Saturday, August 31, 2013

Children's Lake - 2


A swan on crystal clear water.

I don't think there's another bird that displays such grace.


I call these two the odd couple.  They're a pair of mallards,
but the male is a dark brown with a black head instead of an
iridescent green.  The female, instead of brown, is a champagne
color with just a splotch of brown on her head.  Strange!

Friday, August 30, 2013

Children's Lake, Boiling Springs, PA

Children's Lake, a fisherman, and the grist mill in the background.
The name of the town, Boiling Springs, comes from some 30 natural springs that bubble to the surface from 1,800 ft. deep subterranean caves with enough force to make the surface appear to be boiling. They bring 22 million gallons of crystal clear, 53-deg. water to the surface each day. The cold water cools the surrounding air, making the springs a popular picnicking spot before the age of air conditioning. The resulting stream was dammed in the 1750’s to provide hydro-power for the Carlisle Iron Works, which was built in 1760. Besides producing iron pieces for household and farm use, the blast furnace made munitions during the Revolutionary War.

A mallard duckling.
In 1895, the Valley Traction Co. laid a trolley line to the lake from the town of Carlisle. The five-cent trolley ride ran every half-hour bringing people to the 7-acre lake and town park. Feeding the swans, geese, and ducks became so popular with children, the lake became known as Children’s Lake. The single-story dance hall is now home to Yellow Breeches Outfitters, a mecca for area fly-fishermen, and named for the creek that runs behind the grist mill.

The four-faced clock tower dedicated as a war memorial.
There are several other popular sites around the small community, like the Boiling Springs pools, the stone arch bridge of 1784, the Ege-Bucher Mansion of 1780, which is called Highland Terrace, the iron works blast furnace and stables, and the 1832 Boiling Springs Hotel and Tavern. While it is no longer used as a hotel, the tavern and restaurant are still popular spots.

One of several swans that call Children's Lake home.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Appalachian Trail

First, for those that may want a little more background into Lyme disease, here's a link from CNN you may find interesting.

Three teenaged boys from Duncan, OK, targeted Chris Lane, a young man from Australia, because they were bored, they said. Having nothing better to do, they decided to go on a lark and murder someone. Finding the young man jogging, they picked him at random, drove up behind him and shot the college student in the back. First, there is no fixing that kind of mentality, I don’t care what you do. The only solution is a needle in the arm, but perhaps that is too humane. Even wild animals understand that if an individual can’t find a way to fit into the pack, then they are culled from the pack. Second, the idea that they were bored is mind-blowing. With even a modicum of guidance and direction, they should understand that the opportunities for activity, enjoyment, and adventure are too numerous to fit into any one lifetime. The people that can’t find something to do (besides murder) just haven’t opened their eyes to see what is going on around them. The opportunities are too numerous to count.

The Appalachian Trail Regional Office at Boiling Springs,
PA.  It was originally a restaurant in the town's park before
being taken over by the Appalachian Trail Conservancy.
We had a chance to encounter one of these opportunities while in Boiling Springs, PA. We have been there several times visiting the many historic sites in the area, and most times we’ve had occasion to see backpackers hiking through, since Boiling Springs and nearby Pine Grove Furnace State Park sit right on the Appalachian Trail. Whether envisioning actually hiking the trail or just being fascinated with the idea, just visiting the Appalachian Trail Conservancy Regional Office (ATC) can’t help excite and enflame the imagination. The regional offices are responsible for maintenance and oversight of the trail. The ATC office in Boiling Springs is the only one of the four centers that is actually located right on the trail.

Adjacent to the ATC office is a large gazebo in the center of
the park.  Through the gazebo you can see the grist mill, built
in 1784 to provide flour and grain for the Carlisle Iron Works.
Properly titled The Appalachian National Scenic Trail, the footpath runs 2,173 miles from Maine to Georgia along the ridges and passes of the Appalachian Mountains. The ATC was formed in 1925, and the trail was designed, marked, and built through the 1920’s and 30’s. It traverses 14 states, and to those familiar with the trail, it just becomes known as the AT. Some hikers do segments each summer until they have connected all the dots, while others, called thru-hikers, tackle the whole thing, taking four to seven months to complete the trail. Just like with paddlers tackling the Great Circle Route, or the Mississippi or Missouri Rivers, or paddling coast-to-coast, it takes a high degree of grit, determination, and commitment. Less than 20% of those who take on the AT complete it.

