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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Issue Addressed, Issue Resolved

The "Notice of Violation" from the Wilkes-Barre Department of Health has been addressed and resolved. They consider the matter closed. Five hours of hacking & whacking weeds got the job done.  
Enough on that issue.

I remember a time when neighbors in the Mayflower section of Wilkes-Barre would extend a helping hand instead of lobbing salvos.
Guess those days are long gone.

Thanks for the card, Nicole. I'm doing just fine.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Yes we have...

For a variety of reasons, the garden I planned this year didn't materialize.
However, a pumpkin I cut up last fall and threw into the garden/compost heap decided once was not enough.
With a vining plant that is threatening to take over the back yard, I've now got ~8 volleyball-sized fruits visible so far, and they're getting plenty of water, bone meal, fertilizer and sunshine to keep them growing.
I'm looking forward to late September and harvest time.
Happy Friday!

Sunday, July 13, 2014

ᓄᓇᕗᑦ - Within a Gentle Rain

Several weeks ago, my sister mentioned that she had recently added a sunrise paddle to her bucket list. For a myriad of reasons, that trip will have to wait until the early fall...but I countered with:

 "How about a twilight paddle?"
That happened last night @ Mauch Chunk Lake near Jim Thorpe, PA.
Above: Dee ( GAR '76 ) in my Point 65N Tequila modular kayak.
We saw a mature bald eagle. Check.
We heard bellowing bullfrogs...on both sides of the lake. Check.
We heard unidentifiable noises in the woods along the shoreline.
Check...and paddle faster.
 My sister had never heard a bullfrog in the wild, but had seen bald eagles on one of our prior trips on the Susquehanna several years ago. Her initial response to hearing the frog only a few yards away:

"And that would be a...? "
For those that visit often, you know I've been paddling for quite a few years. I've been on the water at least once in every month of the year...in driving rain, snow squalls, before sunrise and after sunset. I've experienced hypothermia and impending heatstroke. I've been on Mauch Chunk Lake (MCL) at least twenty times over the years, and I think this was my 5th or 6th night paddle.
As we were paddling west along the ~2 miles of shoreline, I noticed a line of darker clouds and what appeared to be a veil of rain approaching. It was still off in the distance, and when we turned around and started paddling back toward the boat ramp, I didn't think about it again, until I heard a noise that was quite unlike anything I've experienced on the water before.

Once you get well past the camping area - toward the ~southwestern end of MCL - it gets very quiet....especially at night. After sunset, there was almost no wind, and the lake's surface eventually was like a sheet of glass; the only noise and ripples being caused by our kayak and the brief resonance of my wooden paddle and I pulled it through the water.
At times, that sound created by wood & water - and the vibration I felt in the paddle itself - seemed to slow time to a crawl and connected me to the universe.

I wish I could bottle that moment.
Anyway, I'm not sure exactly when I first heard it, but after a few seconds, I swung the boat around to face the source of the sound, which I can best describe - after thinking about how I would recreate it - as a thousand grains of sand hitting a sheet of waxed paper; one at a time with ever-increasing frequency. And in the middle of a lake with almost no other background noise except some chirping birds...it seemed to be approaching us from every vector imaginable.  
The lake directly in front of us was still, and off in the distance, perhaps 50 yards away, we could see a line in the water approaching us, stretching from shore to shore. It was not a driving rain. It was just a very gentle wave of rain that lasted only a few minutes, after which the lake became calm again and we eventually saw a few stars overhead as the sky began to clear. 
Wet? Yes.

Soaked? Not even close.
The super moon everyone has been talking about eluded us, but missing that was not a major disappointment in my book.
For those that have never been to Jim Thorpe (PA) or MCL...make it a destination for some future weekend trip. You will not be disappointed. The lake and surrounding park are clean, and the far shoreline - opposite the two boat launching areas - is about as wild as it gets. There is a walking path, but in 20+ years, I've never seen anyone using it...especially at night. 
You can rent kayaks or bring your own, but if you do...you will need a PFBC sticker.
Here are a few pics from our dusk to dark paddle.

Above: Facing ~west along the far shoreline
Below: Chemtrails @ sunset...how lovely.
Above: The eagle was perched in this snag. Great vantage point.
Below: Work of Nunavut water gremlins?
Below: Snack stand & beach/swimming area @ night.
Bucket list: minus one.
+  +  +
“A single gentle rain makes the grass many shades greener. So our prospects brighten on the influx of better thoughts. We should be blessed if we lived in the present always, and took advantage of every accident that befell us.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden, or Life in the Woods 
        Thanks, Dee.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Don't worry; "It's just mud..."

And you believe them?

Check out the article below that I just received in the mail today that was published in a Bradford County (PA) newspaper last week. Unfortunately, you now have to pay for them online, otherwise I'd provide a link.

My thanks to the radical environmental extremist group for the heads-up. I'd like to give you credit for sending the article, but you need to stay off the radar screen...for now.

For those that are not familiar with Wilmot Township and the ongoing problems there, check out this prior post.

Yep - Chesapeake strikes again, almost 4 years later. First, the river was bubbling methane all over the place. Now...the rest of the muck has found its way to the surface.

