The Beauty Around Us

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Posts from the ‘Pennsylvania’ category

Benezette Weekend Getaway: Day 3

This blog post contains photographs and details of our third, and last, day of our weekend getaway. If you missed Days 1 and 2, you may catch up by clicking here.

On December 20 we drove home, leaving from Weedville around 8:00 am, after eating our oatmeal breakfast at the Airbnb.  We didn’t see any elk at the Airbnb during our stay, as we had hoped.  Elk are not predictable!  

Before leaving the area, we went for a drive to Benezette.  We looked for elk at places where we had seen elk the previous day and on Saturday afternoon.  There were no elk at the Mt Zion Historical Park.  There wasn’t any elk at either the Benezette Store campground or at the field past the Benezette Store.  We went for a drive on Winslow Hill.  We didn’t see any elk at the Elk Country Visitor Center or at the Winslow Hill viewing area.   As I wrote earlier, elk are not predictable.  We did see a few elk this morning at a couple other places, but not nearly as many as we saw the previous two days. I did not write down the location where we saw these elk.

Five Bull Elk
We believe these elk are the same ones that we saw
at the Mt Zion Historical Park the previous day.
A Bull Elk and Two Cows
Two Bull Elk, Sparring
One Bull Elk

On our way home we stopped at Joey’s Bakery in Ridgway PA for a mid morning snack.  The bakery items were slim pickings by the time we arrived.  We did find a couple to our liking, though, and purchased tea and coffee as well. 

We returned home around 11:30 am. We had a wonderful stay at ”Creekside Cabin”. Both of us agree that we want to spend more time at this Airbnb, possibly in the summertime 2022.

Benezette Weekend Getaway: Day 2

This blog post contains photographs and details of our second day of our weekend getaway. If you missed Day 1, you may catch up by clicking here.

We got up the morning of December 19th around 5:30 am.  We ate breakfast at “Creekside Cabin”.  Breakfast was simple fare — oatmeal and peaches with tea / coffee.  

We left at 8:30 am to go for a drive.   Our drive took us through Benezette, Driftwood, Sinnamahoning, through the Quehanna Wild Area to Medix Run. 

We saw seven bull elk at Mount Zion Historical Park. 

Five Bull Elk at Mt Zion Historical Park
Two Bull Elk at Mt Zion Historical Park

We saw two bull elk and many cow elk at the Benezette Store campground. 

We caught the last moments of the first bull elk chasing the second bull elk.

This was the first time ever that I heard an elk bugle!
Elk at Benezette Store Campground
This was the first bull elk.
Elk at Benezette Store Campground
This is the second bull elk.
Elk at Benezette Store Campground
I believe this is the second bull elk.

We believe this elk herd is the same herd that we saw at Ruffo Flats the previous day.

In the Quehanna Wild Area we stopped at two waterfalls — the Wykoff Run Falls and Table Falls. 

Wykoff Run Falls

Table Falls was a new-to-us waterfall.  Bob hiked down a steep hill to take some pictures and video of Table Falls. I didn’t hike. 

Bob hiking down Table Falls Trail
Table Falls (video by Bob)

I walked around to the other side of the Table Falls trail.

Bob waving at me from the Table Falls area

Bob returned to the parking lot via a different trail than the one he used to hike down to Table Falls.

Bob is hiking out of Table Falls,
not using the yellow-blazed trail.
This trail is steeper than the yellow-blazed trail!
It was a difficult climb!

While Bob was hiking, I found a scenic scene of my own.

This is Paige Run.
Paige Run feeds Table Falls.

We left Table Falls and drove to Medix Run, where we turned right and returned to Benezette.  We ate lunch at the Benezette Hotel.  We chose prime rib sandwiches and chips and, for dessert, apple pie. Our lunch was delicious!.

After lunch we drove to The Cross. We followed Route 555 west and turned right onto Gray Hill Road. Gray Hill Road turns into Mt. Zion Road. Continue going straight. You will see signs for the cross on your right. There is a small parking lot in which we parked.

The Cross is a place of worship. There are several benches in front of the cross where worshipers can sit, contemplate, pray, etc. It is also a place to memorialize someone. There are several memorials near the cross.

