A ramble

Crates and barrels. (Petroleum Centre train depot. Oil Creek State Park, Pennsylvania.)

This is one of those posts where I have images, but no words of my own to go with them.  Sometimes they turn out to be pretty decent posts.  Other times, not so much.  We’ll just have to wait and see where it goes.

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Everybody’s walking

Walking to the Petroleum Centre train station

The turnout for the group walk was great.  Thank you all so much for participating.  It’s been fun (and quite interesting!) being able to accompany you on your walks.  Please visit the links as you work your way through this post.  Just think of all the mileage you’ll get in without having to move.  lol!

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A walk along the Allegheny River


Thank you to everyone who joined in the group walk.  I haven’t had a chance to join you all on your walks yet, having just arrived home a little while ago.  I think everyone who needed a little extra time has managed to get their walks in so it probably won’t be necessary to extend the deadline.  However, if you want to join in and haven’t had a chance to walk or do your blog post about it yet, let me know.  I plan to do the wrap-up either tomorrow or Wednesday and will wait a bit if you need extra time.

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137: Hiking to the dam

(Train station.  Oil Creek State Park.  Pennsylvania.)

When we last saw our intrepid cross-country skiing, hiking couple, they were making their way to one of the Oil Creek State Park train stations for the purpose of trekking across the snowy trail to the ice control dam.

Actually, one of us trekked.  The other decided skiing was the way to go.  The one with the camera trekked/hiked.  And I gotta tell ya, it was slow going.  The snow was deeper than I thought, having only experienced it in this area on skis this trip.

(Walking along the railroad tracks.)

I’m not entirely sure that was a public trail beside the tracks.  Who can tell in winter?  There were no “keep out” or “no trespassing signs” and it was obvious the tracks were not being used this time of year.  The lucky part is that there were tracks in the snow from a truck or some other vehicle, making it a little easier for the hiker with the camera.  The cross-country skier seemed to benefit from it too.

(The dam.)

You may be wondering why we would take the trouble to hike a mile to see an ice control dam.  Two miles round trip.  Well, we drove past it, slowed down to look, and both thought it would be interesting to get a closer look as neither of us have ever seen anything like it.  The road to the parking area near the dam was closed and, after consulting the map (one of those things on paper, not a GPS, something we don’t have), we saw the possibility that we could hike to it from the other side of the creek.

You may be wondering what an ice control dam is.  Me too.  It’s not easy to find information on this particular ice control dam.  I finally found an article called Ice Dams:  Taming An Icy River which explains it all nicely (leave it to Popular Mechanics to explain things nicely and well).  Basically, it prevents a build-up of large chunks of ice (an ice dam) which can then cause flooding in a place where you don’t want flooding (towns, etc.).

Although not tall, it still provided a number of layers to look at, especially with all the ice and snow.  You could see where the rains from a few days ago had brought the water levels up as there were large chunks of ice laying around along with some trees and branches.

Looking at the dam from our perspective at the time, to the right the creek appeared frozen over.  To the left, the water ran mostly free in channels with small chunks of ice floating on top.

It was fascinating if you’re nerdy the way we are.  And even if you’re not if might be.  The way the ice and snow build on the dam and the water sometimes flows under a thick cover of ice was certainly not something I see all the time.

(Close up of  a small section of the dam.)

I must swear too much.  I keep typing “damn” where it should be dam.  Damn.  I did it again.  But corrected it so you can’t tell I did if I hadn’t just mentioned it.

(A blue wall.)

I was busy watching the creek on our hike to the dam.  On the way back I took a good look at the walls of rock to our right and found that water had seeped through the rocks in the same way as at the Blue Wall.  It wasn’t nearly as impressive in that it wasn’t gathered together in one, half-circle space, but it was tall, blue and pretty cool.

So endeth our adventures of last weekend.  Thank goodness.  That means I can move on to current events.  Not that there’s a lot to report there but it’s nice to be caught up.

Sunday skiing

We had fresh snow yesterday and overnight so you know what that means…  skiing!  We were up early so we decided to head north to Chapin Forest Reservation where we’ve found the best cross-country skiing in our area.  To date.  We’re new at this.  There may be better places to go.  We just haven’t found them yet.

