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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.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Wild Teaberry in the forest

We took advantage of a beautiful spring day by taking a nice hike in Forest County.  It is so refreshing to see the buds opening up and to see the hills transform from the drab winter brown to a pastel green.  The sounds of spring surrounded us.  As we stood along the trail absorbing the warm rays of the sun we couldn't help but notice the wild teaberry at our feet.  We picked a few and crushed them in our fingertips so we could enjoy that delicious aroma.

Allow us to share Buttermilk Falls with you.

If my rambling makes your eyes heavy let me give you fair warning right now.  SHUT THE PC DOWN AND WALK AWAY IMMEDIATELY!  I say this because this entry will ramble and will use up a lot of space and say very little of any importance to anyone.  In fact, I am tiring as I type away. 

Okay, for those of you that have decided to be kind and bear with me, I thank you.  I would hope that the advance warning will prevent any personal attacks or hate mail sent my way. Here we go!  Are you still there?

Thirty eight years ago on this date I slipped a band of gold on the finger of my best friend and companion for life.  I remember this day like it was yesterday because it happened to be the first day of fishing season and the creeks were perfect and loaded with brookies, brownies and rainbows.  Instead of fishing vests and waders, my best man and I wore suits and no fishing hats.  Instead of holding a fishing pole, I held the hand of the girl that would walk with me through adventures far more numerous than she had ever anticipated.

From that day on I think she became frighteningly aware of the true definition of spontaneity and unplanned adventures.  I say that because after the wedding we took off on our honeymoon with zero plans and never having thought much about where we might go.  This would become our mode of operation and continues to this day as we have proven time and time again that our best times are those with no advance plans, schedules or itineraries. So with no plans we headed down the highway and ended up in Orlando.  Disney World was so much fun.  Sure we spent one night sleeping in a 1970 Mustang in a Rest Area, but that's part of the adventure.  To this day, it is common for us to head down the road and make our decisions at each crossroad.  These trips have yet to disappoint!

So let's briefly look back at 1973.  Richard Nixon was President, I think you remember Tricky Dicky.  Life expectancy was 71.4 years.  Hey now we are expected to live past 78 years.  A gallon of milk was $1.30 and a dozen of eggs was 78 cents.  You could lick a stamp that only cost 8 cents and send that letter across the country.  Now they are shutting down Post Offices.  Median income was a tad over $10K and a new home would set you back $35,000.  I was making $3.10 per hour.  I got the extra 10 cents because I was educated. hehe  When we drove to Florida, a gallon of gas only cost us 39 cents.  We also stayed at a real nice place called the Days Inn which at that time had a big (8) in the sunburst on the lighted sign because you could get a room for $8.00 a night and you could keep the paperback Bible from the room.  Our dining on our honeymoon was at McDonalds and the Waffle House.  We had a great time.

So now that you are bored and confused you may be wondering how the Buttermilk Falls fits into the equation.  Well, allow me to clear the fog and explain that.  Every year on our anniversary we do something special.  One year it was hiking 11 miles on the steepest section of the Appalachian Trail to get to an awesome spot called Pinnacle Rock.  Every year is an adventure and every year was memorable.  This year we decided to visit a beautiful waterfalls just east of Parker Pa.  So you probably wondering where the heck is Parker Pa.  It's just south of Emlenton and then just south of Foxburg.  I can tell you exactly how to get there.  Just drive down the west side of the Allegheny River below Foxburg until you see a bridge that crosses the river.  The bridge is blueish green and tilts upward at about 20 degrees.  It's definitely an uphill bridge.  Once you cross the bridge you need to hang a quick left turn on a dirt road and you'll see Old Glory waving on a nearby rock formation.  It's a cool spot, by the way!  Now you drive under the uphill bridge and then veer left again.  Then you drive past there and pass the old rock quarry.  After that you keep going and then turn right on a road that ends with "willinger" or something like that.  Then you drive a couple miles along there until you see a big pipe spewing nice refreshing water out of a rock wall on your left.  After that you watch for a barnyard with 10 chickens and one real happy rooster on your right. 

