About Me

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We are known as PaWingers or just The Wingers by our Geocaching friends. When we found our first cache we had to come up with a name to log the find. We came up with this name simply because of residing in Pa. and because one of our many passions is cruising this beautiful country on our Honda Goldwing. Aside from geocaching we are passionate about most anything outdoors including hiking, kayaking, snowmobiling and biking. We are blessed beyond words with a wonderful son and daughter in law. We're also blessed with some terriffic family and friends. We consider ourselves very fortunate due to the fact that after being married over 40 years we still enjoy these things together.

Monday, March 28, 2011

--In Memory of our friend George Lockey--

                                -----Enjoying All That Nature Offers-----
Several months ago I decided it would be nice to start our own Blog.  This is something I had never done before but I dove in head first.  I am pleased to say that I’m so glad I did this because it has been so rewarding.  Through my Blog I have made friends with many fantastic people.  Some I still have yet to meet but through our frequent communication I feel I know them very well and look forward to someday meeting them.

I’m not real certain why I decided to name my Blog, “Enjoying All That Nature Offers” but I didn’t lay awake night after night trying to come up with some catchy title.  Pretty much it was because we do enjoy all that nature offers.  As I make this entry into my Blog today it becomes perfectly clear that the title carries more meaning than I had ever intended.

So what is this all leading up to you are probably wondering.  Well, I will get to that shortly.  Up to this point, all my posts have been pertaining to wildlife, nature and outdoor activities.  This post will be a bit off topic and it’s something that I have labored over more than you can imagine.  But this is something that I decided I wanted and needed to do and after all it’s my Blog so I’m going for it.  And to be perfectly honest, it has a lot to do with nature.

This post is about our dear friend George (George Lockey).  I know many that read this will not know him and please believe me when I say you missed out big time.  We were blessed with having him as a friend.  George was taken from us in March of 2010 on the banks of the Red Moshannon after crossing the finish line of the Red Mo Downriver Race.  I will never forget this tragic day as long as I live and I replay it in my mind over and over and over. 

This past weekend would be the first time I will have raced since that tragic day.  I vowed to race the Red Mo Downriver race in 2011 in honor of George.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I needed to race the same river again for selfish reasons.  I hoped so strongly that it would help me to sort things out in my head.  I did it to remember and maybe connect with my friend.  It did help me a lot but stirred up a ton of emotions.  When I paddled past the island where I last spoke to him I found myself smiling.  The smile was from remembering his silly grin and fantastic sense of humor.  Oh what a prankster he was!  Minutes later as I paddled along, the smile turned to tears which quickly froze to my cheeks from the 20 degree temps.  I actually welcomed the spray from the rapids hitting me in the face to wash away the tears and snap me back to reality.  So George, I raced this year for you and also for me.  Thank you for smiling down on me and keeping me safe.  I know you were right with me and enjoying the ride.

George Lockey was an amazing man.  He was a loving husband, father and son..  He was a very proud grandfather and spoke often of his grand daughter.  To many of us he was a dear friend and a constant source of inspiration.  He was a retired fire fighter from DC.  He was also an amateur photographer with an incredible love of the outdoors.  Nature meant so much to George and he spent countless hours building and improving trails in the Quehanna Wild Area.  Without question I can say that George enjoyed all that nature offered.  So you see how this all connects to my Blog.

All of us that have come to know and love George have found ourselves with a void that seems impossible to fill.  The hurt is sometimes almost unbearable but yet we do move forward as George would have wanted.  Losing him was horrible but never having got to know him would have been such a loss for all of us.  One day we will see him again.

I won’t go into all the details of that awful day but sometime after his passing I was asked to write a story for the United States Canoe Association.  This story would tell about George’s life and what happened on that tragic day.  If you request, I will e-mail you that story but won’t go into it on this Blog.

Below are a few pictures of our friend George.  These are pictures of how I like to remember George.  What a fantastic smile he had!!  We will never forget you my dear friend.
George was a lover of the outdoors.

As you can see, he was such a character.  He was so proud of that flag made out of my underwear.

Before the 2009  Red Mo  Downriver Race.
Check out that smile and positive attitude!