I suggested to the ranger that I guessed I was a bit too old for such an endeavor. He said that was not the case. While seniors, or those who find they aren’t in as good a shape as they thought when they start, may go slower, they’ve had people of all ages take up the challenge.

Those that have done the AT say it proved to be a defining few months of their lives. The really hard core even look for an encore. There’s the 3,100 mile Cross Divide Trail, which follows the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains from Canada to Mexico. Or, for those that enjoy touring by bike, there’s the Ride The Divide bike route nearby that follows a similar route. Both follow some of the most remote, but also some of the most spectacularly scenic, sections of the country.

For just a taste of the adventure, here’s the trailer for the film “Appalachian Impressions.”


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Ticked Off - 2

Some folks have asked how I’ve been doing, so this is just an update.

Night-before-last I took the 28th and final dose of Doxycycline to kill the Lyme Disease. It was a relief to be rid of the fever, headaches, sore muscles, and feeling of continual fatigue that had characterized the last three weeks. I couldn’t even read without falling asleep after six or eight pages. I was bored and anxious to get out of the house. Yesterday morning I decided it was time to rejoin the living and start moving around. I also wanted to work on losing those few pounds I’d accumulated mostly sitting in the house for three weeks.

I hopped on the bike, and after a couple short legs to the library and post office, took off on a ride. I immediately knew I was running on half my cylinders. By the time I got half-way around my usual track, I felt like I had to puke, but pressed on, even if at a slower pace and lower gear. I finally had to admit I couldn’t go further, and took a short-cut back home finishing only 6.6 miles. Jean said I was white, and I knew I had crashed. After a couple glasses of water, I laid down and slept for an hour and a half. After a bite of lunch, I felt I needed to lay down again, and slept for another hour and a half. It is hard to imagine that tick could have taken so much out of me.

My hat is off to Doctor Klinger, who diagnosed the problem and immediately prescribed a treatment. If it had gone further, the damage would have only been worse. I’ve read of many cases where Lyme goes undiagnosed, even when a physician is asked to check for it. One girl I read about went ten years without a diagnosis while being mistakenly treated for almost every other disease. With the CDC now admitting that Lyme and similar ailments probably occur more frequently than reported by a factor of ten, 300,000 cases a year rather than 30,000, perhaps diagnosis and research will be more aggressive.

I guess I just need to be more patient with the pace of my comeback. At my age, nothing occurs as fast as it used to.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Trap Pond - 2

So what's wrong with being a bump on a log?
Paddling the headwaters of Trap Pond.
Meeting a fellow paddler exiting the water trail.
The cypress foliage is as soft as lace.
Great Blue Heron on take off.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

Trap Pond, DE

We had several days of bad weather, but with a good forecast for
today, David Sockrider and I made plans for a final day of paddling
on Trap Pond.
The ultimate trivia question is, “Where will you find the most Northern stand of mature bald cypress trees.” Trap Pond. Dave Sockrider and I headed out to paddle Trap Pond, near Laurel, DE. Trap Pond State Park is there, and we weren’t about to make the same mistake we had at Killens Pond, so we headed directly to the gate and got our day pass and a map of the lake.

Bald Cypress surround the pond and headwaters, but a few
stands occur out in open water.
The 90-acre pond was created in the late 1700’s to provide hydro-power for a saw mill. After the cypress trees were harvested, the mill cut them into lumber. The federal government purchased the pond in the 1930‘s, along with 2,000 acres of surrounding farm lands, and the Civilian Conservation Corps began making the area suitable for recreation. It became one of Delaware’s first state parks in 1951.

Cypress in a cove with a state park rental canoe
pulled up to a camping site.
We paddled 4-miles around the pond. Once you reach the southeast corner of the pond, the park staff has established a paddling trail that takes you a mile or so further up the headwaters. We went as far as we could until we met deadfall. Between it and having to search for a hole in the bank where I could turn Buddy’s 14-ft length around, that signaled it was time to head back to open water.