Just beyond there you will see a road on your right that "Y's" off next to a plowed field.  I think there was taters planted there!  Turn there and just swerve to avoid the deeper mud holes.  Continue on this road until all resemblance of a road seems to be diminishing.  Look for two deer on the left, although they may have run off.  You are getting close!  As you approach the destination you will see a dead possum on your left which for now is making kind of a neat little pool of water in the ditch.  Isn't nature amazing?  At this point you will need to slip the vehicle into the offroad or 4 wheel drive mode.  Also it's good to remind yourself that a few more scratches in the paint adds character.  Navigate your way down into there and then you'll only have to walk or should I say climb a short ways.  It will be worth it though.  See how easy it was to get here.

Buttermilk Falls is an awesome waterfalls that drops maybe 30 feet in a roaring cascade.  This particular day it was difficult to get a good picture due to the late afternoon sun illuminating the falls and making a balanced time exposure difficult.  I did the best I could but nothing beats being there with the girl you married 38 years ago.  By the way, we've been here several times and always enjoy it.  The last time we were here we had just won 1st Place in the Tandem Kayak Division of the Allegheny/Clarion Valley Classic Kayak Race.  Yup, the adventures continue!

This was taken just below Buttermilk Falls.  Looks like it's washing away my signature!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Never realized these Canadians were so feisty!

Tonight the nasty weather broke for a short time giving us a calm evening with no rain.  Although this break only lasted a couple hours we took advantage of it and converged on a nearby pond in hopes of capturing some images of the resident ducks.  Apparently we weren't as stealthy as we should have been because we kicked out a handful of Woodies before we could even get in camera range.  All was not lost though. 

Typically we don't get too excited about watching Canadian Geese because they are so abundant and usually easy subjects.  Tonight was an exception.  As we watched a pair of mates, suddenly they erupted in a flurry of honking and carrying on.  We weren't sure what was going on until we observed two others circling and looking for a spot to come in for a landing.  They no sooner landed and the other two headed directly at them and the fighting immediately ensued.  We had never witnessed such aggressive fighting among two separate pairs of geese.  The water erupted into an explosive spray and the honking broke the silence of the evening.  They were absolutely doing battle and bit at each other violently until the second pair realized they were outgunned and took to the air.  Apparently the first pair were protecting their nesting area and they were prepared to do whatever necessary to keep others away.  It was absolutely spectacular to watch.

 The battle begins!

 And the fighting continues......

Looks like these two admitted defeat and headed for the sky.  They honked as they went by!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

These Redheads sure are shy!

In our search for all the ducks that inhabit our area we ran across a couple Redheads.  For now, this is the best picture we got but bear with us, this case hasn't been quacked quite yet.  The Redhead is really an awesome duck.  It's a diving duck and can dive up to 30 feet in search of food.  This species of duck will often lay their eggs in other ducks nests.  How's that for a lazy duck!  This picture was taken from quite a distance which is my excuse for a not so good picture.  We're on a mission to get a better picture and will add to this when we get one.  In this picture there are two Male Redheads and one Female.  Oddly enough, the male doesn't quack but the female does.  The male has a sound that is more similar to a cat. The other quacker wouldn't turn his head but we think it's a Male Ringneck Duck.  Quack, quack, quack!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Cascading Beauty

I know what you're thinking about now, "oh no, not another waterfalls".  Please bear with us and we promise to not bore you with another waterfalls for at least a few days or perhaps even a week or two.  Of course I do have my fingers crossed because if we discover another natural falls you can be sure it will end up on this Blog.  After all, it's my Blog! hehehe  Okay, it's your Blog too but you have no say!

Alright, on a more serious note let's once again discuss the topic of waterfalls.  Did you know that waterfalls are classified by types?  There are Cascade, Plunge, Cataract, Horsetail, Sheet, Block and Punchbowl to name a few.  The falls that is shown in the image is a Cascade.  I bet you can figure out why it's classified as a cascade.  This falls also has a name and is known as Pigeon Run Falls not because pigeons run the place but possibly because it's located on Pigeon Run which is not far from Marienville.   It was running quite well on this January afternoon.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Natures handywork never ceases to impress us.

