Thursday, July 23, 2009


We've put some miles on the car traveling all around northeastern Pennsylvania (NEPA). We've enjoyed it all - there are beautiful sights to drink in up here.

On this day we drove southwest of Lake Henry. We took I-80 west to the Lehigh River. Once off the interstate, we drove though parts of Hickory Run State Park. This park was just as well kept as the other state parks and was really pretty. We walked around the lake area some and snapped these pics.

As you can see there is a lot of natural beauty in this area. (Julian took that last photo, could you guess?)

We more or less followed the river south into Lehigh Gorge State Park. Our GPS led us astray so we never really got close to the river until we arrived in Jim Thorpe. Along the way, we stopped at a couple of rafting companies in hopes of finding an activity to share with our neighbors when they are here next week. (We got lots of information but made no decisions.)

We finally did get access to the river, but weren't overly impressed. They run a train trip up the gorge and I'm guessing that's the best way to see the beauty of the river gorge. Here's a look at the Lehigh River.

We went into the town of Jim Thorpe and walked around the shopping area. It has a very Mediterranean feel.

On another day, we headed west to Tunkhannock. The drive there and back was beautiful. This was billed as the "Gateway to the Endless Mountains". Online, the 3-mile scenic highway information said to allow two days for the visit. After missing whatever we were supposed to see on the road, we stopped in town and talked to the lady at the tourist information station. She told us how to get to the park along the Susquehanna River. It was a nice park, but not outstanding. I can't for the life of me figure out how to spend two days here. But that's just me.

So we drove back down into Scranton (also a beautiful drive) and had lunch at a favorite Mexican restaurant we found with the help of our boss's son. We had a good day, even though the target destination wasn't what we expected.

Last weekend, we had two people from a local animal sanctuary bring out some animals for everyone to see and learn about. Look at this owl!

And who would really want to get this close to a skunk. He had been rescued AND de-scented.

And then we learned that possums don't "play" dead when faced with danger. They litterally pass out for about 10 minutes. I did not know that.

There was a pretty good turn out for this activity, kids and adults alike. The handlers were very good and explained the best policies when confronted with any wildlife. It was very interesting.

Then on Monday we took another drive and made a large loop to the southeast and the Delaware Water Gap. The Delaware River serves as the dividing line between PA and New Jersey and also between PA and New York.

We stopped at a couple of rafting companies looking for more information about trips on this river. After talking to the last people, we drove across the river into Port Jervis, NY... mostly just to say we did.

We didn't take any pictures. We found it difficult to actually get access to the river in spite of the large amount of land that is designated as National Recreation Area. But again, the drive was all very beautiful.

As I write this, our friends are in Gettysburg, PA, probably touring the battle grounds. They will arrive here tomorrow and we are SO looking forward to familiar faces. Julian should have his work out of the way before they arrive, but I'll be doing store duty pretty much as usual, which is fine. We'll send our friends to Bushkill Falls (see earlier post) on the day I work seven hours. Then we'll be able to enjoy the week together. Check back to see what all we do together!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Claws 'n' Paws

We went to Claws 'n' Paws Wild Animal Park the other day. It's only about 10 miles from here which made it a really easy trip on a day with questionable weather. We didn't get rained on, but felt like it could have happened at any time.

It's a small venue, but is really packed with animals. Our first stop was the lion den. All "cages" are out in nature with very little concrete anywhere. We were able to get fairly close to this guy.

We walked quickly past the giraffe area - they stink big time!

This tiger seemed to be posing for us.

I can't for the life of me remember what these little deer-like creatures were called, but they really seemed to like Julian.

We saw a black panther who was pacing so much that we couldn't get a good photo of him. The same was true with a cheetah-like cat who wouldn't sit still. We saw foxes and a black bear. The meerkats were really cute. So were the river otters. They had an Australian dog-type animal that had an ear-splitting howl which was fairly constant, you could hear them all over the park. We passed by the snakes pretty quickly, but did enjoy some of the cool birds, including this owl. (Sorry the picture isn't very good.)

It was a fairly small "zoo in the woods" (as they called it), but we did really enjoy it. I would really recommend it to others who are spending time in NE PA.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Bushkill Falls

We had one of the best weather days since we arrived in Pennsylvania on Monday, July 6. So we were ready to take advantage of it - big time!

We drove south to Bushkill Falls which is billed as the Niagara of Pennsylvania. Having been to Niagara Falls last summer, that may be an overstatement. However, it is one of the nicest falls we have been to anywhere and it was worth every penny of the $10 entry fee.

On the drive to the Falls, we spotted a turkey at the side of the road. We soon discovered she had several chicks with her. We snapped a few pictures, but she was herding her brood into the tall grass, so be sure to enlarge this photo to see the little birds, too.

There are actually two water falls at the location. To see them both, would involve a 2.5 mile hike and untold numbers of steps. We opted for the shorter route and the fewest steps, still about a 45 minute walk.

We started out and our first stop was the lookout over the Main Falls. Way cool!

Going down from there to the Bottom of the Main Falls wasn't too strenuous. And the walk was beautiful. They have tried hard to keep the paths and stairways as natural as possible and we think they've succeeded. This shot looks back up the path after we were at the bottom.

This is Lower Gorge Falls which was the lowest elevation of our hike.

A nice lady took our picture while down there.

And then we had to head back UP.

That was just the first batch of steps. We had to stop a couple times on the way up to rest. We are not used to hills let alone steps. (Do your stair master before hiking in this place!) But the walk up was so beautiful, we didn't really mind that much. The trees were so tall and beautiful.

Once at the top, we crossed a footbridge over the top of the falls. This is taken from that bridge looking down.

We continued walking upstream, enjoying nature's beauty.

I found myself wondering how this little creek could feed that fabulous waterfall.

