Monday, July 27, 2009

Lazy Monday

Slept Late, had a pancake breakfast Am made, then after a short walk to the lake, and hanging around camp headed out to Good's Store & Shady Maple. We did the Smorgasbord this time around, but the lunch menu. Everyone enjoyed their meals, especially the girls whom created some inspired Gelaitis. Made a trip to Shady Maple's Gift Store to look around, then to the grocery to pick up a few favorites.
Back at camp, took Molly on the trails, and then we all went to play mini-golf. At the last hole, it started to drop a few big drops from the sky, and halfway home the rains came. The tree cover helped us stay a bit drier, but we were still quite damp. Got settled in, had some snacks, and then settled in to listen to the rain roll into a thunderstorm, and watch a little tv. soon, everyone is snooozing - except me. Was a good, restful day.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


Not Actual Skunk
Am took Molly out for her last "outing" for the evening, and out front of RoadAbode, saw a "cat" scurry across the street in front of her and Molly. Heard the neighbors dog give chase across their site in the darkness. Am continued up the street and then circled back. Found out from the neighbor it wasn't a cat. Their dog got a good shot from a skunk - and you could smell it in the neighborhood too. Shook Am up a bit, was almost her or Molly!

Quick Trip to Lancaster

After church services, packed up and headed to RoadAbode. Had lunch then K and I headed toward Lake-in-Wood Campground, not far from Shady Maple. E had play rehearsal, so Am and her will meet us after up there. Easy ride up - Molly seemed to enjoy the ride as well.
Once everyone was at the campsite, (Newer concrete pad and gravel - laid out well) We had dinner at the Gnome cafe, chicken sandwiches and burgers - pretty good.
Now Back at RoadAbode - watching some cable favorites.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Picture SlideShow from French Creek

Six Penny Day

After Breakfast and a little cleanup, Molly and
I started on our Six Penny Adventure. The ranger on Friday night said there were still remains of the buildings and lake from Six Penny, and I wanted to see if I could find them. I checked the map, and found we could pick up the Six Penny Trail (orange Blaze) by following a service road near the entrance to Loop D of the campground. As we walked the wide grassy service road,

Molly must have sensed my excitement, because
she started playing her "chase me" game, which I obliged.

After a bit, arrived where Six Penny trail crossed our Service Road, and greeted a few mountain bikers on the trail (Which are forbidden on this part of the trail) We didn't pickup the trail
there, as had seen our service road became a dead end - right int
o the trail. Sure enough we picked up the trail there, where also a large water tower not on the maps resides. Soon we were into the forest, where the only noise seemed to be our footfalls. The trail started to thin, and seemed to be less used than others I've been on at the park. We also started to descend, and I new that on the way back, one way or the other - we'd need to climb again. On a water break with Molly, we spotted Monotropa uniflora (Indian pipes)

On the trek downward, all of a sudden Molly stiffened, then ran behind me. I looked at the trail below, and a large "Labradoresque" dog was galloping toward us. Fortunately he was friendly and just wanted whiff of Molly. The elderly owner panted and puffed up to us Apologizing that he
didn't "hear" us, or he would have put him back on a leash. (Molly's always on her leash - it's the rule in the park) We continued on.
Soon we heard a road, where the trail leveled off, and turned left. The trail had also started to show signs of the sandy soil of Six Penny I remembered. For a while the trail meandered on, full of various fungi and lichen. We saw a unmarked trail to the right, going down the hillside. Intrigued, I almost took it, but wanted to stay on course.
A stream ran under a footbridge, and then our trail . We saw the purple blazed Kalmia trail with it's dilapidated water fountain landmark

(the home of the Six Penny Diary) I felt we were almost there. We went through the undergrowth, and found our first remnants of the Recreation area.

A foundation for the area you could check your belongings while you swam. You could still see the cubbies and baskets they would use to hold your belongings.

Then what I came for, Six Penny Lake itself. After descending a stone stairway we came to where I spent some summer weekends with my brother more than thirty years ago. Not much is left of the lake, it's more of a marshy, cattail filled area. I could not even make out the beach area. But the Dam area, even overgrown by wild rose, raspberry and grasses, was distinctive. I walked around the dam, and found the
macadam roads are still there, though in some places partially overgrown. There was plenty of water going thru the spillway of the dam, but I wonder if this was because of the downpours from the previous evening. Plenty of floating grass seemed to make this seem feasible.

A deteriorating footbridge was downstream of the dam, and led to perhaps other trails and views that could warrant a return trip.

I followed one of the macadam roadways up to the old entrance off of Route 345. There would be parking to be able to check out the old picnic and swimming area without the long trek.
After a water break, Molly and I started our trek back. We continued on the Six Penny Trail, until it followed along with the Horseshoe Trail.

Here was our uphill, and I stopped once to catch my breath. Molly was also looking a bit tired. After the hill, the Six Penny trail took a turn left, and after another short climb, leveled off. We cross both forested and a marshy area. Within another half hour of so we were back at the service trail we had started from, and when we got back to RoadAbode, after a long drink, we both took a nice nap!
Then, time to pack up and leave. Great hike!