This was taken at the staging area for the 2010 Red Mo Downriver Race.  Is this the picture of contentment or what.  This is how George lived his life.  He lived a life that many only dream of living.  Perhaps someday we will accept that it was his time.

It's so hard to believe a year has passed.  Paddle hard my friend, we will see you at the finish line!!

Friday, March 25, 2011

This evening offered pleasant surprises!

Wildlife photography sure has a way of testing the patience of the person behind the camera.  It is so different and much more challenging than portrait, scenery and other still life.  Critters seem to know when you are about to press the shutter.  They also seem to know when you are changing lenses, adjusting your tripod, changing settings or trying for a better position.  I don't even want to think about how many times I was looking thru the viewfinder and seconds away from pressing the shutter release when the the subject of the photo exited the scene.  They seem to tease you into waiting for a little better pose or a little better position and then they make their move.  I don't know how they do it but they do have a knack of spoiling the perfect shot.  On the other hand that challenge does add to the fun.  I do have to say that tonight one Pileated Woodpecker decided he kinda wanted his picture taken and I obliged.  This guy found a spot at the base of a tree that apparently offered some real tasty grub and he seemed unaware of us watching him. I have tried for years to get good pictures of a Pileated Woodpecker and finally luck was on my side.  This alone made it a great evening.  The Pileated Woodpecker is the largest Woodpecker in North America.  It's call is very similar to a wild laugh.  They have a brilliant red head which is hard to miss.  Thank you Mr Woodpecker for a great evening.

They sure seem to be enjoying this quiet time.

Tonight was a real treat because we saw loads of deer.  In this photo, the one seemed to be on guard while the other one munched away.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Odocoileus virginianus

Okay so rarely do we hear someone refer to this beautiful critter as a Odocoileus virginianus.  Come to think of it I never hear of the White Tailed Deer being called the Odocoileus virginianus.  We usually just call it a deer!  This cute whitetail is sporting it's beautiful summer coat which is much more red in color and quite a bit shorter and thinner.  We took this photo because of the flowered foreground and background.  Oh yeah, and we also thought the Odocoileus virginianus was really photogenic.

He's a spiny little rodent.

This big Porky was trying to catch some ZZZ's but we told him to open his eyes while we snapped a few photo's.  I called him a rodent in the title because a Porcupine is actually a rodent.  They are considered nocturnal but we've seen them out and about many times in the daytime.  This big fella didn't seem to be too intimidated by our presence but we still kept our distance.  Many people are ill informed in that they think a Porky can actually fling their quills.  While this is untrue, one thing is for certain, these quills are extremely pointed and sharp and can really cause some major problems for a nosey dog that gets too close.  Yes, they are a rodent and yes, they can cause some pain but you gotta admit, they have a cute face. 

Monday, March 21, 2011

Rock Run Falls

Beauty certainly abounds in our little corner of the world.  We are blessed with countless trails in our area but unfortunately not everyone can enjoy them either due to physical constraints or possibly just a lack of motivation.  If the latter is the case that is such a pity because they are missing out on so much.  It's very understandable that the physical constraints prevent many from hiking the trails but thankfully there is so much beauty that can be enjoyed by driving down our many back roads and highways. 

Okay enough rambling already.  It should be pretty apparent that we have an attraction to backwoods waterfalls.  So many times we have hiked along a small mountain stream in search of the perfect surprise where Mother Nature flicked her magic wand. She placed a rock here and a rock there and she stacked boulder after boulder and then ran a mountain stream right down the center of it to produce a backwoods waterfalls.  We enjoy the splendor of these places more than words can describe.  There is no better way to feel completely embraced in the arms of Mother Nature.

I believe I'm rambling again.  So where is this waterfalls you may ask and does it have a name.  It's actually along the Bucktail Path which is a 33 mile trail from Sizerville to Sinnemahoning.  But before you have a coronary, relax, you don't have to hike all 33 miles.  If you do your homework you can enjoy these falls with just a nice afternoon hike.  As far as the name, we don't know if there is an official name but we and many others refer to it as Rock Run Falls.  It's an awesome place and a very enjoyable hike.