It was absolutely fabulous in this park. If you ever get up to the Pocono Mountains, this is one attraction you CANNOT miss. As I mentioned, it was worth every penny we paid to get inside. I was wishing I had the leg strength to do the longer trail, but that's just not the case.

The weather was great all day. We had sun all day. It couldn't have been any better.

We're hoping for more fun days just like this before we leave the area.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A Fun Week

We took a drive to the north for the first time. We went into Honesdale, which is the county seat. It's a cute little town with their tourist information housed in what may have been a train station at one time. We picked up some brochures and then headed to a Farmer Market listed in one of them. We've come to learn that a farmers market can be a farmer with a stand on the front of his property selling his own produce. Such was the case with this place, but they didn't have anything to sell just yet. That's been the story of our summer.

From there we continued back towards the west and Carbondale. We had seen this wind farm from a distance before, but it was pretty cool to actually get this close to the windmills. It was impressive to see how huge they are.

We stopped in Carbondale for lunch at a corner cafe which was really quite good. Then we headed home before the afternoon rains kicked in again.

The next day was pretty nice again - or at least it wasn't supposed to rain till around 2pm. So we made a picnic lunch and took Heidi with us to Promised Land State Park for some actual fishing. Here's me with a real fishing pole in my hands.

It was cool, but Heidi preferred the shade. She enjoyed being with us, though.

Julian caught a fish, but I didn't even have a nibble. We really enjoyed being out there anyway. And we were back home before the rains did come again.

Julian discovered this mushroom growing on a lot not far from ours. It was so pretty he had to take a picture before it got mowed down. He thinks it was 8-10 inches across and was shiny, and not because of the rains either.

I worked in the store all day on Saturday, July 4th. We were quite busy, too. The weather was decent so lots of folks came out to play. We had a couple of family reunions going on, which increased the number of people on the property. I didn't find time to be bored at all during the whole day.

While I was working, Julian and Heidi were enjoying our neighbors, Alexis (5) and Robbie (3). These two are real cuties who come up most weekends from the Scranton area. They are avid frog-catchers and love the outdoors.

We had our own fireworks here at the park. It was a really nice show, too. The guy who did it was an old family friend of the owners who really knew what he was doing. We took our chairs and found a nice spot on the lawn with everyone else. Other people around the lake were shooting off their own fireworks, too, so it was a great celebration. Happy Birthday, America!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Catching Up - Part 2

The rainy weather continued. We had a Craft Fair/Flea Market scheduled here at the campground on Saturday, June 20th. Four brave souls set up tables, two were outside. Those two packed up and left fairly early because of the rain. The two others who were inside stayed the day, but I'm sure they had next to no traffic. It rained all day. I had to work most of the day and it was really quiet in the store. No surprise with the crappy weather.

But things started looking up on the following Monday. We actually had sun! So Julian and I headed out to Lackawanna State Park. It wasn't an obvious choice for future fishing, but it sure was pretty.

It was still early so we set course for Gouldsboro State Park. We stopped for Burger King on the way and had our lunch at the park.

We drove around and finally found a good area where we could do some fishing if we wanted - in the future, we didn't have our gear with us on the reconnaissance mission.

Since it was right next door, we drove to Tobyhanna State Park. The two parks are separated by a railroad easement. We didn't take any pictures at Tobyhanna. Most of the park was closed off and the open area wasn't what we were looking for either. But I have to say that all the state parks here are beautifully kept.

Julian talked at length with a guy at the Craft Fair who told him about a couple of trout fishing streams. So Tuesday, we decided to go see if we could find them. As we were driving past John's house, Julian saw he was outside. We went up his drive to talk to him about the streams and he was kind enough to draw us a great map.

We were off and found the first one, Moss Hollow Creek to the east of Hamlin. This was a beautiful drive and the creek was great, too. To the left of this picture was a private residence with a huge lawn. It was really pretty.

Aside: One thing I've missed here in the Poconos is a beautiful view. Most mountain areas we've been in afford great views, pull-outs, overlooks, etc. We hadn't seen anything like this and could never see past the trees. On this day, it became evident that, at least in part, the lack of views had been caused by the bad weather. There is always clouds and fog along with all this rain. Well, today that was not the case and we could really see a lot. Beautiful vistas that included green meadows and lots of hills and trees. It was great. We've experienced more views as we've traveled since, too. I'm so glad!

So after scouting this out, we headed towards Wallenpaupack Creek, southwest of Hamlin. This is the waterfall near the road where we parked.

We were able to walk up one side of the creek and back on the other. It was absolutely gorgeous back in there. This picture was taken looking back across the creek after we had crossed over the foot bridge. Someone actually lives back there - the lucky stiffs!

Since this scouting trip, Julian has been back there a couple of times. In fact, that's where he is as I write this. Hope he's catching lots of trout!

On Wednesday the weather was still really nice. We took off for Lehighton and a farmers market. We are trying to find fried peas and often find them at markets like that. However, we've been stymied everywhere we've looked since being in PA. This market was particularly small and we didn't find much. We stopped for lunch and then drove through the town of Jim Thorpe. What a quaint and cool place that was! For unknown reasons we did not take any photos, but I hope to go back again and then we will.

That seemed to be the end of our good weather. Rain has fallen, at least a little bit, every day since. In fact we had a nasty storm a few nights ago with very high winds. Yesterday brought another storm warning with potential for hail. I feel like we're in the Twilight Zone with all this unseasonable weather.

I took a walk around our campground the other day - while we had a little sun. I ran into a goose convention. I'll tell you: you really have to watch where you walk around here - droppings everywhere!

I took this photo in the boat launch channel. I just thought it was pretty!

Now you are fairly caught up with our comings and goings. In the future I will try hard not to let so much time pass between blog updates!