Upgrading and Evolving

Creating. Those of us who blog and vlog or make music and art… we have a need to create. Doesn’t matter sometimes what it is, just as long as we make something. In this process we evolve and change, it’s inevitable. Over the past few years, I have found a lot of enjoyment creating video. I started messing with video years ago with a VHS camcorder… it was horrible, but I found ways to “produce” and “edit” on the fly. Since then I have tried my hand at video tech reviews and had a lot of fun doing them, but had more fun editing them. So I decided to merge my love of the outdoors with my new found enjoyment of video. It started with actual video about 7 or 8 years ago. Unfortunately, my computer at the time couldn’t handle the processing so I did the next best thing. I merged outdoors, video and photography and started making video slide shows of sorts, eventually mixing in short video clips.

At the beginning of 2016 I decided to dive back in to full video for my outdoor adventures and immediately realized it was way different than recording in an indoor setting. For the last 2 years I have struggled to find a balance between, good stable video and good audio. I’ve had cameras with good microphones and no image stabilization, ones with stabilization and poor microphones,  decently stable with good mics but render horribly… you name it. On top of trying to find that right balance, also trying to improve my filming and editing skills. And yet, it’s never gotten me down… frustrated occasionally yes, but not down. Now let’s see what my new recording setup does. I’m now using my GoPro Hero 5 Black on the Karma Grip for stable recording and my Tascam DR-05 portable audio recorder with a lavaliere mic. Below is my test of the new setup. What do you think?

 

Hike to Stone Lookout – Pinchot State Forest

With the first snow falling here in north east Pennsylvania this weekend, I headed out for a short hike to the Pinchot State Forest. I hiked the, apparently difficult to say, McClintock’s Gate Trail and the Stone Lookout Trail (or Stone Tower Trail depending on which direction you are hiking). Came across evidence of deer, coyotes, rabbits and snowshoe hares. Enjoy:

No Swimming Bears, but There Were Eagles!

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.

No Plans… No Problem

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.

Return to Bradys Lake

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.

Fog and Sun: Kayaking Francis E. Walter Reservoir

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.

 

Allegheny Reservoir Kayak/Camp

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,

Kayaking 3 State Parks in 1 Day

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.

Kayaking Season Has Begun!

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.

Waterfall Hunting

It’s been an interesting year already, especially when it comes to the weather. I was 4 hours south in Virginia in January and it was colder there then back home in north east Pennsylvania. 2 weeks ago I was backpacking in the Delaware State Forest and the temperature got down to 19F overnight, but by the time we got back to the car a few hours later it was 50F! Last weekend it was 76F on Friday and we had a tornado hit nearby on Saturday. This weekend lows in the single digits with it getting near 60 by mid week.

None of that stops me though, I always have that urge to get outside and at least scout potential spots for future trips. This weekend I randomly found myself back in the Pinchot State Forest at the Thornhurst Tract with no particular plans. Along Choke Creek we have heard about some waterfalls but never knew where they were. We’ve tried a few times to locate them but were never close. A few weeks ago while hiking the Choke Creek Trail we ran into an older couple driving down the forest road who offered us a ride back to the car, part of the Pinchot Trail System uses the forest roads. We declined the ride, but had a very nice conversation with the couple. The gentleman knew these woods well and pointed us in the right direction to find the falls.

Keep in mind, these aren’t lost falls or anything and with enough searching on the internet they could have been found easily. But, that defeats the purpose of getting out and exploring.

Check out the short video from the hike below.