The last time I was at the Linesville Spillway was, probably, 25 years or so. However, I was at Linesville awhile back to judge the Pennsylvania Waterfowl Stamp Contest. (duck stamp)This spillway is part of Pymatuning Lake. This spillway is near a community known as Linesville, Pennsylvania. The lake’s name is derived from an Iroquois word meaning, ” The crooked-mouthed man’s dwelling place” due to the lake’s shape.
The secondary rural roads were very scenic as we traveled south from Erie. We noticed the leaf colors as well. The peak of autumn colors will be around mid-October.
Laurie and I watched the many carp at the spillway. This brought back memories of my family and grandparents being here so many years ago. The carp’s length averaged from 24 to 28 inches. The mass of fish was unbelievable! Carp, ducks, geese and gulls fought for bread being thrown into the waters.
Fighting for bread!
I met an elderly gentlemen and somehow our conversation centered on World War 2. We discussed his actions at the Battle of the Budge and I talked of my father being in the same battle.
The lake itself was, mostly, placid and smooth as glass. The rich colors reflected into the waters. Quite some time ago I was at a Pennsylvania Game commission goose blind where I limited out with my first shot on a Canada Goose.
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I should have had known what kind of day I was going to have when the leg pains still hurt and the difficulty at getting around in the early mornings. I was determined to enjoy some of our plans as well as I could.
Laurie and I visited a breakfast buffet at the hotel we stayed. Here I fell fast on the floor. Hotel people rushed to check on me, but I was good from the fall. I am not sure if the leg gave out some or I just misjudged a step.
Regardless we headed for the Erie Bluff State Park to hike and enjoy the views. Laurie and I hiked a trail and eventually came to some steep bluffs overlooking the lake. The relaxing sounds of the waves could be heard before the lake became visible since we were in a mature oak forest.
Note cloud bank!
Acorns were falling everywhere as we walked. The squirrels and chipmunks were quite busy. One ‘corn just missed Laurie’s head! We laughed as we abruptly stopped.
We looked through the woodlands at various spots to view the beauty of Lake Erie. Of course, gulls could be viewed flying about as well. But, unfortunately, my pains became severe enough that we decided to head back to the jeep earlier than I had hoped. I was planning to walk to the lake where Elk Creek enters for photos.
We stopped in at the Tom Ridge Environmental center for a time to study and observe the various things of interest in regards to Presque Isle’s environment, wildlife and history.
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Laurie and I discussed going north to the Lake Erie area for a time. We decided any trip to Presque Isle would have to be after the labor Day holiday and not on a weekend! We, also, would watch the weather closely for comfortable and favorable weather conditions.
Well, Thursday and Friday (September 25 and 26) looked very good so we quickly made a decision to “move ‘em out”!
Gull Point Trail area
As per my usual mode of travel, I elected to drive rural roads to see the sights and avoid the hectic driving conditions common to those four-lane expressways as much as practical. The routes chosen allowed us to see some turkeys and a bald eagle. this was Laurie’s first sighting of a majestic bald eagle. We were able to see the grand bird up close as well. Prior to our time at the peninsula of Presque isle we visited the Erie Zoo. We spent about one and a half hours on the site, We, both, commented how much better the Pittsburgh Zoo is, however, the Erie Zoo is under renovations. Presque Isle is a peninsula jutting out from the mainland of Erie, Pennsylvania. The ecosystem is diverse with, at least, six variances. many species of birds and mammals inhabit the area shorelines. Some areas host huge oaks; others yield wetland species and the shores have typical low beach-like vegetation. During the War of 1812 with Great Britain, Commodore Oliver Perry defeated the British here. The cautious drive along the peninsula allowed ample time to look around. A monument to Oliver Perry stands along the shore as a memorial. The lands have a few lighthouses too. The lighthouse shown here was built in 1872.
Presque Isle Lighthouse
The first trail we hiked was the 1.5 mile Gull point Trail. This trail is located at the furthest-most point of the peninsula. The trail begins with dense understory vegetation with domineering eastern cottonwood tress and ends with sandy-like beaches with, mostly, grasses and low shrubs. The sand proved difficult to walk in. Much of the area is roped off to protect various nesting birds and endangered species as well. As we approached the last half mile, or so, of the hike bird life began to become very abundant. We saw many gulls and cormorants flying everywhere. The one specie of gull I recognized was the Ring-billed Gull. At the trail’s end an observation post has been erected. We. literally, saw hundreds of birds along the shoreline and flying about. We saw Great-Blue Herons as well. At this site, lake Erie is on three sides of us. There were plenty of boats and sail boats noticeable on the lake. Some were barely visible. A constant wind was present and the waves were forever heard as a soothing sound.
We spent much time walking and enjoying the beaches and woods. One little boy was really having a time swinging a stick at the waves as they approached him. We saw map turtles sunning themselves on logs in boggy areas. Unfortunately, as evening approached I realized and old familiar pain in my left leg. By hotel time the pain had increased. I remembered the leg issues last year at this time with checks for a clot and breakage, four days on crutches and therapy. We really enjoyed our time together on Presque isle. This is my, third or, fourth trip visiting the lake. The following morning we hiked the Erie Bluffs. This will be the next entry here.