(Fresh snow.  Chapin Forest Reservation.)

Since we’re getting a little better at skiing, we went further than our first trip out there, exploring the trails a bit more.  M thinks we should be able to go from one side of the park to the other, have lunch in the lodge, and then head back on our next outing.  We’ll see.

(Snow at seat level.)

I’m beginning to run down.  I’ve had a lot of aches and pains for the past few weeks.  I normally bully my way through it and keep moving, but it may be time for me to rest a little because it’s getting pretty bad.  It’s time to spend time soaking in the disco tub.  Do some gentle and restorative yoga.  Just rest and recover so I’ll be ready for a long skiing adventure.

Today’s CD: David Byrne, Rei Momo.  You can listen to some of the songs here.

You probably know David Byrne from Talking Heads.  Once again, I like the Latin-infused rhythms and sounds.  One review I read described it as merger of Latin American music with Brit-pop-wave with a definite Talking Heads flavor to it.   It’s certainly eclectic.  (I wonder how often I’m going to use “eclectic” to describe individual selections in what has to be a truly eclectic collection of music that M and I have gathered over the years.)

136: Presque Isle Lighthouse

(Presque Isle Lighthouse.)

As I was going through the photos from Monday morning’s jaunt around Presque Isle, it occurs to me that the sky was almost perfect.  I like the way the clouds almost match the snow and ice, with hints of blue showing between them.

I had planned to walk over to the lighthouse when we finished on the beach and ice dunes.  I wanted to be closer for some of the photos.  But it was so cold out there.  The wind was harsh and my face was starting to hurt so I ended up making a dash for the warmth of the car instead of getting more pictures.

We left Presque Isle, stopping at one or two more beaches along the way to look at more ice dunes.  Then we made our way to Oil Creek State Park which is about an hour’s drive south of Erie.

(Near the visitor’s center.  Oil Creek State Park.  Pennsylvania.)

The Oil Creek Valley in Pennsylvania is the site of the world’s first commercial oil well.  The state park has a variety of interpretive exhibits where you can learn about the early oil industry, oil boomtowns, oil wells, and transportation.  The park also has a lot of hiking trails some of which, in the winter, are used for cross-country skiing.

(The warming hut.  Oil Creek State Park.)

M and I had been to Oil Creek State Park several years ago.  We went in the fall to do some hiking.  I think that may have been before I got a digital camera as I can’t locate the photos on my computer.

I did not take photos of the skiing trails since I wasn’t sure what we would encounter along the way.  It’s a good thing I left the camera behind as I had a pretty good spill at the beginning.  Before we’d had a chance to warm up, we were going downhill and around a curve, something I wasn’t ready for so down I went.  It was my one and only fall on this outing.  We did the beginner’s loop first and then gave one of the intermediate trails a try.  All in all, we were out there for about an hour.

When we finished skiing we drove over to one of the park’s railway stations so we could make our way along the tracks to see the ice control dam.  I’ll be back with photos of that (and a miniature version of the Blue Wall) tomorrow.

Another blue-sky day, followed by another gray-sky day

The sun was with us once again yesterday.  It was nice to have two sunny days in a row.  We’ve had a weird combination of snow, sleet, and freezing rain today.  Messy.

(Yesterday’s view of the creek.)

While out walking yesterday I very much wished for a pair of snowshoes.  The trek through the crusty snow, very deep in spots, was difficult and it took me twice as long as usual to walk to the creek and back.

(Sun and shadows in the woods.)

Little things caught my attention yesterday.  A feather sitting on top of the snow:

And ice sculptures.  There were little ice sculptures everywhere.

(Wrapped in a leaf.)

(A small wave.)

(Ice bubbles.)

There were also some very cool icicles hanging about on the shed.

(An inside look.)

I took the camera with me today but didn’t get much in the way of nature shots since I ended up standing under the barn extension for a good deal of the time I was out there.  The snow, sleet, rain mixture was all rain until shortly after I came back inside when it turned to all snow.

(Waiting for spring.)

I got tired of watching the gray and the rain so I turned the camera on some of the objects sitting or hanging around under the extension to the barn.

(Sunshiny sledgehammer.)

And that, folks, is about it from the Bogs for today.  Thanks for visiting!