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dsc_0042  Saturday’s weather front hit hard with howling winds. Today those winds were still present.        dsc_0040

I was disappointed upon seeing any trace of snow had melted here at home. The fifteen or so miles to get to the game lands failed to see snow, However, once I arrived to my hunting spot a snow blanketed the woodlands. The woods were white and any bear would be easy to see. However, tracking would be a little difficult. I wished for another inch of snow to aid in tracking.

I found some very old bear tracks rather quickly. I estimated they were made Sunday evening. The snows that had fallen completely filled any tracks to make determining direction impossible. Also, I checked tracks from Point A and Point B. I completely lost the tracks at both points. Apparently, at the time of the bear’s movements the snow wasn’t able to reach the forest floor because of the dense Autumn Olive and Multifloral Rose brambles. I circled around trying to locate fresher tracks, but failed. Existing snow was melting by mid-morning in places.

I walked from six in the morning until sometime after 1:00. I stopped to rest one time for twenty minutes. My leg was telling me from the beginning to stop, but I pushed on. I saw some deer, ringneck pheasants and turkeys, but no squirrels at all. The front may have affected their activities. I heard few shots anywhere. I didn’t see a single bear hunter in the woods.

And the winds howled!!!!                                                                     dsc_0041

Bear Season 2016

 

Clear cut

Clear cut

What a difference a few hours can make in regards to the weather. I glanced into the skies as I began the pre-dawn walk up the

Beech

Beech

mile long hollow. I was planning on getting to a predetermined spot to await dawn before still hunting through a clear cut searching for anything black. However, I couldn’t help myself to observe the bright moon, starry sky and the calmness of that early time.

Memories of past bear hunts along with some very close encounters jarred my thoughts. A silent prayer of thanks was uttered.

The sky was bright by around 6:30 A.M. but the woodlands were still darkened. The little birds were chirping as I noticed a bird fly close to my head. The bird was an owl. I could see the bird’s “horns” as it perched about thirty yards from me.

 

Detail from my painting called, "Great-Horned Owl".

Detail from my painting called, “Great-Horned Owl”.

dsc_0030  I began my slow walk up the hollow stopping often to listen and look. I found some past bear sign. I came to an area where I climbed the slope while utilizing a well-worn deer trail. Two hen pheasants flushed, but I couldn’t get the camera on them. Immediately, I noticed a hawk gliding from across the hollow. That Cooper’s Hawk either heard the pheasants or saw them , or both. At that time, another flushed rom behind me. The hawk flew right over my head and moved quickly into the area where the pheasant had landed. I don’t know if the hawk was successful. I heard two shots in the distance from across the road. (I didn’t see a hunter all morning. where I was hunting.)                                            

By this time the cloud cover was at about 90%. The western sky was dark now.

 

Nature's Play-Doh

Nature’s Play-Doh

I reached the end of the hollow and turned to still hunt a high wall. The winds had increased and I would soon see leaves fluttering in the sky over 100 feet high. I saw one doe during this maneuver.

I approached and sat down to watch a big basin that had a lot of hemlocks and oaks. the woods became very dark and I knew rain would be soon. At dsc_0032eleven the  rains began. I heard four shots across the road over half a mile away.

dsc_0037  The winds were howling and the rain was pelting me as I headed the distance to the jeep. I saw a male ringneck. The bird allowed for a number of photos after I removed the camera from my shoulder bag. This really dampened my camera.

At noon the sky was mixed with rain and heavy, big snowflakes. I headed home. I was becoming quite wet!

 

dsc_0165 Time was moving fast as it always does as I made my way towards Quehanna. I wanted to spend a little time at a placer a friend told

Osprey nest

Osprey nest

me  about. I arrived near 4:00 P.M. to begin my hike.

 

 

Red-Spotted Newt

Red-Spotted Newt

 

I soon discovered the wetland site known as the Beaver Run Shallow Impoundment. I circled the site via a trail. The ravens were talking boldly in the distant pines. The hooting of a Barred Owl pierced the solitude and peacefulness of the evening.

dsc_0166  An Osprey nest was visible in an old snag.  I thought seeing this next nesting season would be an enjoyable jaunt.    dsc_0158

Red-Spotted Newts were common in the waters. I watched a number of them swimming about as the temperatures began to drop.