One of the many coves we paddled into.
Once we reached the take-out and got our canoe and kayak loaded, we returned to the state park, picked a nice shaded table in a grove of trees, and enjoyed lunch. It was another relaxing day to enjoy Dave’s company, but our time in Delaware was coming to a close. And, most of our paddling would be done for awhile also, as we spent a week visiting with family.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Visiting Delaware Beaches - 2

Cottontail, you've got to come over on the west side of the road.
You won't believe the greens I've got over here.
No, Flopsy, you need to come to the east side of the road.  It's
even greener on this side.

Now I ask you,  have you ever seen anything juicier than this stuff?
I try to help him, and what?  I don't know why I bother.

Better on the west side!  Everyone knows the plants are greener
on the east side closer to the bay.  But, you know, you can't
tell him anything.

Be it ever so humble, there's no place like a million-dollar
cottage at the beach.

Royal Terns (L) and Black Skimmers (R).

To me, this is carrying waterfront property a bit far.  We all pay higher
insurance rates just so this soon-to-be-washed-away place is insured.  And
how exactly does the septic drain field work when it's under water?  Worse
yet, just to the right are a bunch of new pilings set for new home construction,
complete with a new building permit.  Where's the logic?

Another house with its feet in the water.  You can surf fish right
from the balcony.

What comes to mind here?  Carport or boathouse?

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Visiting Delaware Beaches

An osprey flies from the nest while Junior waits for it to
return with lunch.
The next morning was forecast to have rain in the morning with clearing by noon. However, strong winds of 25-30 mph still made the day unsuitable for paddling. We decided instead to tour the Delaware beaches and communities. Some of these we hadn’t seen in 30 years, and a couple I don’t remember ever having been to. We visited Slaughter Beach, Fowler Beach, Prime Hook, Broadkill, and Lewes.

Flowering yucca along the beach.  Ships anchored in the lower
Delaware Bay wait for berth space in the ports up river, or for
lighterage, the practice of transferring cargo to a smaller, shallow-draft
vessel until the draft of the ship has been reduced enough to permit
it to continue up river.

Duck weed and dark clouds.
We had lived a winter on our sailboat in the Lewes Canal. One of our favorite haunts was a café right on Savannah Road between Beebe Hospital and the canal drawbridge. We used to walk all over town, which was a quiet, quaint community then. So much has changed we barely recognized the place, and had to make two trips down Pilottown Road before we recognized the pier that had been home. Since it was lunchtime, we decided to make a return visit to our café, which has since changed hands, and is now called the “Filling Station Café.” The interior had been completely changed, but the food was good. To fit the name, the interior was decorated with antique auto parts, pictures, license plates, and so on. Delaware has exploded, both in business establishments and people. Sussex County used to be serene, rural, now, especially along the coast, it’s just as congested as New Castle County, the state’s commercial center.

Royal Terns

One Glaucous Gull, top, and Royal Terns.

Monday, August 19, 2013

God's River Country - Canoe Adventure

Jacket Illus: Abe Books
God’s River Country, by Marion and Ben Ferrier (Prentice-Hall Lodestar Books, Englewood Cliffs, NJ., 1956, 206pp.)

The librarian was almost apologetic when I went to pick up this book. She said, “I don’t know if you’ll want this or not. It’s a youth book.” Indeed, it had a “juvenile” Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) number on the spine, but there was nothing in the introduction or book description to indicate it was a “youth” book. And, there was nothing in the writing style or vocabulary to indicate the same. I looked up Lodestar Books to find instead that it is a collection of titles mostly from unknown authors, with great stories and exceptional writing. Their only weakness is that they are not stories designed for a general, broad audience, and therefore not of interest to most commercial trade publishers. As a collection, they tend more toward “new and neglected nautical writing.” As for myself, I’m both thankful and appreciative that there are publishers able to look beyond the likes of Harry Potter. If you enjoy nautical themes, be sure to check them out.

God’s River Country is about a summer-long expedition into the wilderness of Canada by twelve people in three Chestnut canvas canoes. This was a serious undertaking. The canoes weighed 160-pound each, and the group would carry 3,531 pounds of food, gear, and scientific and photography equipment. There was no place to reprovision. Everything they would need had to be carried in the canoes, and portaged over troubling terrain. For someone new to expedition canoeing, this book is fantastic. In the course of the story, they take the reader through virtually everything one would need to know when wishing to join such a trip. At the end is an exhaustive appendix that lists everything they carried. While more modern fabrics have replaced the recommended wool and cotton flannel clothing, the list is as complete as anyone could ask for.

