The Beauty Around Us

Showcases Portraiture, Scenic & Nature Photography and Feaures a Photo Journal Blog

Posts tagged ‘Allegheny National Forest’

A Sunday Drive

We went for another day trip on Sunday, our fourth trip in as many days. We planned to go to Beartown Rocks in Clear Creek State Park. We never made it there.

As we were passing through Marienville on our way to Clear Creek State Park, we saw a sign for Loleta Recreation Area located 6 miles away. We decided to see what was located at Loleta Recreation Area.  Upon reaching Loleta, we saw a rutted, dirt road. Bob wondered where that road went.

We drove 10 miles or more on Forestry Road, which runs alongside the East Branch Millstone Creek. The road is an old rail road grade used for logging years ago.

 

Forestry Road

After 10 miles or so on Forestry Road, we reached a paved road that went back into the heart of Marienville. We came into Marienville one road over from the road that we took to Loleta.

We did go back to Loleta Recreation Area. The quick peek I had of the area, before we departed for parts unknown, showed a creek in the center of a park-like setting, with water flowing over a dam.

Loleta Recreation Area

From Loleta Recreation Area we drove to Clear Creek State Park.  Upon reaching Clear Creek State Park, we drove first to the swimming beach.

A bridge crosses the dam at the swimming beach.

Swimming beach

We stopped at the swimming beach because we knew that there was a restroom in this area. Unfortunately, the restroom was closed.   There weren’t any restroom facilities at Beartown Rocks, so we decided not to go there this trip.  We opted to go to Iron Mountain Grille, located a few miles away in Clarington, to make use of its restroom and have a late lunch.

Iron Mountain Grille

We learned about this restaurant from one of my high school classmates (Thank you, Rick!), who lives in the area and had recently eaten there.  We ordered chicken salads.  Bob ordered a buffalo chicken salad. I ordered a grilled chicken salad. The salads came with French fries and a bread stick.  The salads were fresh and of a size suitable for a meal. The fries were crispy and hot.  The bread sticks were served fresh out of the oven.   Our meals tasted delicious and were reasonably priced.  Service was good too.  If the opportunity presents itself, we would eat there again.

After lunch we continued along Route 36 to Cooksburg, where we turned right onto River Road.  We drove along the Clarion River to Route 899, onto which we turned left, and made our way back into Marienville.  From Marienville, we continued on our way back home to Warren.

 

A Drive Along the Longhouse National Scenic Byway

Bob and I went for a drive on Saturday afternoon. It was warm enough to ride the motorcycle that day; however, we opted to travel by car. We don’t want anything to happen to the Nomad prior to April 25, when we plan to trade it in for the new motorcycle. We wouldn’t want our new motorcycle to be ridden after putting down a deposit on it, and I would think the dealership would rather we did not ride the Nomad needlessly.

Saturday’s travel destination was Forest Service Road (FSR) 262, which is part of the Longhouse National Scenic Byway.   Before reaching FSR 262, we stopped at Big Bend Recreation Area.

Saturday was the first day of trout fishing.  This man was fishing in the Allegheny River.  The release of Allegheny Reservoir water by the opening of Kinzua Dam gates the past week raised the level of the river significantly.

 

Our next stop was at Jakes Rocks.  The access road for Jakes Rocks is about a mile up FSR 262.  After parking at Jakes Rocks, we walked a paved pathway to an overlook of the Allegheny Reservoir.

Jakes Rocks Overlook of Allegheny Reservoir

Jakes Rocks Overlook of Allegheny Reservoir

Bob and I at Jakes Rocks Overlook of Allegheny Reservoir

Returning to FSR 262 we made one more stop before leaving the Jakes Rocks area.

We stopped at an overlook of the Casey Bridge (Rt. 59) and the Allegheny Reservoir.

The next major stop along FSR 262 was at the Elijah Run Boat Launch.

View from Elijah Run Boat Launch

On our way back to the car from the boat launch we noticed a trail across the parking lot.

This trail led to a fishing pier that I had seen from the boat launch, off to the left.

a fishing pier
Bob, making his way down to the shoreline

On the fishing pier,
looking back toward the boat launch area

 

From Elijah Run Boat Launch, we continued our drive along FSR 262.  At the end of that road, we turned right onto Route 321 and stopped at Bob’s Trading Post.

I took this photograph of Bob’s Trading Post in April 2011. 

When we find ourselves at Bob’s Trading Post we usually stop in for some ice cream.  Both Bob and I watch our carbohydrate intake and were happy to find the availability of no sugar added butter pecan ice cream, which we asked for in a bowl.

