, we decided to go try our luck in the Susquehanna River. I say “try our luck” because we have had a lot of rain this summer, so there was a lot of water in the river. We headed up river, just in case the current got too strong we could coast back to the launch. Good thing we did, because about a 1/4 mile up river we hit much stronger current and had a very difficult time paddling against it. Always better safe than sorry, although a can see a multi day river trip in the future.
Sometimes it’s tough to find new places in your local area. Over the past 3 years I’ve kayaked in most of the accessible lakes and ponds in my area, besides the extremely busy places. So, I occasionally have a hard time figuring out what I going to do on the weekends. Last weekend was one of those times.
I decided, fairly early on Saturday (like 5am early) that I was going to start the day at Prompton State Park, but I had no plans for after that. After spending 3 hours kayaking at Prompton I went home and searched the PA Fish and Boat Commission page – http://fishandboat.com and found Stevens Lake, a smal lake about 45 minutes from home that I had never been to before. (more after video)
As I found this new spot to kayak I decided to also stop at Lackawanna State Park for a sunset paddle, which turned out to be a beautiful night. Considering I started the day with no plans… 14 hours of kayaking and exploring was a nice surprise. It just goes to show, that you can always find something to do as long as you try.
Bradys Lake was drawn down and had it’s dam repaired in the early 2000’s, during that time remnants of old structures that were used for hauling ice in the 1800’s. Now, the lake is used for recreation. Fishing and kayaking are popular as is hiking along he trails around the water and in to the surrounding state game lands. Check out the video to get a look at this secluded lake in the Poconos.
A few weeks ago I visited this reservoir and kayaked the south arm, today I kayaked the north arm. You wouldn’t think that they would differ much, but the fact is they are like two different worlds. The south area is surrounded by forest and fields, the north is lined with rocky cliffs and the skeletons of a drowned forest. (more below video)
The reservoir is used to regulate the water flow of the Lehigh River, and since this has been a relatively wet year there hasn’t been any significant draw down as of yet. Or there has and it’s refilled. Either way, it makes for great kayaking, especially when there is only light wind like today.
Click here for the video from a few weeks ago to see the difference in the two sections.
I had the opportunity to pass through the Allegheny National Forest about three years ago while on a road trip to north west Pennsylvania. All I had the chance to do was look though, as I was driving home and needed to make time. I wanted to head back and check out the Allegheny Reservoir and found that not only can you kayak here, but you can camp. (more below video)
I decided to take a few days off of work and make the 4 hour drive, I launched from the Elijah Run Boat Ramp and due to weather concerns I made the Morrison Campground my first stop. At just under a mile from the ramp it allowed me to have a relatively quick escape should the weather turn (and it did).
Although, surrounded by a national forest, it didn’t feel as remote to me as say Lower Saranac Lake in the Adirondacks. Maybe because there were more people at this campground, and the campsites were closer. Speaking of which, I have seen many videos of people going to Allegheny Reservoir and setting up in primitive campsites anywhere along the water. As it turns out, this is a good way of getting yourself kicked out and fined by the Forest Service. It always pays to do your own research. While I was out on a night paddle I did see a Forest Service boat out spotlighting around non official spots, glad I went with the official campground,
It seems like every weekend this year, we’ve had rain… but not just rain… thunderstorms. So, after keeping an eye on the weather all day yesterday I knew I had a slim window to get out and do something. I got up around 4am and loaded up my kayak and headed to Bradys Lake in Monroe County. Once I got home we got hit with some pretty good sized storms, so I’m glad I got out when I did.
Pennsylvania is loaded with state parks, the DNCR website lists 121 state parks and conservation areas. At one time it was said that no matter where you were in the state, you are never more than 30 minutes from a state park. Although, that might not be completely true… it’s pretty close. For me 8 parks are within about a 30 minute drive and 16 within about 1 hour!!! So this past weekend I decided to get out and visit a few… I actually was at 4 if you count the short hike before the rain at Prompton State Park on Friday.
Saturday, I visited Gouldsboro, Tobyhanna and Promised Land State Parks for a little kayaking. To be fair Gouldsboro and Tobyhanna border each other, but they are separate parks. Throughout the day I saw eagles, osprey, hawks, beavers, herons and more fish than you can shake a stick at. Check out the video below to take a virtual ride along in my kayak with me.
A few weeks ago I got out to do a little paddling at nearby Prompton State Park, it was windy and we got a late start. This past Friday I was able to get out for a longer paddle at the Sholoha Marsh Reservoir in Pike County PA. The last time I kayaked here I saw a black bear swimming across the lake, this trip there was no bear but we did see, what at first, appeared to be fog rising off of a small island…. upon closer inspection it was a massive swarm of bugs.
The end of the year is always so hectic, with holidays and weather pecking away at spare time. It feels like I just posted about returning to Overlook Mountain last week.. but it was in October! So, here is what I’ve been up to.
Another Maine Road Trip
In 2015 I did a solo October New England road trip, and loved every second of it. In 2016 I wanted to return to Maine and spend more time in Acadia National Park. At first, I planned on going with a friend of mine. Continue reading