The Cross
Memorials Left at The Cross
I have photographed people at The Cross.
I can’t remember having my photograph
taken at The Cross.
Thank you, Bob, for taking my picture.

From The Cross we returned to ”Creekside Cabin”. We ate dinner at our Airbnb. We ate leftover ham steak, individual size pizzas and pudding.

Benezette Weekend Getaway: Day 1

December 18th began with breakfast at Mama Janes Restaurant here in Warren.  Bob ordered corned beef hash and eggs with breakfast potatoes, rye toast, coffee and orange juice.  I ordered two eggs, 4 slices of bacon, wheat toast and breakfast potatoes with tea.  I gave Bob two slices of bacon and left behind one slice of toast and some of my breakfast potatoes.

We planned to leave home mid morning, en route Weedville PA, but didn’t leave until noon.  The weather forecast didn’t motivate us to leave earlier, as a winter weather advisory was in effect until 1:00 pm.  Mixed precipitation was forecasted, with ice accumulations of a light glaze and snow and sleet accumulations of up to one inch.  Here in Warren I believe all that fell had been rain.  Looking at Wunderground at 11:45 am it showed rain between Warren and Weedville, with temperatures well above freezing.  Rain did stay with us all afternoon and into the evening.

Our first stop was in Benezette at the Elk County Visitor Center.  

We arrived at the Visitor Center around 2:15 pm.
This elk is ready for Christmas.

We went inside the Visitor Center and looked at the exhibits. The elk outside was not the only exhibit ready for Christmas.

There was a nicely decorated Christmas tree at the Visitor Center too.

We even took a couple close-up pictures of the exhibits.

I took this close-up picture of a bear.
Bob took this close-up picture of a Bull Elk.

We looked around the Visitor Center gift shop but didn’t buy anything.  It was raining, so we didn’t walk any of the trails.

Our second stop was on Utz Hollow Road at Ruffo Flats, where we saw at least 2 dozen elk in a field.  We reached Utz Hollow Road by turning left off of Winslow Road.  Utz Hollow Road is the first right turn just past the Benezette Store.  This was our first time stopping at this viewing area.  There were two bull elk in the group.  

See the two Bull Elk?
One is lying down; the other is standing up.

Our third stop was at Family Dollar in Weedville.  We picked up water and snacks.

Around 3:15 pm we  checked into our Airbnb “Creekside Cabin” in Weedville.  Our home away from home for two nights was a trailer with three bedrooms, an eat-in kitchen, living room and bathroom.  A creek, Kersey Run, flows close to the trailer.  There is a covered porch with table and chairs.  We were pleased to find that our hosts had decorated for Christmas.  

Airbnb living room

Our Airbnb has more Christmas decorations than we have at home.   Oh, and that TV stand fireplace…I want one!  The fireplace adds ambiance to an already cozy home.

We ate dinner at our Airbnb.  I prepared a ham steak, fried potatoes and onions, green beans and apple sauce — all brought from home.

We had hoped to see elk before sunset at our Airbnb.  The elk didn’t show.


Wedding Anniversary Celebration – Day 4

We departed the Birdhouse Inn Confluence Airbnb at 8:00 am, en route home.  We had a very nice, relaxing stay in Confluence.  We plan to make a return trip here one day.

We stopped for breakfast at Zambo’s Country Cottage in Rockwood, PA.  The restaurant is located in the middle of nowhere, farm country, less than 30 minutes from Confluence.  The service was excellent, and the food was delicious and filling.  Bob ordered a western omelet and rye toast.  I ordered two pancakes, eggs, bacon and wheat toast.  The pancakes were huge.  I boxed half of them and my toast and placed the box in our cooler.  We were back on the road at 9:05 am.

In Penn Run, PA we made a slight detour by driving into Yellow Creek State Park

The 720-acre Yellow Creek Lake occupies about 1/4 of the 2,981-acre state park.
We couldn’t have picked a better day to visit Yellow Creek State Park.
The sky was blue and reflected so beautifully on the lake.
Yellow Creek Lake

After taking these pictures, we turned around and returned to Route 422.  The park would be a nice place for a picnic, had it been lunchtime.