 

Beaver

Beaver

Just before darkness I watched a beaver at another area swimming about. The beaver’s lodge was close to view as well.  darkness came way to fats as I began my trip home.                              dsc_0168

My Prints on Stone

dsc_0001  Some have private messaged asking more detail on the stones  that have some art prints adhered.  The stones are approximately three-fourths of an inch thick. The back side is smooth and the image side has all the irregularities of the stone intact as is. The art print goes through a chemical process that lifts the image from the paper allowing the image to lay on the rough surface of the rock. This gives the art much character.

Each stone is different in shape. No two are exactly alike. Each one is unique.

The art prints I used featured two Delaware natives sneaking around the evening forest. Downslope is a campfire allowing the smoke to drift skyward. The title of this art is: EVENING SMOKE-DELAWARES IN 1755. (I have five of these completed on stone.)

The art was featured on the cover of MUZZLE BLASTS. This is a magazine devoted to anything pertaining to muzzleloading firearms and history, and so forth.

Another print used is entitled: IN DEFENSE. The subject is a young soldier from the French and Indian war era. dsc_0003His uniform is that of a Pennsylvania provincial soldier. The colony of Pennsylvania at this time was subject to Great Britain. (I have one stone with his image.)

SPRINGTIME MAJESTY features an adult gobbler in full strut during a Pennsylvania spring. This art was featured on the cover of TURKEY CALL. A black and white version appeared on the cover of the Pennsylvania Outdoor Writers’ Association. The limited edition print series is down to a few copies. (I have only one of Springtime Majesty on stone.)

dsc_0005  The price for each is $100.00. The company that does this process would charge $145.00 each.)

 

dsc_0098 Continuing northeast I went through the little community of Driftwood before turning left at Sinnemahoning. I enjoyed the  dsc_0103contrasts between the deep shadows and fog and/or smoke still in the hollows.   The artistic nature of myself sees such things as beautiful. I was heading due north towards Austin, Pennsylvania to pick the stones with art prints applied to them. However, I had a few stops before reaching that destiny. One place I stopped at the George B. Stevenson Dam to walk about. Lots of Canada Geese were visible.

dsc_0109

dsc_0134  The water level behind the dam has been dropped due to construction work up creek from the dam. That fact alone pushed  me dsc_0136farther north on the Sinnemahoning. I wanted to fish in the area of construction for bass, bluegills and pickerel.  The area of this dam and watershed is part of the Sinnemahoning State park. The roads to this area were closed, too.

Native Indians called this area “Achsinnimahoni”. This meant “stony lick”. The 1800 era saw massive logging operations. In less than a century the mountains became denuded causing erosion and allowing for wildfires.

Wood Ducks

Wood Ducks

The  dam was built in the early 1950 time frame.

dsc_0129 I arrived along the First Fork of the Sinnemahoning around 9:30 A.M. the eastern sun was just beginning to peak over the mountains on my right as I traveled north. The mountains on my left were in sun. Later, in the day, as I began my trip south the opposite was the case. Heavy frost was present at any areas where the sun’s presence was yet to be felt.                 dsc_0126

I stopped and picked up the stones around 9:45 and, now, I had the rest of the day for myself. I drove up a road that ran alongside of Bailey Run. I had mixed feelings of traveling back this road. Thirty years ago later this month four of us stayed at a camp to hunt bear. The four were Allen Smail (My father.) my brother-in-law, Bob Hudson and a friend David Olinger, and myself.  We had a great time. The mixed feelings came about because in two months from our hunt, Bob would die in a work-related accident. The owner of the camp and a fellow friend would die in August  of 1987 while mowing around the camp. (Just a note my Uncle Carl Smail died forty years ago on November 4th, 1976. he would hunt these hills with my dad and uncles. He passed away while hunting ducks.) This memories were permeating my thoughts as well. I could still feel the happiness, as well as, the grief over this venture.                                                                                  dsc_0123

 

Beech leaves

Beech leaves

I hiked a trail that paralleled  the stream course. I, eventually, walked through head high goldenrods and such taking photos of this beautiful waterways. I saw a Golden Eagle and Wood Ducks. later, I stumbled upon a wetland area seeing Red-Spotted

Winterberry

Winterberry

Newts.

