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Saturday, August 13, 2011

Geocaching on The Susquehanna on a rainy day

Don't worry. I show the caches, but not specific locations and I hid them in the same place but in a different way. I love geocaching and todays rain didnt stop me. It just drove me further south to explore an area I had not planned on visiting today. I was so happy to find the caches along the river, but the rain forced me back to town to hunt down some urban C&Ds but the rain was not at all cooperative. I am amazed at the number of caches along the SusQ and in Lancaster County so I will be back for more.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Geocaching at Neversink

My first day back to geocaching and what better place then Neversink Mountain. I have been here several times, but I never expected to come across an abandoned 19th century wine cellar and a vineyard that has been neglected since the early 1900s. The wine cellar is a huge 35x50 room that is 30 feet high or more with ominous Hellraiser movie like chains hanging from the ceiling. It was so cold in that cellar that it was difficult to take any pictures. Not because my lens was fogging up, but because of the "steam" pouring from my body. It enveloped me and the camera giving an ominous vibe to the place. It was a shame to see some vandalism, but we can fix that and discourage this behavior in the future. It would be nice if we could  tell everyone where this place is, but there are some who would ruin it for others. I am honored for the chance to see it. This vineyard and wine cellar are on the site of a sanitarium in the late 1800s to the early 1900s which was burned to the ground with little evidence surviving. This cellar and a nearby "concrete pond" and remnants of the  railways peers that brought people here, are almost all that remains. the Witches Hat Pavilion at the crest of this mountain is a small piece of the puzzle in this once grand resort area turned into a Tuberculosis clinic known as a sanatorium to treat the "white plague" or "consumption" as TB was once refereed to as. The treatment back then was fresh mountain air, clean water and rest. That works for me, but times have changed and my reason for visiting this place are far more pleasurable then those visitors from the past that probably never left this place, but not by their own  choice.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

SlyFox Bock Fest 2011

The SlyFox Bock Fest is an interesting way to market a micro brewery in Pheonixville PA. They hold a goat race each year and this was my first time to attend this event. I was not expecting much, but as soon as I got close to SlyFox Brewery I could see that this was not just any old promo event. I drove down to the fairgrounds for parking and a free shuttle back to SlyFox and I couldn't believe how many people were there. The beer was so much better then I could have imagined and who would have guessed that watching a goat race would be so much fun. I think the live Polka band and German Beer fest atmosphere just made this event something that I will not forget. For me the SlackerBock beer was delicious and the winner of the goat races was a three legged goat named "Peggy". Although there was one wipe-out during the race, no goats were harmed during this event, but I can only assume that a few million brain cells were killed in the enjoyment of this festival.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Hikeathon

With such nice weather I wanted to visit Nolde Forest State park again and get some better pictures of the root cellar I saw there a few weeks ago. I was amazed at the difference in the foliage and wild life that blossomed within such a short time. the forest was truly alive with birds and chipmunks and red squirrels it felt like a completely different place from my most recent visit. The day started out a bit chilly, but after a few miles of hiking at Nolde Forest it warmed up and I didn't want to let this beautiful day pass by so quickly so I decided to head south to French Creek State Park. I have been to French Creek many times, and I proposed to Dee at Hopewell Lake in French Creek, but I had not been to Scotts Run Lake in French Creek since I was a child. It was nice to hike the perimeter of the lake and see the nice trails that are easily traversed by foot or mountain bike. Although there was not much in the way of flowers I did come across a few little specimens along the way. This small man made lake is ideal for fishing and boating and there are numerous trails to follow.

South from Neversink Mountain. A sequal along the river

I had planned on exploring more of Neversink Mountain Preserve today, but I decided to follow the path southwards towards Exeter PA. The path started out a bit rough and wet, but after crossing under the railroad through the tunnel it became a very nice biking and walking path. The tiny little flowers along the path brightened up this otherwise bland but warm day. The sun only made short appearances, but it was enough to drive away the rain that was trying to overtake the area. I felt like this was a study in macro because the flowers ranged from smaller then a thumb tack to no larger then a quarter, but the color and brilliance made up for the size. I will be returning for a walk or ride very soon to see this area as it comes alive in Spring and Summer along the Schuylkill River.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Neversink Mountain Nature Preserve

Neversink Mountain is located near Reading PA and this nature preserve consists of 900 acres of that mountain. There are an abundance of trails and parking at several locations, but so little signage or press about this area it is barely known by even the locals. In its hay day back in the 1800 to the beginning of the 1900s that is precisely what they wanted. There were many high end hotels and resorts on Neversink Mountain, but they were not for the local inhabitants. They were only published and advertised for in markets like Philadelphia and New York. This was also part of the demise of these grand resorts as luxury travel became less affordable at the dawn of the 20th century. These hotels and other amenities like stables were also only open from June to October. With the spectacular views, I'm sure much more pleasing to the eye back in the 1800s, and natural resources like fresh spring water and as they put it the healing cooler air of the mountain this could have remained an amazing retreat for all to love, but over the years it fell into disrepair and fell out of the minds of the surrounding communities. The Berks County Conservancy is doing a great job making this a place to enjoy again. Be sure to visit their site and the Mountain.  http://www.berks-conservancy.org/NaturePreserves/NeversinkMountain/tabid/80/Default.aspx

