Friday, September 27, 2013

27 September 2013 - Chester County, Pennsylvania at the Cochranes
Another day, another pond, another paddle, or so we thought. The last few posts ended with us leaving the Moose Mountain Lodge and traveling on to Emerald Pond. We are currently ensconced at the beautiful farm belonging to Jim and Sally Cochrane. Uncle Jim & Aunt Sally are family friends of Trox' and have made us more than welcome in their home. They found a scenic place for us to park Merlin but have insisted that we come stay in the house. We have both enjoyed having a big bed to spread out in and a nice shower. On the way to here from Moose Mountain we had some adventures.

At Gale Meadows we simply stayed at the boat dock since it was not marked as no camping. We arrived late in the afternoon and Trox got a paddle in. I of course went the next morning. From the pond we had views of two ski areas, Stratton & Bromley.
A bird taken from the shore of Gale Meadows
Probably a warbler

Stratton ski area during Trox' evening paddle

Stratton ski area during my morning paddle

Not much color change yet, but some

Bromley ski area from the boat launch

From Gale Meadows we headed up to Stratton ski area where Trox was able to get in a ride. Unfortunately the top was rather foggy and there wasn't much view.
At the top of Stratton ski area


The next few days we investigated and prepared for Trox to paddle the Battenkill River. Peter had highly recommended the river as a great place to paddle and Trox wanted to try it. We found some information on a 22 mile stretch that would let him paddle from Manchester VT area to Jackson NY. He did a short paddle the day before the full trip just to try his hand at some class II rapids.
Heading upstream on the Battenkill River

This little guy kept coming out to sun
himself while I was waiting at the bridge
for Trox to return

Coming into the shore after his initial run

Left one is a flycatcher
One on right is some kind of finch

What a pretty river

Cedar Wax wing

Snapping Turtle
He would NOT turn around!

While we were preparing for the river run we stayed at Woodford State park with a pretty pond so I did get some paddling in also. The pond at Woodford State Park was very high but still shallow in places. There is a rocky outcrop in the middle of the lake which is probably much more exposed in a normal rainfall year. It is a very nice paddle.
Someone had built this cairn on the rocky outcrop

A closeup of the cairn
The water was crystal clear

I will do a post of Trox' 22 mile paddle of the Battenkill later. After Trox completed his paddle we were in New York and our first stop was at Moreau State Park which of course had a wonderful pond. There are actually two ponds which are connected by a causeway that the beavers attempt to dam closed almost every night. I made my paddle right after the park ranger had broken the dam and so my trip through the causeway was a challenge. Because of the dam, the upper pond is higher than the lower pond and there is quite a current under the bridge while the ponds level out.
A beaver lodge in the middle of the pond
is a resting spot for the Canada Geese

The causeway and its current!
Took me 4 tries to get through it

And then on to Green Lakes State Park in the Syracuse area. We picked this park because it was close to Syracuse and Michael, Pea, and young Troxell. We also picked it because the ponds looked really fun to paddle. They are glacier lakes and VERY deep (near 200 feet each) but small enough to easily paddle the perimeter. WELL! That is where our "another day, another pond, another paddle" fell apart. Ends up that private boats are not allowed on these lakes because they are such a delicate ecosystem and the concession that rents "allowed boats" is closed for the season. Let me tell you, I was not a very happy camper! Oh, well, we did get to see the kids and had lots of fun with them.
The shallow end of Green Lake
This area allows swimmers during the season

Our next state park was Taughannock Falls State Park which is on the Cayuga Finger Lake and I was hoping to get to paddle a BIG lake but once again it didn't work out. Oh, well, onward.
One of the falls at Taughannock

Reading the information

Cayuga Lake
see why I didn't paddle?

So finally we arrived in Pennsylvania and we found a state park - Ricketts Glen which is on a pretty little lake named Jane. It was also close to Williamsport. We spent a day exploring the cemetery at Williamsport which is where Trox' father's father and grandparents are buried. What a beautiful cemetery. It is 400 plus acres on a heavily wooded series of hills. Some of it is very steep and there are over 20 miles of road. Luckily we had a good map and were able to locate the graves I wanted.
And into Pennsylvania

The Jane Lake

The colors are finally starting to really pop
We will miss the peak but at least we are seeing some!