Sunday Morning Mist

This morning, on Molly’s walk, a mist hung in the air. We had breakfast (A small helping of mini-wheats, I’m still full from yesterday) Then we’ll get ready for today’s hike.
Solitude is interesting. Don’t have to concern myself with what other’s needs are. Just think about what I”d like to explore, eat, or accomplish. My thoughts fell a few times to Tioga and George, and how he does this every day. Not that I couldn’t, but I like hearing what the girls or friends on a trip are enjoying, and sharing their enlightenment of discovering a new perspective, or view.

Our Saturday Evening

Around 7pm, started a nice campfire, and prepped for dinner. Had brats over the open flame. Enjoyed watching the blaze as I snacked on pistachios. Started thundering in the distance, and I began topicup and clean up from dinner. Most of the other campers, though, were just sitting, or playing, or dining. Rains came, and I watched through the window as campers scurried to cover, move or pack away things getting wet. Soon, the rain fell so hard, had a hard time hearing the dialog from the TV (Woody Allen’s Annie Hall was on PBS) Glad we have RoadAbode to relax in. Downpour continued throughout the night.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Our Saturday Afternoon

After my Shower, Molly & I did a road trip to Elverson, using Lola’s help on the back roads. Plenty of cattle and corn on the farms. Some beautiful Homesteads as well. I let Molly enjoy the wind in her hair, just secured her lead to the seat so she couldn’t try to visit with a steer – while going 30mph down the road. We ended up at Sonic Burger, and I enjoyed a cheeseburger, while Molly enjoyed the scents all around. Even got to see a glider land at the small airport across the street. I took a Blast (Sonic’s take on DQ’s Blizzard) for the road, and took a leisurely ride back to camp. While enjoying my Blast, studied the park map, and tomorrow may try to find the remains of Six-Penny Lake. For now, perhaps a little reading and a nap sound good.

RoadAbode, Molly & Me

At French Creek State Park Campground for the weekend. Was suppose to be a “guy’s weekend” but other obligations kept Frank and Kev away. So it’s just Molly and I.
Got here around 7:30p Friday, and had a basic setup done by 8:15p. I had left RoadToad by the Amphitheater, so we walked down to retrieve her. Just then a ranger was giving a slide show on the “Four Seasons of French Creek” so we stated. Molly was very good, not barking or bother people.
Afterward talked to the ranger about Six Penny Lake, and also asked if the beavers were still active onHopewell Lake. She let me know they are, and that they moved to a new lodge on the west side of the lake. We took RoadToad back to camp, and got to bed about midnight.
Woke at 6:30a Saturday, put on a pot of coffee, and took Molly out on for her morning walk. After cleaning up breakfast (Nice egg, cheese, and sausage bagel) grabbed a bottle of water, helped the neighbor move his table, then started a hike. Decided to do the Boone Trail (Blue blazes) which passes by the entrance to the campground, and leads to the western side of Hopewell Lake. Along the way, a deer bolted across the trail 50 feet in front of Molly. After that, she seemed to look back at me more, as if to ask “this part safe to walk on?”

The trail was very peaceful, and I was surprised to see no one else on the trail. Every site at the campground is filled – no vacancies – and no one is out on the trail? When we got lakeside, we saw a few fishermen in boats, and walked along water’s edge toward the dam, thinking the new beaver lodge would be in the small cove there. Plenty of water lilies, but no evidence of beaver.

We continued along and around until we were at the top of the dam, where we took a short water break. From here, I tried gaze along the opposite bank, looking for the beaver lodge. I saw an area that might be it, so we doubled back around the lake and followed the Lenape trail (green blazes) past where it connects with the Boone trail. Finally were passed by two joggers at that point. Guess not seeing anyone on the trail is both sad and a blessing. Sad for others, blessing of solitude for me. Further up, were three young men fishing, who said they hadn’t had any luck and were moving on.

Near there I started to see evidence of beaver! A few more yards, and the beaver lodge was on the bank. The water was even a little cloudy on the one side, like a beaver had just scooted in. Quite exciting! As we continued on the path, it opened up wide enough to be a service road. It started to look familiar.
Then it opened up into a mowed meadow on both sides, and I knew where I was. This was the location of the dreaded “ants in the pants” story from my childhood! Also the place where Oma and Opa use to pick birch mushrooms, and if I was correct, around the corner was the blueberry patch. I saw the small beach, almost just as I remembered it thirty some years ago, and the path to where the blueberries would be. As I walked this overgrown path however, the landscape seemed different. The woodlands were sparse of undergrowth. In fact, signs were posted not to wander off the path as they were trying to let the vegetation reclaim the forest floor. Then I came upon a sight that looked exactly as I remember it as a boy.

A small footbridge over French Creek. The same rocks I would trip over on the side of the bridge. I spent many hours playing in the creek by that bridge, while Oma & Opa would pick blueberries. Was also the place I saw my first water snake. Molly and I took a water break sitting bridge side. This is a find I need to share with the rest of the family, now that I know the trail that leads to it.
The hike back was not as scenic, as past the footbridge, the trail opened up again, and there seems to be some water treatment equipment now there. I use to remember interesting small vales here, filled with rocks, where you could find colorful salamanders. The trail then follows Park Road, and we took that back to the campground entrance. An interesting hiking loop. Molly was a tired pup, and is napping right now.
For the afternoon, debating what to do for dinner. Perhaps a shower is in order!

RoadAbode, Molly, and Me

Weekend @ French Creek - Frank + Kev had other obligations. Talked 2 a ranger last night, the beavers have moved