After eating our ice cream, we went home by way of Gibbs Hill, Sheffield, and Clarendon.  All in all, it was a very nice Spring day for a drive!

Happy Birthday to Me

Yesterday was my birthday, and I spent the day with my best friend — my husband, Bob.

We awakened early and watched a couple episodes of “House of Cards” before 9:00 am. “House of Cards” is an American political drama television series.  The entire first season, 13 episodes, premiered on February 1, 2013, on Netflix.  A second season of 13 episodes premiered on February 14, 2014.   Netflix announced on February 4, 2014 that the show had been renewed for a third season.  Both Bob and I enjoyed watching “House of Cards”.  We watched the last episode of Season 2 last night, after returning home from my birthday drive.  We look forward to Season 3.  It will be a long wait.

After watching a couple episodes of “House of Cards” yesterday morning, we went for a drive.  Our final destination was the Seneca Allegany Casino in Salamanca, NY; however, we made a few stops along the way.

Our first stop was at Kinzua Dam.

While at Kinzua Dam, we spotted a couple eagles standing way out on the ice.  I barely had time to get my camera from the back seat and exchange a 12-50mm lens for a 75-300mm lens, before the eagles flew off.  I need to learn how to capture good pictures of birds in flight. My pictures are grainy and blurry. Part of the problem is that I don’t have enough reach with my camera lens, even though my 75-300mm lens provides an equivalent focal length of 600mm. The other problem I have is focusing on a moving object, especially when I have only one opportunity to lock in that focus.

This is the best picture of an eagle in flight that I captured yesterday.

From Kinzua Dam we continued on Route 59 to McKean County, where we turned left onto Route 321.  This route was most picturesque, with the trees frosted with snow and the overcast sky giving way to blue skies.

Frosty Trees Along Route 321 in McKean County, PA

Frosty Trees Along Route 321 in McKean County, PA

Frosty Trees Along Route 321 in McKean County, PA

Frosty Trees Along Route 321 in McKean County, PA

Upon reaching the intersection of Routes 321 and 346, we turned right onto Route 346 (towards Bradford, PA).

Marilla Reservoir

After a quick photo stop at Marilla Reservoir, we continued on Route 346 to Bradford.  We turned left onto Route 4009, which we followed to Allegany State Park.

Our first stop was at Science Lake.

Quaker Lake

Bob, with Red House Administration Building in background

Bob took this photograph of me, with Red House Administration Building in background

Red House Administration Building

We started our drive outside the park from the Red House area.  We drove along ASP Route 1 to the park’s Salamanca, NY entrance.

We saw young deer grazing alongside ASP Route 1.

There is a scenic overlook just past the Salamanca entrance to Allegany State Park.  The overlook provides a spectacular view over the valley and to the hills in the distance.

The road seen in this photograph is Interstate 86.
In the distance there is a farm.
If you see yellow farm buildings, you have located the farm.

I have always wanted to photograph this farm. I admire it each time we pass it Interstate 86.  I never stopped to take a picture because of the fast-moving traffic. When I recognized the farm from the scenic overlook, I was so happy that I had my long lens with me.

Valent Dairy Farm, as seen from ASP 1 overlook

From the scenic overlook, it was only a few minutes’ drive to the Seneca Allegany Casino.  We arrived at the casino in the early afternoon. We ate lunch at Thunder Mountain Buffet.  The casino has a special promotion on every Sunday through Thursday through February 27–buy a buffet and get $15 free slot play.  Bob and I received $15 each. I received an extra $5 credit because it was my birthday (another promotion). Bob received an extra $10 credit on his card. We don’t know why, although I think it was because he had enough points on his card to qualify for $10 free slot play. According to the “Free Slot Day Every Day You Play” promotion, Bob should have received an email informing him of the $10 free slot play.  As far as I know, he didn’t receive that email (or he overlooked it).  We had a good luck at the casino!  I left the casino with $46 and change; Bob left with $19 and change. I didn’t spend a penny of my money. Bob did spend $33 for our lunches, which was my birthday present.   It was nice that he got back $19 of that expenditure.

It was a great day overall, one of my favorite birthday celebrations.

Saturday’s Critters #5

This is my first “Saturday’s Critters” post.  As you can tell from the blog title, I am joining the critter party a few weeks late.   My blogging friend, Eileen, began this weekly meme on Saturday, December 7th.

On the afternoon of Wednesday, January 1st, a Facebook friend posted that he had viewed several eagles just below Kinzua Dam.  Bob and I made a quick trip to Big Bend Recreation Area, just below Kinzua Dam, and saw at least six eagles.  That is the most eagles I have ever seen in one place.  It was a very exciting sighting for me!