From Rickets we traveled to the Cochranes where we are now. We made a trip yesterday to Valley Forge - once again to collect pictures of headstones for Trox' family. This time it was for his mother's father's family.
Our parking spot at the Cochranes

One of our neighbors

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Moose Mountain Lodge

12-14 September 2013 - Moose Mountain Lodge - Etna New Hampshire
This post is only about Moose Mountain Lodge and our stay there. We had such a wonderful time and it is an absolutely beautiful location. I wish I could recommend that you stay there but alas the owners, Peter & Kay Shumway, chose to retire when Peter turned 80. It must have been a fun place to stay in its heyday! The lodge was actually built in 1937-1938 and was first opened in December of 1938 as a ski lodge. It operated until 1943 when it closed due to the war and did not reopen until 1946. Unfortunately it was only open for 3 years and from 1949 to 1955 it was empty and vandalized. In the late 50s it was used as a boys summer camp and in the 70s it was once again a cross country ski lodge. Peter & Kay purchased it in 1975. They made minor and major renovations including little things like a new roof. They continued to run it as a cross country ski lodge in the winter and a lodge for hiking and other great outdoors stuff in the summer. They provided their guests with fresh food with vegetables from Peter's garden and three meals a day from Kay's kitchen and lots of yummies like homemade chocolate chip cookies! In 2011 they decided 35 years was long enough and they retired closing the lodge to guests. They still live in it and in Kay's words "plan to live at the lodge and caretake it as long as they are able".

Currently living in the lodge are Kay, Peter, Tulla, and Davina. Tulla is a beautiful Weimaraner and Davina is a very pretty domestic short hair cat with a wonderful personality. Outside you can find moose, beaver, birds especially loons, and bear. Trox can attest to the bear as he and Tulla met one on their hike. In addition to all these at one time there was also an Angora goat herd directed by Sylvia, the Yucatan mini swine. I have posted a few pics of Tulla but unfortunately didn't get one of Davina. Kay is a very talented photographer and her website has lots of pictures of the area and the animals - both wild and domestic. Visit her website and click on Images and/or blog to see lots more pictures.

So, how did we get to stay there if it is closed? WELL! We have connections! We parked Merlin at the top where we could enjoy the view. We also enjoyed time in the lodge sitting in front of the fire and sitting on the porch enjoying the view and the company of Peter & Kay. Many of you know our friend Nancy from Cuyamungue and she is our connection. Kay is her sister and Nancy made the arrangements for us to stay at the lodge.

Our first morning there Trox and I walked with Kay down to the beaver pond where she feeds them apples and poplar branches. The beavers are not tame but do come when she claps her hands. She has been providing them food this year because their food source is so low in the area. She has three beavers - father, mother, and two year old. Normally the two year old would have left this year to be on his own but because there was no new litter he seems to be allowed to stay. That day was a cold wet day so Trox and I spent the day exploring the area and went to a raptor center and King Arther Bakery and Cafe. I detailed those outings in my last post. The second morning we were at Moose Mountain Trox hiked the mountain including a stop at the top of one of the peaks. When Trox and Tulla returned from their hike we reluctantly left the beautiful site but home beckons.

For more information on Moose Mountain Lodge including old pictures of its construction and more pictures of the beavers and loons and moose please visit Kay's website. Her blog is also great reading!.
The directions to the lodge include a warning
that the road is steep with three curves
At the top of the hill you are greeted with
this sign and know you have reached
your destination - well almost!

Kay refers to this as the 100 mile view!
On a clear day you can see Killington ski area

The lodge from down below

Merlin's spot!
What a view we had!

Kay and Tulla clapping for the beavers

We only got to meet Dad & son but what a treat!
They loved the apples!

Two year old

Deciding which apple to eat

Dad and son


They made short work of the apples

Dad in for front
Son is sitting on a rock

And another apple

Dad coming in for some poplar leaves.
Look at that tail!

Dad munching away

Watch Dad feed on the poplar

Another apple

Oh! Those apples are SOO good!

What a face

And those hands!

Fat cheeks!

Trox took Tulla on his hike
Top of Moose Mountain South Peak
Elevation 2,222 feet!