They would meet at Winnipeg, paddle up Lake Winnipeg, through to God’s Lake, down God’s River to York Factory on Hudson Bay, across a leg of Hudson Bay to Port Nelson, and up the Nelson against the current to return to Winnipeg. They were mostly on their own, but as they met Cree Indian parties, they learned that this canoe and portage route still played an important role for travel and commerce. Among other things, you’ll learn about Witigo, and enjoy the story about the upside-down boots. This is not a book for youth, though some of the more serious or adventurous minded would enjoy it. It is more for the young at heart.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Pot Nets

Snip from Goggle Earth
Pot-Nets is a huge collection of communities under one management that are either directly on Rehoboth Bay, near Millsboro, DE, or with easy access to the bay. They are called Lakeside, Creekside, Bayside, Dockside, and Seaside. Jean’s brother and sister-in-law live there, and we were supposed to fit in a visit during our stay at Pine Haven Campground.

The forecast for the day was for strong storms, heavy lightning, and some with upwards of 60-mph winds. It was time for a visit. When we called to make sure they would be home, Ruth was thoughtful enough to insist that we bring our laundry, and thus another problem was solved. We had a very nice visit, did the laundry, and headed for Subway for dinner. As soon as we pulled into the parking lot, the skies cut loose with a blinding deluge that trapped us in the car for while. With a short lull, we rushed for the restaurant, but still got wet. The storm finally let up and we headed back north to Pine Haven.

The evening just called for some ice cream, so we stopped at an ice cream shop in Milton. We walked in, and the prices on the hand-written board took my breath away. We left. It wasn’t until later that we learned that the reason for the high prices was that it was homemade, hand-dipped ice cream. Still, we drove on back to Milford and had our evening treat at the DQ, where we got two large cones for the price of one single-dip cone of homemade.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Coursey and Killen Ponds

The guys and gals split up today. Dave Sockrider and I got together to paddle. Jean and Linda Sockrider spent the day at the Lavender Fields Farm, on Cool Springs Road, just outside of Milton, DE. The land is part of a tract deeded to the Warrington family in 1776. It was later part of a large dairy, but has been chipped away at until only five acres remain, but those five acres are devoted exclusively to lavender. The buildings are being lovingly restored, a shop offers all kinds of lavender products, and a live presentation is given telling of the history of the farm, and the miracles of lavender’s many qualities.

One of the interesting stories Jean related to me was about how the lavender farm was saved. There was a huge area that had served as a dump on the dairy farm for many years. The woman hoping to create the lavender farm was told that the only way to deal with such a pile would be with a bobcat. She was lost for awhile, imagining a furry, wild, four-legged predator, until the finer points of a Bobcat, the construction machine, earth mover, and loader, were explained. She had had members of the Milton garden club enthusiastically offer to help. I think it would have to be seen to be fully appreciated, but she described a bunch of garden club ladies assembling and arguing over who was getting to play with the Bobcat next.

If you want to know more about Lavender Fields, here is their link.
After their visit at the Lavender Fields, which by related accounts neither Jean nor Linda wanted to leave, they capped off the afternoon with a visit to the Irish Eyes, an Irish pub in Milton.

David Sockrider on his Ocean Kayak SOT at Coursey Pond.
Meanwhile, Dave and I headed for Killens Pond, a 66-acre pond near Frederica, DE. Both Coursey and Killens Ponds comprise reservoirs on the headwaters of the Murderkill River, which empties into the Delaware Bay at Bowers Beach. The name of the Murderkill always raises eyebrows, or at least curiosity. First, kill is a Dutch word for river. The Murder River, then, got its name from a story of an Indian massacre of a Dutch trading party at the mouth of the Murderkill in 1648. The pond was created in the late 1700’s, and the Killens Pond State Park was built on the north side of the pond in 1965.

