Saturday, September 7, 2019

Old Business

"Hey, finally have a free afternoon -  let's go climb'n..."
"OK - where too?..."
"Haven't been out since April - definitely out of condition - someplace not too potent!..."


"Hey, up the ante -  try this old route - is pretty stiff!"...


"Pretty good, huh? - latch that pocket and you're just gettin' busy!..."


"Is a bit old route - that tree grow'n from the base of the stone wasn't even there when first put up!..."


... gotta' love a few of the old 'one off' hangs and the folks that enjoy 'em... most wouldn't...

Sunday, September 1, 2019

Fungus of the Month

... this years Amanita Muscaria var. Alba "crop" (ref: Manic Mushroom)...

... they usually appear in growths of three - although, think we may have accidentally run over the two others with the lawn mower during early stages of development - it's only September 1st, however, so we'll see... this guy has expanded to five inches in diameter... has become an annual event - don't know why they appear only on our property, and then only within the southeast corner of the lawn - have never encountered them anywhere else... research tells us that they are usually "symbiotic with conifers and hardwoods" (trees) - none of those around and the location they grow is in direct sunlight from dawn until around 3pm each day, when the sun sets beyond the shadow of a large sycamore tree to the west...

... we quit tryin' to figure out all the so called scientific bulls*t, however, and have just accepted them as another positive harbinger from the Great Spirit himself (itself..?) - mushrooms were perceived as powerful and mystical and associated with protection and power in Native American culture...

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Bromance

... two smart men... we've known bodybuilders (and other athletic types - most, in fact) who couldn't carry the garbage out let alone know the difference between a London or Philadelphia style mason's trowel - or mix a good batch of mortar...

... even if the pro bodybuilding career had stalled out, these two guys most surely would have been successful as masonry contractors, and we'd all be working out building brick backyard barbecues...

(You Tube Video)

... so long, Franco...

Saturday, August 24, 2019

Against the Flow - Part II

... originally saw this old film that we found on You Tube, The Voyageurs, back in the early 70's - made a heck of an impression and thought that was how things were done... subsequently, we've occasionally spent just as much time toiling upriver (though nowhere to the extent as those guys) as we have on the drifting down flow...

...when conditions are right there's a good trip which begins not far beyond our front door...

... the route annotated in red...we'd had paddled the route downriver many times, most of which as the final home leg subsequent to running the Lower Yough River whitewater rapids situated miles further upriver beginning below Ohiopyle Falls; usually around a 9 to 10 hour trip at normal summertime flow, say 2.5ft on the Ohiopyle river gauge (OPG), to take out in Connellsville, PA... always looking to enhance the experience, we got to wondering of the difficulty and possibility of retracing our strokes upriver given the right conditions - all eighteen miles of it... unlike the old time trappers, instead of furs we'd be hauling a cargo of PBR's - not to be opened until we completed the journey...

... so with nothing better to do, late one morning back in time we tossed six PBR's into a small iced cooler and set out alone on a test run, figuring to just start paddling and keep going for the remainder of the day to see how far we could make it before difficulty, boredom, exhaustion (or combination thereof) or just plain running out of daylight would take us... we had opted for a river level of 1.5ft OPG - anything over 2ft OPG we figured would be tough paddling and we wanted to resort to as least amount of tracking (wading and pulling the boat by rope) as necessary - to the contrary, we also hoped for sufficient water level as to eddy hop the inevitable series of shoals and small rapids (locations identified 'X' on the map) to be encountered, for the same reason... we paddled an 11'-3" whitewater canoe we owned that tracked well (i.e., the ability of a boat to travel in a straight line, as opposed to the aforementioned) along with good maneuverability...

... after probably three or better hours and five miles of upriver travel we finally decided to phone it in at a river feature called 'Petes Hole' - the 90ยบ+ temperature was finally taking it's toll and we had really beat ourself up stubbornly struggling to paddle the downriver shoals and rapids, the majority of which we wound up tracking anyway - also, those ice cold PBR's, which we vowed to not touch until the end of our journey, were now also too much of an allure considering the heat and exhaustion... we had to relinquish...

... subsequently we gave up all thoughts of a complete eighteen mile "voyage" - however, the completed five mile trip up to Petes Hole became a favorite repeat once or twice each summer for quite a few years - we even paddled the entire distance three times (no tracking) when we substituted the canoe with a sit-on-top kayak - not a bad feat as there's a few tough sections to eddy hop...