Sunday, April 3, 2011

To be me is to be free


I'm done checking my tongue in the mirror, I'm free!
I refuse to watch what I say if it's what I mean.
I can no longer hold back what is in my heart.
To be me is to be free if that's not ok, BITE ME!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Cushion Peak Hike

I wanted to go hiking today because the weather was absolutely perfect for a hike, but I didn't want to go to the same old places that I've been going all year. I wanted to discover somewhere new and interesting. I used Google maps and looked for a big green spot and plotted a course. I had no idea what I would find there, but I was not let down in the least.
The 600 acre big green spot on the map is owned by South Mountain YMCA. They operate a huge camp and maintain numerous hiking, walking and riding trails. There are so many things to do in the main camp, but I concentrated on the estate side where the peak and the horse trails are. Cushion peak is at the crest of a large hill or small mountain depending on your definition with a rise of about 250ft. The view is amazing and the trails are quite nice.
I stumbled on an old spring house with an iron door. It was locked, but I was able to sneak the camera in for a shot of the crystal clear sparkling water that apparently made this place famous at one time. My hike was enlivened by a group of passing wild Turkeys and a few deer and a couple of hawks that tried to keep out of site.
Its a shame that I discovered this place so late in the season because now that they will be opening in the spring it will be more difficult to come back and explore the area without disrupting their guests. We might have to plan a weekend or a few days stay here real soon. I hope everyone gets a chance to see this unblemished jewel of Berks county. please ask for permission at the YMCA office before exploring on your own.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Conrad Weiser Homestead

View at Conrad Weiser homestead in Womelsdorf Berks County PA.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Geese at Sinking Spring Quarry

It was nice getting back to the quarry today to pick up some trash and view the water fowl. There were several species of geese and ducks and several other varieties of water fowl all congregating on this private little lake hidden away from most eyes. I did my best to be quiet and move slowly so as not to spook or upset the wading fowl, but I had to maneuver through some noisy brush to get to some of the trash. I upset a few geese and some birds flew over to check me out, but over all it was quite a treat to see them there so peaceful. Something spooked the Snow Geese and they all flooded the sky in a rapid accent towards the sun. The increasingly loud roar of their wings was amazing to hear and then to watch them come back in was breathtaking. It was worth hauling away a little trash to see this hidden treasure again.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Meia Snow Tubeing with the kids and Dee and I

A short break from shoveling led to some fun slipping and sliding down the local hill on a snow tube and some heavy duty cardboard box sides. The snow was almost perfect for this type of sledding and the temperature was just right. Dee, Alyssa, Sean and I took Meia for her first sledding adventure and she sure seemed to enjoy it. We all had a great time coming down the hill, but Dee decided that one trip up the hill was enough. Alyssa and I each made several trips and a few impressive crashes and Sean had a few of his own. Meia was a great passenger and wanna-bee snow dog. The snow was about 6 inches over her head, but she quickly figured out that she could run in the sledding tracks. We were all exhausted after sledding, but it was allot of fun.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Happy Birthday to my babies.

Today we celebrate my two daughters birthdays. They came into this world as angels and touched my heart even though I never had a chance to touch them. Each day I share my life with them in my thoughts and prayers, but as close as they are in my heart, I miss the possibility of ever holding them in my arms. My life is filled with moments and events that I wish that they were with me to experience so that I could see there precious little smiles, or hear there cute little laughs, or even see those deep eyes light up in amazement. But that is my selfish side. I know that where they are is peaceful and far more exhilarating and fulfilling then here on Earth with me. They are free of life's torments and tormentors and they came into this world as they left, pure and loved.





You are forever in my heart.
Happy Birthday Cheyanne and Aspen.
Love always.
Dad

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Virgina Beach in the Winter

Our trip to Virginia Beach Virginia. We stayed in a timeshare/hotel room overlooking the beach on the Atlantic ocean. The weather wasn't the best, but it was nice to get away for a week. When the weather cooperated we ventured away from our room and visited the Virginia Aquarium and the Water Fowl Museum and I wandered the beach. It was quite interesting visiting the Old Cape Henry Light House which is on a Navy Base. We had to go through a security check, and they explained what we could and could not take pictures of. Walking the steps to the top of the mound were tiring but the climb to the top of the lighthouse was worth the steps. What a great view of the bay, the ocean and the new Cape Henry lighthouse. We also stopped at the Chesapeake Bay-Bridge Tunnel rest area again, and this time the restaurant was open for business. Very nice eatery and wonderful views. The fishing pier was cold but worth the chill. Over all it was a great trip and certainly has me wanting to go back again.