This is one of several eagles that we viewed from the Riverside Watchable Wildlife Trail and Viewing Platform at Big Bend Recreation Area.

The eagles were across the Allegheny River, not very close to our viewing platform.  I brought my 70-300 mm (EFL 140-600 mm) lens with me.  I took several pictures.  The photograph shown above turned out the best.  Even zoomed in the full capability of my lens, I still had to do heavy cropping of the image.  This is the very first time that I took a decent picture of an eagle in its natural habitat.

If you’d like to see more critter photographs, please visit Viewing nature with Eileen.

Kinzua Dam

Kinzua Dam (5/31/2013)
as viewed from Big Bend Recreation Area

Kinzua Dam is located 6 miles east of Warren, PA along Route 59.  The dam was constructed by the U.S. Corps of Engineers and was completed in 1965.   The main purpose of Kinzua Dam is flood control on the Allegheny River.  Additional benefits of Kinzua Dam include drought control, hydroelectric power production and recreation.

Immediately above Kinzua Dam is an upper reservoir.

USACE_Kinzua_Dam_downriver

I obtained this image and much of the information provided in this blog post from a Wikipedia article on the Kinzua Dam.  This is an aerial view of Kinzua Dam and the Seneca Pumped Storage Generation Station.  According to the Wikipedia article the Seneca Pumped Storage Generating Station is a hydroelectric power plant that uses pumped storage of water to generate electric power.  Water is pumped into an upper reservoir (the crater of water seen on the left).  When energy is needed, the water is allowed to fall back down and drive generators along the way.

Bob and I visited the upper reservoir yesterday afternoon.  We traveled there via Brown Run Rd. and Jakes Rocks Rd.  We really enjoyed our drive to the upper reservoir.  We saw one doe and one fawn at two different locations.  I didn’t capture a photograph of either family pair; however, the images of both deer families are locked in my memory.

It was a short climb from a parking area to the upper reservoir.

I read that the upper reservoir is 60 feet deep and 1/2 mile in diameter.

From the upper reservoir we continued on to Jakes Rocks.

Kinzua Dam impounds the 12,080-acre Allegheny Reservoir, of which 7,783 acres are within Pennsylvania.  The remaining 4,297 acres are in New York.  The Allegheny Reservoir is 27 miles long with 90 miles of shoreline and includes many recreational facilities to include marinas, boat launches and campgrounds .  There are splendid views of Kinzua Dam and the Allegheny Reservoir from Jakes Rocks.

Jakes Rocks Overlook of Allegheny Reservoir

Allegheny Reservoir, as viewed from the overlook

Allegheny Reservoir, as viewed from the overlook

Jakes Rocks Overlooks of Kinzua Dam

From Jakes Rocks we backtracked, following Jakes Rocks Road and Brown Run Road to Route 59.  We hoped to see more deer along the way.  We didn’t.  We still enjoyed the drive though.  We had the road mainly to ourselves.  Once on Route 59 we drove to Kinzua Dam, stopping first at the Big Bend Recreation Area.

Kinzua Dam
as viewed from Big Bend Recreation Area

We had a bonus sighting, while at Big Bend Recreation Area.  We saw three baby foxes (and the backside of a fourth baby fox when they all headed into the weeds because some children were shouting and running down the path towards them).

I had never seen a baby fox.  What a cute baby!

From Big Bend Recreation Area we drove the short distance to Kinzua Dam itself.

Kinzua Dam and the Allegheny Reservoir

Kinzua Dam

I leave you with a short video clip that I took, while at Kinzua Dam.

First Sighting

It wasn’t at our house, but it wasn’t far from our house.  We drove only a short distance before we had our first sighting.

This is the first snowfall of the 2012-2013 season.  I know it is too much to hope for that this will be all we see this season.

We went for a drive today.  Rimrock was not our destination.  I need to sort through, edit and upload the photographs from our destination.  I’ll share photographs and details of today’s daycation with you in my next blog post.

Sunday Drive: Sugar Bay on Allegheny Reservoir

Bob and I went for a drive this past Sunday (July 22).  We made four stops, while on our drive.  This blog post shares photographs from our first stop, which was at Sugar Bay on the Allegheny Reservoir.

 

an Osprey on its nest

Nine Geese all in a Row

One Lone Deer on the Far Shore

The deer made a hasty retreat when Bob and I were joined by a man, woman and their dog.

This photograph shows the lovely view of Sugar Bay from our vantage point.

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