Sunday, May 31, 2009

Hay Creek Watershed (Birdsboro Reservoir - AM Splendor)

After a rain out Friday evening, I was still determined to make it to Hay Creek Watershed this weekend. On Sunday morning at 8:30 AM the road (old SR82) was shaded by the hill, so the focus was on catching the AM lighting on the Birdsboro Reservoir.

I love the road that leads up to the reservoir in the morning for the light rays are beaming through the canopy spotlighting the road and backlighting the mature trees.

It was so peaceful and spiritual befitting of a Sunday morning. After lapping the lake we walked back along the canal to the small dam, then climbed through the woods trail to old 82.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Blue Marsh Lake (Lake Road Trails - Skinners Loops)

A perfect sunny and 75 weather day at Blue Marsh was equalled by the great and diverse trail system that loops the peninsula.

Heading northwest on SR183, I took the left turn at Old Church Rd which bridges the lake. Less then a mile from SR183, I made a left onto Lake Road. At the end of the no outlet mile drive is a turn around/parking. I believe this is area is called Skinners Loops trail.

Similar to Old Dry Road Farm, an old neglected paved road leads down to the lake. (Maybe a former boat launch or emergency access road). These roads are tree lined and usually obscured from aerial photos.

I knew that I was on a peninsula and that I couldn't get totally lost, but the meandering trails are not clearly named nor trees blazed. I saw a couple obscure trail markers. In retrospect, the basic layout is two adjacent roads that run nearly the length and are occasionally connected by cross paths. All roads and trails connect to the paved artery.

The north road runs along a field and woods and is sun drenched so the sun loving wildflowers were plentiful. As the road transitions into shade and woodlands the flora species changed. The southern road is mainly shaded, but crosses a field too.

Max and I met 4 horse riders and a couple of bikers. The lake was spotted with boats and the shore fishing and swimming.

In summary, it was an enjoyable locale with diverse flora, rolling fields and hills and lake views.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Shikellamy State Park (Spring Morning)

Early morning fog on the Susquehanna River/Lake Augusta was lifting making great lighting conditions.

Part of the year when the inflatable bags are full, the Susquehanna River is dammed to form Lake Augusta for boating & fishing.

Shikellamy State Park Marina and Overlook are real gems and a must sees if you new to the area.

Max shrieked at the mere sight of the entrance for he has fond memories of all vertical targets about 3" or higher.

I believe that this Mallard hen must have adopted a family of orphaned ducklings for 14 seems like a lot for one brood. Also, they were swimming in the middle of the river where the boats speed, which can't be good for the gene pool.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Keithan's Blue Bird Gardens (Sunbury, PA)

Keithan's Blue Bird Gardens is a beautiful free public garden with a high concentration of Azaleas and Rhododendrons.

Photo ops abound for prom goers and wedding parties with the mature flowering bushes. I got there probably a week or so past prime, but there was still plenty of color.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Green Lane Park (Impressive First Visit)

After a brief visit to Trout Run, there was plenty of daylight to visit Green Lane Park Reservoir, about 20 minutes northeast of Boyertown. The temp was about 55 with a stiff breeze.

Not knowing the area, I was fortunate that the road I chose led me to a park office. The first thing I noticed was a dock with a bunch of little row boats for rent with dual 12 volt car batteries for the optional electric motor. ($15/hr for the electric boats)

A family of geese swam by, both parents and four fuzzy yellow babies. Picnickers were enjoying the geese too. At the end of the large parking lot was a sign for White Tail Nature Trail. Max & I took the trail into the woods and immediately came upon some nice wildflowers patches.

At the bridge, the trail splits. We followed the blue blaze along the shore line while the trail into the woods had a white blaze. It was a picturesque path through mature diverse woods that extended to the lake.

Different sections of this trail reminded me of other trails I frequent. It was similar to French Creek's Scotts Run, opposite the boat launch, and Blue Marsh's Old Dry Road Farm shore line. It may have similarities, but it was still great on its own merits. The experience helps me to appreciate what's a little closer to home though.

Most of the shore fishermen, numbering about six, were bundled up due to gusty cool breeze that probably dipped the air temp into the 40's. Not much biting either from my observation.

Max and I must have gone nearly a mile and we turned around when the trail met a gorge and re-routed into the woods.

Trout Run & Boyertown Reservoirs

I was researching potential areas for Berks Awhile on satellite maps and saw two large bodies of water near Boyertown. (Water is one of my favorite subjects). One was Trout Run Reservoir and the other was the Boyertown Reservoir.

On the approach from Powder Mill Hollow Road, the first thing you see is Trout Run dam. A drive across the dam offers great views of the lake and the valley below. Considering all the rain we experienced recently, the lake appeared low for there were large barren shores.

On the Internet, I found little on the area as far as trails and photos, but it is apparent that this is a prominent fishing locale. Even an upcoming fishing competition was posted.

Max and I parked at the east end parking lot then followed a towpath down to the gooey shore. Lighting was harsh and winds were strong so good photographic opportunities were limited. I think fall would make a much better photo stop.

Boyertown Reservoir was a drive by, for low water, little parking and under construction.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Jenkins Arboretum (Prime Azalea Colors!)

On my calendar for May was to visit a garden to photograph Azalea's and Rhododendron's (from the same plant species I believe).

The weather forecast was too unpredictable to visit Longwood Gardens for the long drive and $16 admission fee might be for nothing if the skies open up. My back-up plan, but not to be diminished, was Jenkins Arboretum in Devon, PA. It was misting on approach to Jenkins, but I was determined to try it anyway.

They recently unveiled their new "green" visitor center which is both architecturally appealing as well as environmentally friendly. With geothermal heating/cooling, recycled/renewable furniture and carpeting, no-flush urinals, and hand dryers, the building lives up to earth-friendly claims. The exterior deck is recycled materials too.

I was impressed as I stepped out the car and continued to be thrilled and inspired the whole time of my visit.

Friday, May 15, 2009

French Creek State Park (Green is the Word)

It's amazing how the vegetation has exploded in the past month, from the winter browns to the most vibrant greens of the year.

French Creek State Park was my Friday afternoon sanctuary. Max & I started at Hopewell Lake and meandered along the stream up to Scotts Run.

Around Hopewell I saw a swan, mallard ducks, wildflowers and the beaver making a lake crossing. Along the stream were frogs & wildflowers and lush vegetation.

The reeds/cattails at Scotts Run are home to a giant bull frog and a water snake. Also along the boat shore line were a two more water snakes.

Fishermen were out in force, with at least a dozen from the shore and another handful of boats working the lake. I saw many perch close to the shore.

Tiny tad poles discolored the shore line of the normally crystal clear water to dense wiggling black mass that could be scooped up by the handful. It's amazing that so few will reach maturity considering the millions that are born.