Mother nature certainly has a nice touch when it comes to arranging things for our enjoyment.  In this case an otherwise boring stream was transformed into something extraordinary by plunging 20 feet over a rock ledge.  Basically this location is what is known as a rock city which is incredible enough but the fact that it was turned into a beautiful waterfalls is just amazing.  When one walks down this creek bed from upstream this wonder of nature is so unexpected but so breathtaking.  Give me "5"  Mother Nature! 

This is approximately a 20 foot falls.

So let's chat a bit about this particular waterfalls.  It seems that every waterfalls we photograph has a name.  It's actually kind of interesting how they come to have a name.  Some waterfalls have two or more names which is the case with this one.  The locals that know about this may call it Ludlow Falls but many others may call it Hector Springs.  Over the years we have visited many falls with names such as Three Falls, Freedom Falls, Twin Falls, 2 Silos, Pigeon Falls, Logan Falls, Eternal Flame, Tabletop, Buttermilk and I can go on and on.  Each is unique and beautiful in their own way.  So if anyone asks if we have cool waterfalls around here, you can tell them, "you bet your sweet bippee we do"!

Rainy day waterfalls.

Every one's wish would be to have everyday warm and sunny.  In Pa. that just isn't going to happen and mid April always has some nasty meteorological surprises that unfortunately sometimes pops up on a weekend.  We could sit in the house and complain about it or get out and try to enjoy it.  This particular day the rain rewarded us with some fantastic photo opportunities on an otherwise slow and lazy backwoods stream.  Unfortunately we weren't fully prepared for the all day downpour in that we had no rainsuits.  We did however have two large black garbage bags and after a snip here and there we pulled them down over our heads and stuck our arms thru and we were good to go. 

As we exited the Rubicon we also realized that the tripod was in the truck and not in the Rubicon.  This would add to the challenge with a handheld time exposure.  After picking our way along a treacherous steep side hill we finally arrived at the perfect spot.  With Jeanne holding the umbrella just perfectly the camera would remain dry and I would have a gentle trickle running off the umbrella into my left ear.  I think she did that on purpose but this is the discomfort one must endure for the perfect shot.  All in all I was pleased with the image shot at 1/5 of a second while handheld and a stream flowing thru my left ear.  Hope you like it too.

Woody's in a remote pond.

There are several species of ducks that inhabit our area and each different than the other.  The Woody or Wood Duck is an awesome quacker with brilliant colorful markings.  Even the female sports a small amount of color but not even close to the vibrance that the male possesses.  On this day we were scouting out a very remote pond and these Woody's almost escaped our attention.  Had it not been for the sudden movement of the one male we may not have spotted them but we're sure glad we did.  Hope you enjoy these colorful quackers as much as we did.

A beautiful end to a stormy day.

I don't make it a habit of uploading the same picture to both of my Blogs but I made an exception for this sunset.  On this particular Saturday it rained all day and the wind never let up.  It was what we describe as a miserable day.  We didn't really let it stop us though.  We shot some nice photos of some backwoods waterfalls, as well as some colorful Wood Ducks and of course we capped off the day with this beautiful sunset.  All was not lost!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

So who took the pot of gold?

Okay we didn't end up finding the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  Truth is we probably didn't find it because we didn't find the end of the rainbow.  A rainbow is not a physical object and cannot be physically approached.  It's created by the rays of the sun illuminating droplets of moisture in the atmosphere.  If you are looking at a rainbow the sun will always be at your back.  Some believe that a rainbow is made up of 7 colors (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet).  Truth is the number of colors are countless ranging from red to violet and even beyond what the eye can see. 

Actually the rainbow is a full circle but you can't see it because the earth gets in the way.  The closer it is to sunset the more of the rainbow you will see.  If the sun is high in the sky you will see less of the rainbow.  Rainbows are just another awesome phenomenon  of nature.  This particular rainbow was photographed just a short distance from our home.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Far away from the spoils of man.

