One day during the past week I had the opportunity to head up north to the mountains of Central Pennsylvania for a day of nothing but enjoying what the area had to offer. Nothing that I wanted to hunt was in season and I didn't pack the fly rod either. For the day it would just be me, the mountains, and my camera.
Seeing some elk was on my list and I found a few at one of the viewing areas that have been set up by various conservation groups. Most of these viewing areas have been planted in food plots to both attract and create beneficial habitat for the free ranging elk herd. These areas not only help the elk, but benefit many other species as well. Pennsylvania does have an annual elk season in which you're drawn by a lottery and some very nice bulls are taken every year. So far my name hasn't been called.
I love the country in this area with the steep rising hills and spectacular views. On a hike up one of these hills I crossed paths with this old mountain doe. I have no way to prove that she is in fact old but she does look it with her long nose and lean body. She had a few bare patches on her coat and I'm not sure what the cause of those were. The words old, wise, and survivor came to mind while watching her.
Later in the day I stopped at the Beaver Run Dam shallow water impoundment in the Quehanna Wild Area hoping for the opportunity to photograph some waterfowl or osprey. There wasn't much going on other than some nesting Canada geese though. I decided to wait it to see if anything else showed up despite the ominous black clouds in the distance. Suddenly the wind picked up and I found myself in the middle of an April mini-blizzard. There is a viewing shelter right along the edge of the impoundment that offered some protection but with all the viewing windows it wasn't very effective. Enough to protect my camera and lens though and when the wind finally subsided and I was able to get off this shot of a goose in the midst of the snow squall.
Towards the end of the day I decided to check out some native brookie streams in another area just to see what I could see in the gin clear water. While walking stream side along one of these 'trickles' I caught movement on one of the steep side hills and was pleasantly surprised to see this nice gobbler strutting. I'm hoping to get some turkey hunting in this spring and this sight only fueled the fire.
To say it was an enjoyable day would be an understatement, even getting caught in the wind and snow brought a smile to my face. I'm in a much better place mentally and spiritually than I was just a month or so ago. It might be cliche but sometimes you really do need to lose everything to find yourself once again.
The trout fishing has been good to me lately but I haven't managed to get a post up yet. Water levels are lower than I ever remember them being this time of year in these parts and it worries me for what the rest of the spring and summer holds. Hopefully the rain gods will smile on us soon. Right now though I need to get some flies tied up as my fly boxes are looking pretty empty. Somewhere up in a mountain stream there is a brook trout just waiting to be caught on a streamer...
Life is good!