This falls is real nice but the picture doesn't do it justice.  I shot this photo with an inexpensive point and shoot and the makeshift tripod was a boulder.

Everyone loves fuzzy little bunny wabbits!

Every once in awhile we find baby rabbits in our yard.  There isn't a cuter critter than a baby bunny.  While we don't make it a habit to pick them up and carry them around, this particular bunny was in harms way and we decided to help him out of a jam.  While some people think that the mother will always reject a bunny that was handled by humans, that really isn't a fact.  They may be wary of the scent but they will still care for the young bunny.  Last year I was very tempted to hold a baby raccoon but the mommy made it clear that she would chew my arm off.  I heeded the warning!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Eternal Flame Falls

In an earlier post I stated that every falls has something that makes it unique and special.  So you might ask what is so special about this waterfalls?  To begin with it is a major falls with at least a 40 foot drop.  To access this place you need to hike into a pretty deep and treacherous gorge.  Once you arrive at the base of the falls, the reward is obvious.  Not only is it an awesome waterfalls but what makes it especially unusual is the Eternal Flame that burns back behind the falls.  There is a fissure in the rocks where natural gas seeps out and supports a steady flame.  Once in awhile the water will extinguish the flame but it's fairly simple to relight it.  Is this awesome or what!!!

The flame is clearly visible to the far right of us.

Three Falls

This is our favorite waterfalls and will always have a special place in our hearts thanks to a very dear friend.  There are so many reasons that this is so special.  The biggest reason is because of the dear friend that brought us to this place.  We miss him terribly and will never forget him.  This waterfalls takes some effort to get to.  First you must drive approximately 7 miles back off of the Quehanna Hwy.  After negotiating 7 miles of back road you begin your downhill hike of approximately 2 miles.  This also means 2 miles uphill on your return trip.  Rattlesnakes also think this is a real nice area.  As you hike to the falls and also when you arrive you will feel like you are in a tropical rain forest.  It's absolutely amazing!  This waterfalls is 3-4 tiers and the top tier is high enough to allow walking behind the falls and looking out thru the falling water.  If you visit this, take a lunch and enjoy it down by the falls.  We call this 3 Falls but it's also known as Round Island Falls.  This is truly one of nature's masterpieces.

We sure loved this waterfalls

This is a beautiful waterfalls in Sproul State Forest.   To enjoy this fantastic spot you park on Rte 144 and take a short hike of maybe 4 miles round trip on a decent trail.  It's a 2 tier falls with a height of about 10-15 feet of drop.  The backdrop for this waterfalls is lush foilage in an unspoiled forest.

Logan Falls

There are numerous beautiful backwoods waterfalls in the surrounding area.  Each one is so different and unique that it's difficult to pick a favorite.  I will be showcasing these beautiful places over the next few entries.

© T Dorsey Imagery

Out and about on a sunny March day.

While it's true the air was cold and the wind still had a way of sending shivers down your spine, the sun was out and so were we.  Hmmm, where do we go today?  Well, our plan was to first do our weekly check on the Heron Rookery, then end up high on a mountain to catch the first glimpse as the Super Moon makes it's first debut in 18 years.  While both of these happenings are quite cool it wasn't enough for us.  The sun was up and as usual we would squeeze every bit of enjoyment out of this day just as we try to do every day.  We spent an hour shooting images of the Herons coming and going as they got food and did repairs on their nests.  We probably observed 15-20 Herons at this location. 

Next, we were on to a local Amish area.   We shot photos of two giant workhorses as they tilled the soil in preparation for the spring planting.  We watched a couple Amish children playing nearby as their father tended to the buggies.  We sat and watched several young Amish boys and young men at a huge bonfire as they toiled to clean out a nearby barn. Right down the road from this we watched three young calves, most likely only a few days old, as they tried to stand on their new wobbly legs. 

Perhaps a half hour later we struggled to get in position to photograph a colorful male Ringneck as he made every attempt to make that task more difficult.  He achieved his goal but we still enjoyed the moment.  Some people may say, that sounds boring, but not for us.  We cherish every action packed second.

Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that we took a few minutes to sit between the rails of an active railway to get an image that I had higher hopes for but hey, we still like it and that's what matters. 