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The Allegheny River was beautiful as Frank “Muskie” Maus and I entered the boat for a day of muskie fishing. The Allegheny River was shrouded in a fog early, but the rapidly rising sun quickly dissipated the mist.
Frank Maus, notice the muskie decal.
Within moments we were busy casting for the elusive muskie. I was telling Laurie I was going to not going to quit fishing until I landed a six-footer! Needless to say, that feat didn’t occur. I think the world’s record is around five feet in length so catching 72 inches of fish was doubtful in reality.
We traveled and trolled for the fish as well, but my jinxing abilities won out over any good luck I may have had in the past. I did, however, catch a nice smallmouth bass, but the fish threw the hook prior to any landing attempt.
While in the boat we saw two ospreys. One osprey dove into the waters attempting to land a fish. That was quite a sight. I saw a red-tailed hawk, geese and waterfowl and a pie-billed grebe too. The grebe swam about occasionally diving for morsels to eat.
Frankie has caught 250 muskies as of date.
I saw three deer and a small flock of turkeys while traveling on the road.
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My step father, Bob Miller and mother, Ruth with Teea
What a voice! What can I say! I had the honor to play lead guitar with Teea Goans On Saturday, September 13th at the WTYM Radio Station for an outside country jam concert.
The morning proved to be challenging for all of us trying to keep dry under a few tents. Water blew in from the sides and back. Water dripped between the tents and water even dripped through the tents. Nobody was electrocuted. The rain caused additional problems as well. The sound system people couldn’t set up everything we needed to do a successful rehearsal. Teea had to sing without a microphone. Hearing was difficult, but we managed to get a quick rehearsal in!
The band with Teea
After this I returned Teea to her hotel room and waited to pick her up again for the show later. The day gradually cleared after the noon rains quit, however, the winds came! Hair was being blown all about!
This band came about after much effort. We searched for a drummer and bass guitar player to offer the style of music needed to play many of the songs Teea had planned to perform. Time was short, but we managed to put together a band quickly. The band members were: Dick Vernon on steel guitar; Betty Hill on the bass guitar; Al Mechling on rhythm guitar; Jeff hazard on drums and myself struggled through with the lead guitar.
Teea Goans is an up and coming country music star. She has been on RFD TV television shows with more shows coming. She has two CDs on the market and is about to begin her third CD. She has appeared on the stage of the Grand Old Opry, Branson and sang with many of the “big names” of country music.
Laurie and I took her out for the evening meal after the concert and we felt honored to become more acquainted with this “down-to-earth” young lady. Please, take some time to visit her web at: http://www.teeagoans.com
PHOTOS BY LAURIE SMAIL
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Recently, I gathered up some fishing gear and left early to go and fish at Lock #8 north of Kittanning. I imagined now that the rains had a chance to slow the Allegheny River should be in a good condition to fish. Well, sorta..kinda! I entered the site about 6:30 A.M. and another fisherman was present. The water was being “let out” at that hydroelectric plant thus we had fast-moving and churning water.
The fisherman had been on site for about fifteen minutes. He said the water was calm as glass until the moments prior to my arrival. I threw in a baited hook and after about ten minutes I retrieved the line. Time for a hike!
The hike was perfect. the temperatures were still comfortable at this hour. I saw plenty of wildlife during my excursion. I saw six deer; a ‘coon; a rabbit and some squirrels. I saw a flock of turkeys on the railroad tracks too.
The highlight of the morning was the sight of a porcupine. I was able to get quite close to the prickly little guy. He immediately chose to get into his defensive posture once I became known to the ‘pine.
After, a few minutes to take photos and observe the porky. He/she decided it had had enough of the foul- smelling human and departed to a tree.
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The fog was moderate to heavy all morning. I was planning to go fishing in the back waters of Crooked Creek, but decided I needed a nice long hike.
My destination was to hike the Baker Trail beginning at Cochran’s Mill and going until I decided to turn around. The Baker Trail is a trail beginning near Aspinwall, Pennsylvania and ending in the Allegheny National Forest. The trail is 132 miles long.
Turtlehead…a native flower.
The hike followed the hills and hollows near Crooked Creek for the most part. I walked along some very high cliffs through wetlands and big forests and even along some township roads. These are all part of this section of the trail.
The first wildlife specie I found was a box turtle. The reptile allowed for a few photos as I continued on. At several sites I saw deer. One deer, at least, sported a rack. The antlers didn’t appear to have been rubbed at all although this act of rubbing trees will occur very soon. I saw a lot of grey and fox squirrels. I, also, saw a rabbit and a Sharp-shined Hawk. I saw a bear on the trail, but the bear was in the underbrush before I could get a photo.
Eventually, the trail came onto a wetland area. The trees had been harvested and the trail was covered with much vegetation. The trail, at this point, was nothing more than a deer trail in width. Needless to say I was soaked from above the knees and my feet were becoming wrinkled like a prune I am sure.
Some areas has big oak trees and other areas has big pines and hemlocks.
Eventually, I came across several large trees down and blocking the trail. I elected to go down over the hill to Crooked Creek. I came onto this water near a site known as Robb’s Fording. This site is not far from the actual Crooked Creek Lake and park. I decided to walk along until I came onto Pine Run and walk up the creek. Remember I am already soaked! I had crossed this run, earlier, while following the trail. Here I saw a Great Blue Heron and a Red-Tailed hawk.
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