We returned home around 1:30 pm.  Wickett, our cat, was really happy to see us.  She ran up and down the hallway, tail raised high, as we carried stuff into the house from the car.

Wedding Anniversary Celebration – Day 3

We awakened to rain on Day 3 (September 28th) of our wedding anniversary getaway. I got up shorltly before 7:30 am and made a cup of tea. I sat outside on the side porch in my pajamas and bare feet, drinking that cup of tea, and listening to the falling rain.  The Birdhouse Inn Confluence Airbnb has two covered porches, one in the front and the other on the side.  The side porch is my favorite.  The rain started earlier this morning, around 4:15 am, accompanied by thunder and lightning. The rain stopped falling mid morning, but stayed cloudy all day.

My knee is back to its usual discomfort, so we decided to hike the Ferncliff Peninsula in Ohiopyle. We arrived on the peninsula around 11:50 am.  We followed Ferncliff Trail along the rocky Youghiongheny River to where we could see an overlook of the Ohiopyle Falls. 

There are two trails in this picture.
Ferncliff Trail is to the left and right; Oakwoods Trail is straight ahead.
We took Ferncliff Trail on the left and exited the hike on Oakwoods Trail.
Hiking Ferncliff Trail to Youghiogheny River
One of several fossils
that we saw along Ferncliff Trail
Bob on the Ferncliff Trail
Youghiogheny River, as seen from Ferncliff Trail
First view of Ohiopyle Falls from Ferncliff Trail
Bob took this picture of Ohiopyle Falls,
after hiking down some several stone steps.
Ohiopyle State Park Visitor Center,
as seen from the Ferncliff Peninsula

My right knee is weak and wobbled a bit sometimes, while navigating the rocks along the Youghiogheny River.  Soon after the waterfall overlook we came across a trail that led up away from the river toward the center of the peninsula. The first few feet of that trail was eroded, steep and difficult. Bob had to pull me up one of the steep steps.

I gave Bob a thumps up that I was able to climb up off the rocky trail along the Youghiogheny River.
We took the Buffalo Nut Trail to cut across the peninsula, to shorten our hiking distance. 
Buffalo Nut Trail was much easier to hike
than the Ferncliff Trail!
We saw lots of moss-covered tree branches, while hiking Buffalo Nut Trail.

At the end of Buffalo Nut Trail we hopped onto Oakwoods Trail that took us back to Ferncliff Trail and our origin point. 

We turned right onto the Oakwoods Trail.
I took the 360 degree video that follows
at this point on Oakwoods Trail.
Please have volume ON for the video.

We made it back to our origin point by 1:15 pm.  We enjoyed our hike on Ferncliff Peninsula.  I feel I have accomplished quite a bit in the past two days—the 10 mile bicycle ride on Monday and this hike.

After our hike we went to lunch at the Yough Roadhouse Bar & Grill just outside of Confluence.  We sat at the bar.  There was one other couple there, and one girl behind the bar.  The girl behind the bar was the only one there to wait on customers.  We sat at the bar to make her waiting on us easier.  Bob ordered a fish sandwich with chips, and I ordered chicken strips and beer-battered fries.  Our meals were delicious.  The service was excellent.  We enjoyed the conversation, too, with the other customers and our waitress.  The other customers are staying in Confluence as well, at a campground.

After lunch we returned “home”, where we relaxed for rest of the afternoon and evening.

Wedding Anniversary Celebration – Day 2

I got up on September 27th at 7:00 am, after a good night’s sleep. Bob got up about an hour later. Shortly after 9:00 am we drove to the nearby Confluence Food Market handpicked up a few groceries. Back “home” Bob made us breakfast — scrambled eggs, sausage links and orange juice.

Around 10:00 am we left on a bicycle ride, which you may find details and photographs of by clicking here. This blog post begins where the bicycling blog post ends.

Shortly before 3:00 pm Bob returned to Ohiopyle from Confluence. I met Bob in the Ohiopyle State Park parking lot. Bob loaded my bicycle on the carrier. Then, we walked back to the Ohiopyle Falls overlook for one last look.

Bob and I at Ohiopyle Falls

Nearby the falls overlook we happened upon a cat.

