The Beauty Around Us

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

Posts tagged ‘Warren County PA’

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.


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.

An Afternoon Spent with Tom and Heather

We have two families – the families that we were born into and our Vulcan Riders and Owners Club (VROC) family. We have strong ties to both families. We spent yesterday afternoon with Tom and Heather, two members of our VROC family, whom we met briefly at the Wolfman’s Wandering Rally in June 2009.

Tom and Heather at Wolfman’s Wandering Rally 2009

Tom was looking at me, as I took this picture. Heather is sitting beside Tom, behind her mother. Although we had not seen either Heather or Tom since June 2009, we kept in touch via blogging and Facebook.On June 18 I received a Facebook message from Tom. He and Heather were planning a short camping trip to Evangola State Park, which is located along the shores of Lake Erie in New York between the cities of Dunkirk and Buffalo. Tom expressed an interest in riding through the Allegheny National Forest on Saturday and asked if I had any tips as to what is a must-see while around that area. I replied to Tom’s message the next day, providing him a list of places to see while in the Allegheny National Forest. I told Tom that Bob and I would be happy to ride with Heather and him, if they wanted to meet up with us. Tom replied to my message that same day. He and Heather would definitely like to meet up with us.Tom and Heather arrived at our house around 11:15 AM this past Saturday. Soon after their arrival we departed for downtown Warren. After Tom and Heather had topped off their fuel at Kwik Fill and took a few photographs of downtown Warren, we were on our way to the Allegheny National Forest.We followed the Allegheny River to Kinzua Dam.

Our first stop was at Kinzua Dam.

Our second stop was at Rimrock Overlook, which provides a lofty view of the Allegheny Reservoir.

Bob, Tom and Heather at Rimrock Overlook

Heather, Bob and Tom on stone stairway that leads to the base of Rimrock Overlook

Stone Stairway

Leaving Rimrock Overlook we backtracked a little ways to Jakes Rocks Overlook. Here we enjoyed one last look at Kinzua Dam.

Tom and Heather at Jakes Rocks Kinzua Dam Overlook

Leaving Jakes Rocks we took Longhouse Scenic Drive (FR262) to SR321, where we turned right towards Kane. Before reaching Kane we stopped for lunch at Bob’s Trading Post.

After lunch we rode through Kane and Mt. Jewett to Kinzua Bridge State Park.

Tom and Heather at Kinzua Bridge State Park
In the background is what is left of Kinzua Bridge.

It has been 8 years since Kinzua Bridge was blown down by a tornado. Remnants of the bridge still lay on the forest floor. I wrote a blog post about the Kinzua Bridge in September 2009. If you are interested in reading that post about Kinzua Bridge and seeing a few more photographs, you may do so by clicking here.

From Kinzua Bridge State Park we made our way to Quaker Lake at Allegany State Park in New York, where we said our goodbyes. I’m so happy that Tom contacted me about his and Heather’s plan for riding through the Allegheny National Forest. Bob and I enjoyed Tom and Heather’s company and enjoyed riding with them. The chilly and wet weather couldn’t put a damper on the good times that we shared.

Tom uploaded a blog post about our ride through Allegheny National Forest as well. Please visit Tom and Heather’s blog, “Tales from the O.C.”, to read his description of the day’s ride as well as view additional pictures from the ride.

Click here for a map of Saturday’s ride.


An All-Day Motorcycle Ride

Yesterday was a beautiful day for a ride.  Bob and I left home about 9:00 AM for a 10.5 mile stretch of road that neither of us had been on before. Bob heard about this stretch of road on the Internet. State Route 3001 runs between Emporium, PA and a point west on route 120 between Emporium and St. Marys, PA.

We headed out of Warren on Route 59, where Bob planned to pick up Route 46 south out of Smethport, heading toward Emporium where the famed SR 3001 was supposedly located. Our first stop was at a visitor’s center on route 59 near Wolf Run Marina. I needed to put on a sweater and also took some pictures here.

Allegheny Reservoir Overlook

Bob at Allegheny Reservoir Overlook

We met a retired couple here who were taking a navigation break looking at their map. He wanted to take some back roads and was asking Bob about the unpaved road leading from Jake’s Rocks, and where it led to. As Bob explained, the wife protested to her husband that they didn’t need to take any more back roads this trip. In speaking with the couple, we learned that she was a retired bus driver and he was a retired police officer. They both spoke of the motorcycles they had and adventures they had on them. We didn’t have time to get a word in edgewise, but it was fun listening to them. When we were ready to pack up and continue on, we had to interrupt and say so.

In Emporium we stopped to fuel up, since we already had 35 miles on the trip meter when we left home. It read 105 at this stop, 70 miles so far. While we took a break and ate a Slim Jim, I noticed a large building on the hillside. It happened to be the Cameron County courthouse. I like to capture courthouse pictures in towns we visit, and this was no exception. We took a ride over to the courthouse.

Emporium, PA
Cameron County Courthouse

When we left the courthouse, Bob wanted to see the back of it, so we rode around the block that the court house occupied to get a look. Bob could tell at the first turn that his skills would be tested because the courthouse is on a hillside, and the first side street was kind of steep. At the top was a yield sign, and Bob was thankful he didn’t have to stop. He probably wouldn’t have anyway, because it would have been difficult to get going again. The next street over was easier to maneuver, since turning to a downhill grade is easier for him.

