Monday, June 10, 2013

Breaking In A New Paddling Partner


My son Jeremy took my 2-1/2 year old grandson Jackson for his first ride in a kayak this past Sunday.

Although Jackson was a bit disappointed that he didn't see any Sea Urchins in the Kiskiminetas River, he loved paddling around with Daddy in the boat.

I'm already looking at kid-sized kayaks...........

........this one is just a little bit too big. 

Thursday, June 6, 2013

West Penn Trail - Bow Ridge Section - 6/5/13


This afternoon I decided to check out West Penn Trail. I wanted to take a short hike, but one that was challenging, so I chose the Bow Ridge section.
West Penn Trail is part of the Conemaugh Valley Conservancy and follows along or near the Conemaugh River, Conemaugh River Lake, the Kiskiminetas River, and Loyalhanna Creek.
The Conemaugh and Kiskiminetas Rivers were part of the Western Division of the old Pennsylvania Mainline Canal System. The Western Division ran from Pittsburgh to Johnstown in the mid 1800's.
Remnants of the old canal ,tow path, locks, bridges, and waste weirs are still visible.
Along West Penn Trail are old railroad tunnels that pass beneath Bow Ridge.
At one time there was also a canal tunnel that passed under Bow Ridge. It was started in 1827 and was only the third tunnel dug in America.
The Bow Ridge section of West Penn Trail winds up and down the hills.

It begins as a paved road then changes into a crushed limestone trail.
At the end it becomes a steep dirt switch-back. This part wasn't too bad on the trip down, but was a challenge for the "old chubby guy" heading back. 
At the bottom of the switch-back the trail levels out and follows the old railroad bed. this begins the Conemaugh River Lake section of West Penn Trail.
This was the railroad bed for the 1907 line.
The water level is pretty low in the lake.
There are a lot of interesting and beautiful sights along the trail. I turned around after crossing the second old railroad bridge. The weather started looking bad and it was getting late in the evening. I'm looking forward to exploring more of West Penn Trail soon.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

I'm Back on the Water!

This past Thursday evening (5/30) I put my kayak in the water for the first time in over two years. I decided to go to my favorite body of water, Loyalhanna Lake. I knew my paddling skills would be rusty so I didn't want to battle currents or motorboats. I also have to admit that I wasn't 100% confident in my skill as a plastic welder, so I wanted to be able to get back easily if I started taking on water. 

Loyalhanna's inflow creek is a beautiful area. The water is nearly current free and there are a lot of small coves to explore. With out a knowledge of the area it's easy to paddle for a quarter mile in what you think is Loyalhanna Creek only to be met with a dead end.
 One of the coves in the inflow is an Osprey nesting area. I took along the new camera hoping to get a photo of the Ospreys in flight. I was disappointed that I didn't see any and actually thought the nest was abandoned until I enlarged this photo. I'm not sure if it's an adult or a young bird, but there is definitely an Osprey in the nest. 
One bird that was visible in the Osprey cove was this Double-crested Cormorant. I saw a few of these impressive birds around the inflow area.

One of my favorite features at Loyalhanna are these beautiful rock walls.
Years of water erosion has created some interesting patterns in the rock.
This squirrel was very cooperative, sitting there enjoying his acorns while I tried to figure out which setting to use on my camera. There is no shortage of interesting things to photograph at Loyalhanna.
By the time I made it back to the boat launch area it was getting dark. As I sat watching the sun set behind the trees, I was thinking how much I missed paddling my kayak. It won't be long before I'm back on the water again.



Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Roaring Run Trail & Rock Furnace Trail - 2013

My latest adventures have been "photo rambles". My wonderful wife bought me my first Digital SLR camera and I've been wandering on a couple of our area's beautiful trails practicing my photography skills. Fortunately she also got me the very aptly titled book " Canon EOS Rebel T3i for Dummies". Hopefully this will speed my learning curve (lots of information to take in!!). If you click on the waterfall it will take you to my Picasa Photo Album for Roaring Run Trail and Rock Furnace Trail.