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... last weekend we took the abbreviated version of the route terminating just below the low head dam separating 'Wheeler Bottom' and South Connellsville... hadn't paddled that section in quite a few years...

... figured we'd put some scratches on the Firefly...

... this is a narrow river channel east side of the large island opposite the put-in...

... some interesting exposed root systems of these sycamore trees lining the channel riverbank...

... a river section known as 'Thirty Foot' viewing north to south - have never known why - the water depth averages (our estimate) probably two to four feet and probably doesn't exceed six feet... is a long stretch of shallow water with some good bass fishing - usually catch a few rock bass when we tote along a fly rod...

... viewing Thirty Foot from south to north...

... an old river side camp we hadn't visited in years - needs some clearing...

... a river grass covered gravel bar near the mouth of the 'Dunbar Creek' confluence...

... technically we guess this section south of Dunbar Creek is a continuation of Thirty Foot, but we always called it the 'Ice House' for the existence of an old abandoned concrete structure that exists back in the woods several hundred feet beyond the shoreline, to the west of what remains of this old stone pier. It supposedly stored blocks of ice for the railroad back in the old coal/steam locomotive days. It resembles to us an old ancient ruin you'd find in a South American jungle... another disparity; the identified Thirty Foot section is a bit wider and slower moving...

... once a favorite camp near the mouth of Dunbar Creek - needs a bit of work but not much to get it back in condition...

... takin' a break at the pier...

... the same pier and distant sandstone bluffs overlooking the river...

... the low head dam - is a short portage over a low, stepped concrete causeway east side of the dam (left of photo) to continue upriver...

... a few geese that didn't mind our presence - there was a male wood duck hangin' out with 'em, the reason we took this shot - he was right in the middle of the river between the two big concrete blocks - don't know why he's not there now... ??... must have dove for a fish as we clicked the shutter - our only explanation...

... that whole Thirty Foot section of river is sometimes one heck of a place to view birds of prey - we figure it's because of the wide shallow water and abundant fish...

(Internet/Audubon image)
... in fact the day of these photos we flushed a juvenile bald eagle which flew from a tree branch only about fifteen feet above our head as we paddled silently along the shore line - that is the third sighting of a bald eagle by us at that location (the others about six years ago) - we suspect they have or have had a nest there... we borrowed the above photo (and the ones following) from images we found on line on an 'Audubon Society' website - we have nothin' that comes close...

(Internet/Audubon Image)
... we also flushed a blue heron...

(Internet/Audubon Image)
... and a kingfisher...

(Internet/Audubon Image)
... we didn't encounter one this day, but a few years back we observed an Osprey dive bomb the water and snatch a fish which it carried up to an opposite river-side tree branch... all the Ospreys we've spotted have always been in a pair... we're figuring that they're also attracted to the shallow water and abundant fish... a birdwatcher we know mentioned to us that the Ospreys are nesting at a small lake located high on the ridge about twelve miles east of this location...

... we also see quite a few water snakes, painted turtles basking on logs (one log in particular) and snapping turtles while out and about in that stretch of river...

Sunday, July 21, 2019

Over At The Lake

... would have loved all this incessant summer rain back in the heavy creekin' days - used to perform rain dances back then... now not so much... rivers have been a chocolate malt...

... the lake is the balance...

... hadn't hung out with that guy in a while - two years, one month, nine days, twelve hours (to be precise)...

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Smokin' Stogies With Arnold

... this should be viewed on Full Screen mode...

(You Tube Video)

... gotta' love Arnold...

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Mud For Your Turtle

... ran into (and almost over) this guy while riding MTB's a few days back...


... medium size - maybe a little over twelve inches - we've seem 'em probably twice that big... was out sunning himself right in the middle, and on a blind corner of, a local off roader trail - not good... we wanted to get 'em off the path and he was a bit feisty... fortunately, annoyed with our efforts to assist, he crawled the short distance back to his roadside mud hole and in short order was buried in the mire, rid of us...

... saw a guy about a month ago carrying one off a busy roadway - he was grasping the turtle by the sides of the shell and moving (understandably) with obvious trepidation - don't blame 'em - from that angle those guys can reach right around and snap your hand...

(You Tube Video)
... here's some good advise we found if ya' ever find yourself tasked with helping a snapping turtle cross the road...

... hope this saves a turtle or two...