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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Exploration & Discovery

I spent over two hours exploring an island on the Susquehanna River yesterday. Joining me were my longtime paddling partner and fellow blogger Mark Cour and his ultra-inquisitive and very bright seven-year-old grandson Zach.

Over the years, I've usually done this type of exploring alone, so it was a treat to have some company along - especially heavily-armed company - as I've been told by many outdoorsmen-type dudes that all kinds of wildlife take refuge on the rarely-visited real estate in the middle of the Susquehanna. I won't go into details, but outside of a poisonous def leopard frog, three blue heron and some Canadian geese, most of the terrestrial critters must have been taking a mid-day siesta. Especially the catamounts.

Anyway, one of my favorite pastimes is scanning the ground for unique rocks and other fascinating finds. With the Wyoming Valley being occupied since the last Ice Age, and the Susquehanna River being a major Native American highway for ten thousand++ years, you never know what you're going to find.

Oh, and lest I be remiss...the Susquehanna has served as our waste removal system for the last ~400 years or so.

When will we ever learn?

Above and below - Susquehanna River at Pittston, PA

Suffice it to say there are more than a bazillion rocks on islands in the Susquehanna, thanks to a combination of normal riverine processes and also to the vast amounts of lithic material transported from parts north and deposited during last Ice Age. If you have any questions about my uninformed and misguided assertions, give these folks a shout. They seem to be experts on everything.

Anyway...here are a few more pics from our day of discovery on Dinosaur Island.

Above: An old brick from who knows when & where.
Below: Reminders of days gone by.

Above & below: Chunks of anthracite coal were everywhere.

Below: Dinosaur path?

Below: Sign? What sign? Scofflaw to the end...

Below: Mark, Gun-totin' Zach, and me.

P.S. - Talisman Terry took the pic above.

Finally, as the saying goes...to each his own. I spent my time scanning the ground for unusual rocks. Mark stumbled upon, among other things, a potentially salvageable fishing rod and reel, a lawn spreading device of some sort, the remnants of a TV set, a hubcap from an Edsel ( I think ), multiple golf balls, and the No Parking sign featured above. He also said something about trees with bite marks. Then again, we were out in the midday sun for quite a bit...plus, he found a patch of strange weeds growing in the center of the island under camouflage netting that he appeared to be stuffing in his pockets to take home for "further taxonomic identification and analysis."

And then there was Zach, who honed in on the shards of glass that were everywhere. At one point his pockets were so full that his pants were about to start dropping to his ankles...so we went back and grabbed a mesh bag to hold the rest of our yet-to-be-discovered treasures. As can be seen from the pic below...Zach was one happy camper sorting through all of his new found treasures, including Mr. StoneFace. 

Hey, who needs to buy birthday presents? Take a kid ( of any age ) to an island and let the fun begin.

I've got far more to post, but I'll save that for another day. Thanks to Mark & Zach Cour for joining me on another day of discovery on the majestic Susquehanna River.

Headin' home.

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