Next we were on our way to Benezette to capture a few hundred more images of the local elk herd.  Yeah, like we need more images to pack our hard drive to the brim.  We actually didn't take many pictures this day   but we watched for nearly a half hour as several young bull sparred, locked horns and played chase as they fought for control of a nearby salt lick.  These young bulls were quite entertaining!

Next on the agenda was to find a spot high on a mountain to catch the first look at the Super Moon.  We sat for probably an hour in hopes of catching some good images.  Directly to our backs was the last glowing rays from a beautiful sunset.  Overhead was a darkening sky.  In front of us we could see for maybe ten miles to a breathtaking horizon.  What's not to love about the mountains and scenery we have here in Pa!  As we sat there we got the first look which appeared as a large red ball of fire beginning to emerge.  Within minutes it emerged in it's entirety interrupted only by a thin dark cloud that gave it the appearance of a ring such as the rings of Saturn.  It climbed into the sky so quickly that keeping it full frame required constant adjustments of the tripod.  We took tons of pictures, deleted nearly a ton but ended up with some that were pleasing to us and we hope they are pleasing to you.  We hope you enjoy these latest additions to our Blog.  We sure enjoyed our day but then again, we always do!!


  Yes, there are crater on the surface of the moon!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Testing the 100-400mm f/4-5.6 L

We took a little ride tonight with the intention of testing a new lens at the various focal lengths.  We basically were looking for any subject that would be a good test to check sharpness through the range of the zoom.  The local elk seemed to be eager to be the subjects of our tests.  As I set up to do my testing I spotted old blue eyes.  I wish this cow was just related to Frank Sinatra but sadly is blind in one eye.  We were happy to see that she came through the winter and appears to be strong and in good health.  Not only is she blind but the eye is bulging quite noticeably.

I've never thought about calling an elk "smug"  but this young cow is definitely "smug".

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Not sure if these are Bulls or Bullies!

We saw over a hundred elk today but pretty much accepted we weren't going to be photographing any big bulls this day.  This was fine because of the large number of elk we observed.  Let's just say that all changed as we headed toward home.  We ran into a group of 7 large bulls all of which wanted to flex their muscles and show off their size and power.  We saw countless sparring and antler locking.  We did determine one thing for certain, those racks aren't ready to drop just yet.  As I was looking through the viewfinder I was amazed to see this one big fella rise up on his hind legs just as I pressed the shutter.  This show of power seemed to scare the other fella and he backed down from the fight.  We never tire of observing these majestic animals.

At Walker Gardens vibrant colors abound!

This was our first visit to Walker Gardens and we sure weren't disappointed.  This place is alive with color.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Quack, quack, quack!

We took a ride to Warren today to check out the new Allegheny Outfitters outdoor store.  The store was fantastic and we couldn't pass up a couple cool items.  We couldn't believe how high the river was.  Part of the new waterfront was actually under water.  The current was so swift that even the ducks were hesitant to get too far from dry ground.  Poor things thought we had some food for them.

Allegheny Outfitters new store in Warren Pa.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

To delete or not to delete, that is the question!

I would suppose I'm not too different from other amateur nature photographers in that I'm my own worst critic.  I take loads of images and when I look at them the delete button is never far from my fingertips.  As you scan through the images one's too dark, one's too light, this one is not composed very well and that one is crooked and I can go on and on.  Sometimes you just plain screw up and have the wrong lens on or the wrong settings or the animal or the weather wouldn't cooperate.  Hey, I have a million excuses.  Okay occasionally even a blind squirrel finds an acorn and I get some shots that even I think are pretty decent.

The picture below is an image I took on a cold, miserable and rainy March afternoon.  As I was setting up for the shot I noticed that the fog that was rolling in front of the tunnel would change in intensity so I waited until it was low and heavy and snapped the shot. Of course when I got home and looked at the image I immediately shot it over to the recycle bin.  For some strange reason I restored it to my album and opened it up in PhotoShop and did some fooling around with it.  The end result was something that I sorta' liked and it no longer made me want to throw up in my mouth.  Hope you enjoy it!  This is the old tunnel in Sabula.