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Bicycle Ride Around Lake Wilhelm

We got a later start than on Saturday, but we went on another bicycle ride on Sunday.

We departed home at 8:40 am en route Lake Wilhelm, located at Maurice K. Goddard State Park near Sandy Lake, PA.  We arrived at the Lake Wilhelm Road trail parking lot at approximately 10:30 am and began our bicycle ride shortly afterward.  

Lake Wilhelm Road trail parking

The John C. Oliver Multi-Purpose Loop Trail is 12 miles long.  The paved, predominantly off-road trail is a pleasant, largely wooded loop around the northern and southern shores of Lake Wilhelm.  The Lake Wilhelm Road trail parking lot, where we began our ride, is located on the lake’s north side.  This location was a good place to begin our ride around the lake, as the mileage count begins here.  The trail on the lake’s north side contains several sharp bends and short, steep runs that were challenging. Bob referred to the northern portion of the trail as a roller coaster ride. 

Lake Wilhelm trail

I had to walk my bicycle up some of the hill climbs.

We stopped briefly at this shelter to enjoy the tranquility.
The trail was not heavily traveled the day we rode our bicycles.
In fact we had the trail to ourselves much of the time.

Serenity!

We stopped briefly at the Lake Wilhelm Dam, which is about the halfway point around the lake.

The trail on the lake’s south side, some of which shares Creek Road, was much less challenging than the north side, with the exception of one hill climb.  There is a choice there, though, to follow the trail up the hill or stay on Creek Road.  I stayed on Creek Road, as I had my fill of hill climbs by then!  Bob chose to follow the trail up the hill. 

We stopped for a snack and a rest break at Boat Launch No. 1, along the south shore of the lake.  Our snack was whole grain peanut butter sandwich crackers. 

Boat Launch No. 1

Picnic areas are abundant and restrooms can be found at each of the four boat launches around the lake. 

While resting, I took several pictures of a tree swallow that was sitting on a tree branch. 

Tree Swallow

Hello Human. What are you doing down there?

 

I had just packed up my camera, when wouldn’t you know it, here comes an eagle soaring across the lake.  

Later, during our ride, we saw two osprey at their nest.  I didn’t take any pictures of the eagle, but I did take several pictures of the osprey.

Osprey in Flight

Osprey on Tree Branch

Osprey on Nest

Osprey Looking at Me!

I stopped riding at the marina, shortly before the bridge on Lake Wilhelm Road that crosses over the lake. I just didn’t feel like riding anymore.  Besides I had already ridden 12 miles–the distance around the lake.

Lake Wilhelm Marina

Bob rode from the marina rest of the way to the car, put his bicycle on the carrier and drove over and picked up me and my bicycle.  

We rode bicycles around Lake Wilhelm one time before, in June 2017.  The bicycles that we rode in 2017 were folding bicycles.  I expected the trail to be easier with our Specialized bicycles than it was with our folding bicycles.  It was easier, but still strenuous.

We were en route home at 1:45 pm.  We made two stops on the way home.  Both stops were in Titusville, PA.  We made a fuel stop at Sheetz and a lunch stop at Burger King.  We returned home around 4:00 pm.

What a great workout we had on our bicycles this weekend.  We rode 12 miles round trip on Saturday on the Allegheny River Trail and another 12 miles on Sunday.  Saturday’s ride (on a predominately flat surface) was much, much easier than Sunday’s ride!

Where will we ride next?  Stay tuned!

A Saturday Drive: Lake Wilhelm

After lunch (see previous blog post), we drove to Maurice K. Goddard State Park. Specifically, we went to Lake Wilhelm in search of birds.

Our first stop was at Boat Launch No. 4 on the north side of the lake.  We saw several tree swallows and enjoyed watching their acrobatic twists and turns.  Of more interest at this boat launch, though, was the family whom we met.

