Sunday, July 24, 2011

32nd State: Pennsylvania - Loyalhanna Lake (July 24, 2011)

I was feeling frustrated and rushed.  Just got paid.  Wanted to get as far along (getting done with the East) and on toward the West as fast as I could before my monthly funds ran out.  I was hot and worn out from the humidity and heat… and not thinking clearly.

But I was thrilled to see cornfields again… as it always makes me think of the Midwest.  You wouldn’t even believe how excited I was taking these photos… on the fly as I was driving… no place to pull off the road.
So, finally I get on the water again at Loyalhanna Lake.  Camped at Bush Recreation Area… the night before, having arrived there about 4pm.  Parked right on the water and put in from my campsite.  It’s a nice little lake… at least until the power boaters and jet skiers woke up and got on the water. 
This was not the place I had intended to paddle.  The place I wanted was on the back side of the dam but I didn’t realize that until I got on the road again.  The Loyalhanna Lake (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers) was authorized by the Flood Control Acts of 1936 and 1938, is one of 16 flood damage reduction projects in the Pittsburg District.  I meant to paddle the Loyalhanna Creek as it meandered toward the lake but went the wrong way.  Sometimes you are just too tired to fix your mistakes.

I was enjoying my photo shoot and the silence of the lake until the boaters woke up… then I just didn’t want to be there anymore, but wanted to head west… finally… heading west.

I wish I had felt better… as I would have followed the Black Willow Water Trail… a unique trail is a self-guided boating trail with designated stations marking many natural and man-made features.  A trail brochure was available, but I didn’t see it ahead of time.  Didn’t plan this one so well.  All I could think was get PA down and go west.

The Park guys were great, and very helpful.  It’s a very nice campground and only costs me $8…. right on the water, primitive.  They let me park next to the shower house in a no parking area for a quick shower (it had to be quick, as the faucets wouldn’t stay on and the water was scalding hot).  We chatted some.  The guy with the hat looked at my map… and asked about the Idaho paddle (he was from Idaho and knew the place I paddled there).  He was thrilled to chat with me… I’m not used to that.  Seems the more states I kayak, the more people want to talk to me.  When he learned I was towing everything I owned on earth with me… he said “One day I’m gonna do exactly that!”
And so off I go, toward the Midwest… Ohio and Indiana.  I grew up in Indiana…. “Back Home Again in Indiana!”  Westward hoo!!!
Next time (if there is one) I’ll kayak here:  Begin at the Inflow Access Area off of Rt.22.  This website has lots of information on PA kayaking spots.

Who is Swankie?

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Anywhere, USA, Full-Time USA traveler, United States
In 2006, I was shopping for a wheelchair. By 2007, I had new knees, better health and by 2008 a kayak. In Aug 2013, I kayaked my 49th state, Alaska, at the Holgate Glacier and in May 2014, I kayaked Hawaii, my 50th state, to celebrate my 70th Birthday and the finale to the wonderful adventure of Kayaking America? Next up... Solo Hiking the Arizona Trail, 820 miles? Maybe. Still healing from shoulder and trying to decide.