The cat’s tag reads:
I live in Ohiopyle. I am not a stray.

Tonto is not an ordinary cat. There are many articles on the Internet about Tonto. Click here for one of the articles I found about Tonto.

On our way back “home” from Ohiopyle we visited three sites — Cucumber Falls, Baughman Rock Overlook and Youghiogheny Dam. 

We hiked down to Cucumber Falls. Thankfully the hike wasn’t too far, as my knee still hurt from our earlier bicycle ride.

Cucumber Falls

The waterfall was OK, but I was disappointed that the water flow was low.

All we saw from Baughman Rock were trees.  The view from there is supposed to be Pennsylvania’s deepest gorge.  We didn’t see the gorge; all we saw were trees. 

Baughman Rock Overlook Trailhead

The view was disappointing, after hiking up Baughman Rock’s steep face.  That hike was painful for me. My knee complained loudly! The view from Baughman Rock will be beautiful, when the leaves change color. When the trees shed their leaves I believe, then, the gorge will be seen.

Our last stop before returning “home” was at Youghiogheny Dam.

Youghiogheny Dam

We drove across the dam and back.

Youghiogheny River Lake was established in 1944
with the construction of the 184-foot high, 1,604-foot wide Youghiogheny Dam.

We returned to our Airbnb, the Birdhouse Inn Confluence, around 4:45 pm.  We spent rest of the afternoon and evening at ”home” relaxing and allowing my knee time to recuperate.

Wedding Anniversary Celebration – Day 1

This past Sunday, September 26th, was our 23rd wedding anniversary.  We celebrated our anniversary with a mini getaway–3 nights at an Airbnb in Confluence, PA.  

Before leaving home, Bob made us omelets for breakfast.  We put the dishes in the dishwasher and started the cleaning cycle.  We packed the car.  Bob placed our bicycles on the carrier.  We left home at 8:15 am, en route Confluence.

We made one stop in Ebensburg and arrived in Confluence between 12:00 and 12:30 pm.  Check in wasn’t until 3:00 pm.  We drove by our rental Airbnb.  There was a car parked outside the front porch, which we supposed belonged to the cleaner(s).  

We had a few hours to kill, so we decided to do some sightseeing.  We saw a sign on our way to Confluence for a nearby covered bridge.  We drove to the Lower Humbert Covered Bridge and checked it out.

Lower Humbert Covered Bridge

The Lower Humbert Bridge is a 126 1/2 feet long Burr Arch truss covered bridge. It crosses over the Laurel Hill Creek in Lower Turkeyfoot Township, Somerset County. The bridge was built in 1891 and rebuilt 100 years later. It is one of ten remaining covered bridges in Somerset County.

The Lower Humbert Bridge is a Burr Arch truss covered bridge.
Bob and I at the Lower Humbert Covered Bridge

From the bridge we decided to drive to Ohiopyle State Park.  We parked near the Visitor Center and walked a short way along the Youghiogheny River.  We enjoyed the view of the Ohiopyle Falls.

Ohiopyle Falls on the Youghiogheny River

We visited the Visitor Center as well.  I picked up a map and brochure for the park.

We returned to the Birdhouse Inn Confluence Airbnb shortly before 3:00 pm.  The cleaner was still there but left as soon as she made one last bed.  The Airbnb is a cute 2 story house.  There are two porches, one in the front and one on the side.  I love the side porch.  It is where we sat, waiting for the cleaner to finish up.  The chairs are comfortable, and the view is a cornfield in front of a hill.

Shortly after 5:00 pm we walked to the River’s Edge Cafe, where we had a 5:30 pm dinner reservation.  The walk took only a few minutes, so we were early for our reservation. 

We ate our anniversary dinner at the River’s Edge Cafe.

We sat at a picnic table and enjoyed the view and sound of the Youghiogheny River.  Dinner was excellent. Bob ordered a Oak Barrel steak dinner; I ordered a Smoked Barbecued pork chop dinner.

After dinner we went for a short bicycle ride to the Confluence Town Square.  Our bicycle ride took us over the Casselman River on a bike/pedestrian bridge. In all we didn’t even ride a mile from our “home” to the town square and back “home”.

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