Pastor Tim and his family

Tim is pastor for a small church in Meadville.  His family moved to that area a couple years ago.  What a very nice family!  We talked a little bit about Lake Wilhelm and our plans while there (looking for birds), as well as the Allegheny National Forest, near where Bob and I live.  Tim and his wife, Dana, expressed interest in visiting Kinzua Dam and points of interest in the Allegheny National Forest.  After I took this photograph of Pastor Tim and his family, we exchanged Facebook information.  Before we made it back home, we were friends on Facebook. We hope that our paths cross again one day!

Leaving Boat Launch No. 4 we turned left onto Lake Wilhelm Road, crossing a bridge over Lake Wilhelm.  At the end of the bridge, on the right, we stopped near a waterfowl observation area.

Lake Wilhelm Waterfowl Observation Platform

From this observation platform we saw a great blue heron, geese, a red-wing blackbird, an osprey and an eagle.

Osprey

I focused my attention on the osprey for some time, hoping that it would dive into the water and catch a fish.  I turned away briefly.  The osprey flew off!  I managed to capture a photograph of its tail feathers!

Osprey Tail Feathers

What held my attention the longest, though, was the eagle.

Eagle on a Nest

The eagle’s nest was WAY across the pond.  It did not move from the nest during our entire stay at the waterfowl viewing platform.

Leaving Lake Wilhelm Road we turned left onto Creek Road and drove along the southern shores of Lake Wilhelm.  We stopped at the dam, where we once again enjoyed watching the acrobatic twists and turns of tree swallows.

Tree Swallows

***To be continued***

ISO Eagles at Lake Wilhelm

Ever since our first visit to Maurice K. Goddard State Park in Mercer County, PA a little more than a month ago (which I forgot to blog about!), I have wanted to make a return trip. Bob and I made that return trip today. As was the case last month, we drove to Maurice K. Goddard State Park in search of eagles at Lake Wilhelm. We saw lots of eagles during our first visit to the state park.  The eagles for the most part, though, were too far away for me to capture a good picture.  This trip we found three bald eagles–two adult bald eagles and one juvenile, but I am getting ahead of myself.

We left home around 6:30 am. For the next 1 ½ hours or so, we drove in and out of fog. The weather forecast called for temperatures in the low 60s, but it was a frosty 28 degrees when we left home.

We stopped for breakfast at Grantham’s Landing Restaurant in Sandy Lake a short time after 8:00 am. After placing our order, breakfast was served promptly and cheerfully. Bob ordered a bacon and cheese omelet with rye toast. I ordered two scrambled eggs, bacon, wheat toast and a side order of hash browns. I gave Bob two of my four slices of bacon and one of my two hash browns. Breakfast was delicious.

It was only a short drive from the restaurant to Lake Wilhelm. We stopped briefly alongside Lake Wilhelm Road and looked for Eagles. We didn’t see any Eagles, but we did see several Canadian Geese and red-winged blackbirds. There is an observation platform along Lake Wilhelm Road from which Waterfowl, Ospreys, Eagles and other birds can be observed.

This is what we saw, while stopped alongside Lake Wilhelm Road.
I loved the reflections in the water!

This is one of several red-winged blackbirds that we saw,
while stopped alongside Lake Wilhelm Road.

Leaving Lake Wilhelm Road, we turned left onto Creek Road following it all the way to Lake Wilhelm Dam. The area near the dam is where we saw the three Eagles. We saw great blue herons too.

This is the view from on top of Lake Wilhelm Dam.

Can you spot the Great Blue Heron?

We saw three bald eagles.

These three pictures are of the same eagle.

 

On our way home we drove around Sugar Lake and made a quick drive through a small portion of the Erie National Wildlife Refuge near Guys Mill. We saw two fishers. One fisher crossed the road in front of us; the other fisher crossed the road behind us. We saw a pair of Canadian Geese too. Nothing unusual about that; they are everywhere!

a Pair of Canadian Geese at Erie National Wildlife Refuge
I loved the reflection in the water!

 

Oh, I almost forgot.  We saw a cool-looking barn while driving through Cochrantan, PA.

What a cool-looking barn!

We returned home around 2:00 pm, after a delightful Saturday drive.

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