Back down to a main street in town, we found the street that would lead us to SR 3001. As we left town and crossed a couple of intersections, Bob finally saw the sign “10 1/2 miles of winding road ahead”. They weren’t kidding. Looking at the topo map the night before, Bob didn’t notice that the first curve we encountered was uphill and 90 + degrees. It kind of threw him for a loop, especially riding two up, but he maneuvered through it using most of the available road. Luckily, nothing was coming the other way.  We stopped a short distance up the road at an overlook that views Emporium.  There was a lot of mountain laurel on this stretch of the road too.

Route 3001

Route 3001 Emporium Overlook
You can see the Cameron County Courthouse in the center of the photograph.

The speed limit on SR 3001 is 35 mph, which is generous. Many of the sharp turns had gravel in the road, so Bob was taking it especially easy through them. The road condition is good for the most part, with a few bumpy areas. There are several markings on the road, apparently for future construction fixes. Around one curve was a large white tailed doe standing in the road watching us approach. As we got closer, she decided to get out of the way, which was nice. A short blast of the air horn encouraged her to move only a slight bit faster.

After 10 and a half miles of winding road, we approached route 120, west of Emporium. This was the last time Bob had to finesse with clutch and balance for this ride. It was an uphill stop on an intersection that was pretty much blind to the right. Inching as close as he could to route 120 without going into the eastbound lane, we waited for an eastbound car to pass. After it did, we successfully completed the left hand turn and were on Route 120 west headed for St Marys.

In St. Marys, we visited Decker’s Chapel. The chapel was built by Michael Decker after a back injury. Some say it is the smallest chapel in America.

Decker’s Chapel

This Bible was lying on the altar, opened to the day’s reading.

A few miles down the road from Decker’s Chapel is Rose’s Hilltop Diner. When Dad was alive, he enjoyed eating at Rose’s Hilltop Diner while at his camp. Bob and I try to stop at Rose’s Hilltop Diner for a bite to eat whenever we are in the area. As we walked into the diner I thought I recognized one of the waitresses behind the counter. I asked this waitress if she was married to Randy. She said “yes”. I know that she was trying to place me by the look on her face and the sound of her voice. The waitress behind the counter was my cousin (by marriage). We started chatting on Facebook earlier this year. Yesterday was the first day we met in person. It was a pleasure to meet Chrystle. I hope that our paths cross sometime again in the future!

Rose’s Hilltop Diner

Chrystle and I

It was in the middle of the afternoon when we stopped at the Elk Country Visitor Center in Benezette, PA. We knew it was unlikely but hoped to see an elk. We didn’t see an elk, but we did see a nicely restored Hudson in the parking lot.

Restored Hudson

After we stopped at the Elk Country Visitor Center, we decided it was time to head for home. We took Route 555 to Weedville, backtracked up Route 255 toward St. Marys, and then turned north on the familiar to us Route 948. Stopping in Ridgway, we fueled up again. 74 miles on the trip meter here, 144 miles so far. About 50 miles to reach home, we continued out of Ridgway on Route 219, turning on Route 321 to Kane, where we finally picked up Route 6 back into Warren.  We made an ice cream stop at the Dairy Delight on the corner of Routes 59 and 6. While there Bob listened to a voice mail left by a friend who was having computer trouble. The friend was on the way home, so we made a stop there before returning home (subject of next blog post).

Mother and Daughter Photo Session

I mentioned in my previous post that I would be photographing my stepdaughter, Stacey, and her mother in the near future. That photo session happened yesterday.  The photo session took place at three locations: Kinzua Dam, Bent Run Falls and Rimrock Overlook, all three locations in the Allegheny National Forest and not far from our home in Warren, PA.

Stacey and Chris at Kinzua Dam

Stacey and Chris at Bent Run Waterfall

Stacey and Chris at Rimrock

In addition to photographing Stacey and her mother, Chris, I managed to capture a couple photographs of the dads too.

Stacey and Jay at Bent Run Waterfall

Stacey and Bob at Bent Run Waterfall

After the photo session we went to Stacey’s house, where we were joined by Mike (Stacey’s fiance) and Jeff and Vanina (Jeff’s brother and sister-in-law). A pot luck BBQ dinner was enjoyed by all. All in all it was a wonderful day!

Mother’s Day Ride

Bob and I went for a motorcycle ride on Sunday. This was my second motorcycle ride of the season. On my first ride, we rode 65 miles. We rode 135 miles on Sunday. I’m working my way up to a longer ride in July.

We rode to Ellicottville, NY, where we ate lunch at The Gin Mill. We’ve enjoyed a lunch of burgers (and the service) at The Gin Mill in past rides. Yesterday was no different. The burgers and service was great!

From Ellicottville we drove through Allegany State Park and along the Allegheny Reservoir, a ride that we have made numerous times. We made a few photo stops in the park and at Kinzua Dam.

Allegany State Park
Fisherman at Red House Lake
Red House Administration Building in background

Allegany State Park – Thomas L. Kelly Covered Bridge

Do you see Bob and the motorcycle at end of bridge? The visor on my helmet came undone. Bob was fixing my visor, while I was taking photographs.

Allegany State Park
Here’s a picture of the creek that flows under the covered bridge.

Allegany State Park
Here’s a daisy that was growing near the covered bridge.

Our last stop before returning home was at Kinzua Dam.

My Mother’s Day was an enjoyable one. I hope that each of you had an enjoyable Mother’s Day as well!

Kinzua Dam

We drove to Kinzua Dam (located near our hometown of Warren, Pennsylvania).  Allegheny Reservoir is quite full and water was being released at a greater amount than normal. I had hoped to see the top gates open. The top gates weren’t open. We were either too early or too late. I did, however, get a good picture of Kinzua Dam.

Kinzua Dam

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