Fall in Huntingdon

Now that Wendell is now living it up in Montana, I’ve been dreaming about the west more and more. This jealousy has encouraged me to get out and enjoy central Pennsylvania so Wendell doesn’t think he’s the only one having fun. I haven’t gotten out as much as I’d like with Ultimate Frisbee, friends and schoolwork to blame. The mountains are really glowing orange now and it has been a wonderful first couple of months here this year. Enjoy this compilation of photos from my adventures.

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The Cliffs
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A migrant Blackpoll Warbler
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There were still some lingering wildflowers
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Goldenrod Feast

After our road trip this past summer where my fly rod was swallowed by the river, I decided to invest in a Tenkara fly rod. This is true simplicity, because it leaves the reel at home and the line is tied onto the end of the 12 foot rod. At first I worried that it would be restrictive on bigger water, but after getting out on the Little Juniata River and Spring Creek, I’m a true believer. I hooked 7 trout on each trip, and each one was super exciting. On my most recent evening trip to the Little Juniata I landed a fat 15 inch Brown Trout.

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Where’s the reel?
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One of the many Brown Trout

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Tonight is our first night in the 30’s, so the cold is coming. Stay tuned for late fall and early winter adventures of Pennsylvania and Montana!

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Back-to-back Adirondack

I was fortunate enough to enjoy two extended weekends in the Adirondacks this month. Both trips were full of new and exciting activities, and I am grateful for the endless memories that have been created. On my first trip, buds were just beginning to show on the trees because of the delayed spring.

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Oseetah and the bare birch trees
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Birding along some Saranac back roads.

One morning I birded the Bloomingdale Bog which was full of warblers that just arrived on their breeding grounds. I was also lucky to see a Black-backed Woodpecker, Yellow-bellied Flycatcher and many Lincoln’s Sparrows.

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A beautiful male Magnolia Warbler in the Bloomingdale Bog
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A curious Gray Jay

By the time we arrived again, the entire landscape was changed. Two weeks of sun and rain pushed out neon green leaves on all of the deciduous trees in the woods. My brothers and I journeyed into the backwoods for a refreshing swim in the secret gem known as Pine Pond. We also enjoyed a little boating and fishing on Oseetah Lake.

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On our way to Pine Pond
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The waterskiing slalom course on Oseetah Lake

Most of the days were filled with intermittent rain showers, but we were lucky to have one dry day, which we spent on a 14 mile hike. Despite the long distance, we were rewarded with refreshing views of Wanika Falls along the Northville-Placid Trail.

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The upper portion of Wanika Falls

The wildflowers were in full bloom all along the trail, with three species of Trillium and Dutchman’s Breeches dominating the forest floor.

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Painted Trillium

Until next time…IMG_7442

The Maiden Voyage

Every since the package arrived in the mail I have been really excited to try out this new form of transportation. Both Wendell and I recently invested in Packrafts to use for our upcoming summer journey into Montana’s backcountry. The small package, a mere five pounds, transforms into a cozy raft in six minutes. A whole new world is opened up when you can access stretches of rivers that are off the beaten path and away from roads. In July we will be reuniting with the Bob Marshall Wilderness in western Montana, where we plan on using the packrafts to paddle the untamed S. Fork of the Flathead River. The trip will be filled with amazing vistas, fly fishing and much more, which will all be compiled into an exciting film.

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Hitting the trail in downtown Huntingdon

I was finally able to get out on some water this weekend to test out my new gear. Since my car recently died, I was forced to set out from my dorm on foot, hiking a couple miles through town. A little urban hiking never hurts. Eventually I made it onto some back roads in the woods. After walking by some jagged rock cliffs hanging out over the road, I started uphill towards the Raystown Dam. While following a stream up the valley, I discovered an awesome little cabin that seemed like it came right out of a book. After admiring the cabin and taking some architectural notes for my future home, I continued on and finally reached the Raystown Lake overlook.

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Despite the violent wind and chilly air I was able to pick out a nice variety of birds. Bonaparte’s Gulls covered the waters, while 12 Common Loons rested nearby. A group of Long-tailed Ducks dove farther out and Horned Grebes were active in every corner. After I couldn’t take the wind any longer, I hiked down to the spillway where I prepared for the maiden voyage. The big plastic banana was soon ready to launch, and luckily she floated! I threw my pack in the front and I was off. As I started off downriver a Common or Forster’s Tern flew over me upriver with some minnows in its bill.

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I paddled about five miles, getting acquainted with the raft and exploring some unknown stretches of river. Wood Ducks are back in numbers, and there were at least 10 Bald Eagles flying overhead. The last exciting discovery of the day was a Louisiana Waterthrush that worked along the riverbank. This plain warbler arrives before most other warbler species, and sings its heart out all along forested waterways. Late in the afternoon I reached the ending point and I rolled up the packraft before hiking back towards town.

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The maiden voyage was a success, and I can’t wait for more adventures with the packraft. Stay tuned for more posts and get hyped for our Montana trip this summer!