Finally, around 1:00 I worked down to the Sinnemahoning to try my luck fishing. The water was fast in this area and snagging became an issue. However, I took a fall on slippery rocks along the shore. My aging knees were having trouble negotiating on these stones. The rocks, while wading, we worse. I fished about half-an-hour and decided to explore and take photos.

 

Native Brook Trout

Native Brook Trout

Later, I headed up Brooks Run to fish for Native brook trout. I had a blast fishing for these  beauties.

Brooks Run

Brooks Run

They never attain any great size in such small waterways, but I always enjoy catching them. Around three o’clock I began heading towards Quehanna to search out a trail a friend told me about. As stated a lot of the road heading south was covered in shadow by this time. The sun was already dropping behind these high peaks.

 

Beautiful Pennsylvania

Beautiful Pennsylvania

The morning trip for a day in the woods and streams began at 4: 50 A.M. for me. I would be spending all   dsc_0060day in some of the most beautiful areas of Pennsylvania. I needed to travel to Austin, Pennsylvania to pick up stones that had some of my art prints applied to them, so why not make a day out of it. I had been looking forward with hiking and fishing, as well as, wildlife watching. I had been planning on this day excursion all along!

I arrived at Benezette, Pennsylvania around 6:30A.M. The day was already becoming light since we moved to a different time on Sunday. I traveled up and over the hill to watch the sun rise and cast its rays onto the easterly facing mountains. A reddish-golden glow was the result. The temperatures were below freezing for a blue-white colored frost would be everywhere the sun had not warmed.

 

Headin' to the cows!

Headin’ to the cows!

dsc_0089   The elk were all about this morning. Bulls, cows and calves were scattered all about. I watched two mature bulls as they bugled declaring their availability to the many cows and calves. Young bulls of the year were busy being frisky. They would head bump and run and chase each other.  The big bulls didn’t have time for such actions. These fellers had serious things on their minds. The primary rut is over, but these bulls were still in the mood!                       dsc_0055

I saw some cows and calves out in the sun. I liked the yellow morning glow against the yellow leaves of the birch. I took a lot of photos of all these elk. I would see another small-racked elk later near Medix Run, Pennsylvania. Only a couple of people were in the area at this time. That was a plus for me!

I spent an hour or so in this area before moving along towards the First Fork of the Sinnemahoning.

 

dsc_0151

img_2037 The Kiski Unity Free Methodist Church has been having country gospel events. I have been playing lead guitar with the gospel band of Paul Eckenrode and the Country Gospel band since last spring. There is no practice, but somehow the music falls together. Pastor Paul Eckenrode sings most of the lead vocals and provides comedy  to make for an enjoyable and spiritual evening. Pastor Walt Marr accompanies the band on drums and he always comes dressed as someone from history. This past Sunday evening he came dressed as Abraham Lincoln. Walt took  a few moments to recite Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Lincoln gave his famous address at Gettysburg on November 19th, 1863.    img_2040

Don and Sherry Townsend  play guitar and piano. Their grand-daughter, Rachel sings great! Phyllis S. plays the keyboards.  Davey Whitmire usually plays the bass guitar and vocals. Joe Wagner often plays the mandolin and I play the lead guitar. Joe and Davey couldn’t make this Sunday’s event due to prior commitments. (The two play in another gospel band called In Transition.) A guest mandolin player stopped by last Sunday.

The church is 99% filled to capacity for these gospel music events currently. WOW! The words to most songs are displayed overhead and anybody may sing along as they desire. Most do! Next event will be the first Sunday of December. A Christmas candle-light special is being planned for December 18th.

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