Think about this; how much of this "mud" is oozing into the Susquehanna River following the same pathways that the methane did beginning in September 2010?

Looks like another road trip to Sugar Run is called for, because if it's there, I'm going to find it and spread the word.

BTW...the DEP is useless.

Enjoy your weekend, folks.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

PFBC: Susquehanna Sick

As if we didn't know this already.
Anyway...as long as Toxic Tom Corbett is in office and his hand-picked puppet heads the DEP, the Susquehanna River will never achieve "impaired" status.
Read more in a recent article here.

As many who visit know, this is the longest running blog on the planet that covers, for the most part, issues involving the Susquehanna River. I have a degree in the earth & environmental sciences, had some - actually many - excellent teachers along the way, and have forgotten more about the science behind the issues of the day than the vast majority of Johnny & Janie come-latelys profess to know.
Although I always try to find the silver lining in everything that appears to be on the right track, the recent antics of some of these "pro-environment" wannabes are wearing very thin with this person of advanced youth.

Forewarned is forearmed...as they say.
P.S.: To the folks from Virginia that stop by from time to time,
stick this in your risk assessment matrix:
I've been to the other side, and I still hear voices.
 I'll be back.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Thoughts at Sunrise: Nosce te ipsum

"There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope."
Bernard Williams
+  +  +
Whenever possible, I love to start my day watching the sun rise.
This morning, I was serenaded by my avian friends and renewed by the rising sun.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

PA: Being Raped in Broad Daylight

More wells contaminated...more lies promulgated.

+  +  +
"Those investigations have not been finalized and because of that, we've had to move a little slower than we normally do," Mr. Poister said.

Slower than normal?
Conceptually impossible for this blogger to fathom.
BTW - Mr. Poister works for PA's DEP.
Read the entire article here.
Thanks to Don Hopey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette for reporting this issue.
Oh, by the way, in case you missed it:
"In January, the DEP approved a drilling permit for a second well on the Kalp pad."

ONCE AGAIN, Tom Corbett and his cast of cronies should be dragged from office.

Want to read more about "environmentally sound" WPX ( f/k/a Williams E&P )?

From their website:


Click on this link for more.


Sunday, June 29, 2014

RiverFest 2014: Into the Light...

All kidding aside, I want to thank a lady named Heather for her last minute dump & run. Although probably intended as a smack in the face, it turned out to be anything but that.
In other words, it backfired - BIG TIME!
Anyway, I ended up having two young boys in my 16'6" 3-seater kayak, while my paddling partner of the past ~11 RiverFests, their grandfather Mark, went solo for the first time. Thanks to David Buck of EMO for bringing along a few extra kayaks.
I don't have the time to go into a lengthy post, but suffice it to say I had an engaging dialogue about the environment, specifically acid mine drainage, with an 11-year -old ( Zack ) that would put-to-shame most of the self-proclaimed environmental "experts" out there. His methodical thought process as he developed his series of questions, and the intellect behind them, far belied his obvious age. At one point during the back-n-forth, I actually wondered if some PhD type had coached this kid the night before...he was that spot-on.
If it hasn't happened already, I hope some teacher recognizes and nurtures his gift.
He will go places.
And his younger brother Jeremy was quiet at first, but from what I'm hearing, plans to be back next year and has already announced he wants his own boat. 
Here are a few pics and a few final comments about RiverFest 2014.
Above: The Wyoming Valley from the eastern ridge.
Below: The annual shuttle bus to the starting point.

By the time we rounded the next bend, and without even trying, we were in the lead and listening to the point person giving an excellent talk about the variety of wildlife found along the river. And there was one bald eagle sighting before we passed the Coxton Bridge.
So much for being out of paddling shape...and too old to keep up. 
Above: Anyone want to start a pool as to when this thing falls into river...and/or who ends up paying for it?
Below: Paddling Solo for the first time...and working the abs hardcore
Below: Mark and his grandsons.
Two great kids.
And on the opposite shore...on what should be the biggest draw of the year?
A total of 7 people...including me.
Gee...I thought this was supposed to attract millions of visitors?

Below: @ Hollenback Cemetery on my way home
Follow the light? Really?
Be prepared for what you may find...
More here.

In closing, I hereby and categorically deny any false and slanderous accusations that I ate a little green, nasty-tasting bug while in the river. As an avowed omnivore, I am above such things.
P.S. - Tasted like burnt broccoli.
Until next year...

Friday, June 27, 2014

A Hurricane Named Heather

The night before my annual RiverFest paddling trip, Hurricane Heather blew into northeastern PA.
I'll be writing about the aftermath in my upcoming recap of RiverFest 2014.

Stay tuned.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Wyoming Valley RiverFest 2014

As usual, my biological alarm clock kicked in at about 4 this morning.
Then my biological failsafe mechanism overrode the former and said:
No way, cowboy. Not today. We ain't quite ready for this...
So my plans for an early/lengthy post will have to wait until later in the day.
Another paddler (and river advocate (?)) added to the ranks.
Later, folks.