The bridge across the entrance to the headwaters of Killen Pond.
We continued up the headwater as far as we could. When we were almost out of both width and depth in the stream, I got a real treat. I was moving along as quietly as I could. I finally ran out of channel width, and instead of paddling in the water, spent much of my time paddling the dirt and grass of the stream’s banks. Not more than 25-feet away on the left bank was the root ball of a deadfall tree and a clump of thick grass. I didn’t think I was making a sound, but a doe sleeping in the grass obviously heard something, and stood up. She first looked upstream, away from me, thinking whatever she had heard had come from that direction. With her ears twitching about, she finally looked my way. I froze. She looked at me, turned, and with no apparent fright, took a couple steps, stopped and looked at me again, taking a couple more steps. She just very slowly meandered casually off into the woods. I had the choice of going for my camera and causing her to bolt away, or just sit motionless and enjoy her curiosity over the stranger in her woods. Sorry, no picture.

Killen Pond headwaters.
When we got back to our cars, I had a note under my windshield wiper from a state park ranger advising me that I didn’t have the needed state park pass. He apparently zoomed in on my out-of-state registration plates. We knew there was a state park on the north side of the pond, but didn’t know that the put-in on the opposite side of the pond was also park property. There was no ticket, just a friendly reminder of the proper procedure I needed to follow if ever visiting again.

We then moved on to Coursey Pond, at 58-acres, which is fed by both the Murderkill headwaters and Spring Creek. Ironically, I found that we had paddled exactly the same 3.2 miles on both ponds. It was a breezy day, but with the small size of the pond and the convoluted shoreline, plus the many patches of water lilies, we usually didn’t notice it.
That evening, Dave and Linda took Jean and I both out to dinner to celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary.


Thursday, August 15, 2013

Griffith Lake - 2

Now I'll share some of the remaining picures from Griffith Lake.  This was
well-hidden back in the headwaters, and was such a serene, shaded, beautiful
area.  I would have loved to have just floated there and had lunch, but it was
still much too early for that.  The canoe is a 17-ft. Coleman Ram-X.

A bank of beautiful wild daylilies.

Another collection of portable lawn ornaments that know a good thing when they see it.

The Griffith Lake spillway.

A beautiful home overlooking the spillway and lake.
Blue heron on take-off.


Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Paddler's Guide to Missouri

Credit: Missouri Dept. of Conservation
The new updated 2013 edition of "A Paddler's Guide to Missouri" covers 58 rivers and streams throughout the state.  The guide provides river class levels, maps, campsites, launch sites, gradients, and mileage references for each waterway.  It's spiral bound to lie flat in your map case.  I ordered ours before leaving for Wisconsin, and it was here waiting when we returned.  Having had time to pore over it, it's a great tool for many adventures throughout this beautiful state, and I'd certainly recommend it.  It's $8 plus shipping.  The total with shipping was $13.95.  Here's the link for ordering the guide.

Griffith Lake, DE

White water lily on Griffith Lake.  The water lily is a perennial water
plant that will grow in thick mats.  Its leaves are 6-12" in diameter and
float on the surface.  The fragrant blossoms open in the morning and close
 in the late afternoon. Deer, beaver, muskrat, nutria, and others eat the leaves
and rhizomes, and ducks eat the seeds.
Japanese angelica tree.
Griffith Lake, at 32.2 acres, is even smaller than Haven Lake, but still offered a nice relaxing paddle of 2.2 miles and a nice run up its headwater. A leak developed under the old dam years ago, so a new dam and spillway, and other improvements, were constructed in 2006.

Swamp rose.
The natural and rarely disturbed thicket of shrubs in the headwater was a red-winged blackbird rookery. They were not happy with my visit. I was doing nothing to disturb them except by my proximity, and a few kept me close company until I was back out into the open lake.

Slender blueflag iris.
One of the nice things about Delaware waters is the area normally receives an abundance of rainfall, making the surrounding areas lush, and keeping water levels constant.

Another slender blueflag iris.
Delaware is peppered with ponds and lakes that draw fishermen from states away. Dave and I got into a short discussion about how one body of water, pond or lake, is distinguished from the other. I’ve always assumed that a pond would be smaller than a lake, but it appears many ponds are larger than lakes. I went digging for the answer and found that size has nothing to do with the distinction, but depth does. If the body of water is shallow enough that light can penetrate to the depths or bottom of the water, it is therefore defined as photic. The importance of being photic is that light will support the growth of roots and plants from the surface all the way to the bottom. This means that in theory, plants could cover much or all of the surface of the body of water. Being photic makes it a pond. If, however, the water is deep enough that light cannot penetrate to the bottom over most of the water‘s area, it is aphotic, and thus a lake.

Blue vervain.