Whenever possible we like to mingle with wildlife in a spot in and away from the spoils of man.  In these locations the critters aren't frightened by the sound of a passing vehicle or distracted by a nearby jogger or the bark of a yippy dog.  In these spots they are one with nature.  Unfortunately in these spots you must meet the challenge of blending with nature.  Your clothing must not scream in vibrant color and your movements need to be slow and deliberate.  Moving a short distance has to be calculated and silent, moving only when the animal is facing away from you.  It becomes even more difficult when you are coordinating these movements under the close scrutiny of 4 or 5 Ring Neck Ducks.  They were named this because of the prominent white ring on their bill.  This day we would be trying to photograph 4 males and 1 female. 

On this day we were once again reminded how it is so much more challenging to bag your target with a camera than a shotgun.  The day was good though!  As we jockeyed for a good shot we were serenaded by a symphony of peepers, accompanied by the sound of the ever alert Canadian Geese that shared this pond.  A nearby songbird would join in to add to natures ballad.  As we watched we also couldn't help but notice 2 whitetail deer sneaking through the brush just a hundred yards from our location.  They were aware of our presence but didn't seem bothered by us.

I must say I didn't think this female Ring Neck was all that cute but apparently they thought she was really HOT!

Little duck with a large head.

If you think ducks make for an easy subject to photograph, think again.  They will do their best to stay just out of range to prevent you from getting a good picture.  And they also have an uncanny ability of knowing precisely when you are about to press the shutter.  At this exact second they dive into the depths and who knows where they will surface.  These aren't your typical quackers that just stick their butts in the air while they stick their heads under water.  No sir, these are the diving variety that will go under and swim for a good distance and surface where you least expect it. 

They are smart duckies and know it will take the photographer a moment to swivel the tripod to the new position, compose the picture, set the exposure, get focused and maybe scratch your butt.  At the magic moment that you are ready to press the shutter, they are ready to dive again.  This little game plays out time and time again.  But once in awhile you fool the duck and don't scratch your butt and you get a good picture.

What you are seeing here is a Male Bufflehead.  The Bufflehead gets it's name from it's over sized head.  The early observers thought the head looked like a buffalo.  I'm thinking these early observers puffed a bit too hard on their peace pipe.  I will say they are a cool duck!

The Balance of Nature

The balance of nature typically refers to the theory that ecological systems are usually in a stable equilibrium.  While we do buy into this theory we recently discovered that it may have another meaning.  On a recent balmy afternoon we spent a couple hours trying to get some good images of quackers on a nearby lake.  After spending way too long playing hide and seek with a couple groups of Male Buffleheads we decided they were also tiring of the game and we decided to head home. 

 As we headed down the road we spotted something down in the creek.  To the casual observer it would appear that we were looking at a one legged male Mallard with a twisted neck.  In reality we were seeing the Mallards version of the balance of nature.  It's quite common for a Mallard to actually sleep while balanced on one leg.  We observed this one doing just that for maybe 15 minutes.  They also will turn their neck sharply so as to tuck their bill into their fluffy back feathers.  This little balance act keeps their one foot and their bill nice and toasty.  This particular Mallard was pulling off this stunt while perched on a rock in the middle of a rushing stream.  They do this so they are safer from predators than on land.  They will often sleep with one eye open to keep an eye out for a predator such as this one is doing. 

Can you imagine sleeping like this?  The 1st picture shows him sleeping.  The 2nd shows him seconds after waking up.  The 3rd picture shows him wide awake and moving about.  Ain't nature something!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Black Moshannon Critters

On a recent camping trip to Black Moshannon State Park we encountered some beautiful scenery and tons of wildlife.  Later that night as we sat around the camp fire we reminisced about the great day we had and all the things we saw that day.  Just as we thought the day was winding down this little guy with the mask and ringed tail walked toward the fire to see if we would offer him something to nibble on.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The brilliant colors of Autumn

While looking though our thousands of pictures I ran into this colorful fall picture and thought I'd add it to our Blog.  Hope you like it.

What an awesome bird!!

It seems as though the Eagle population is growing.  We see that as a wonderful thing because it's hard to find a more magnificent bird.  These awesome creatures have incredible eyesight and can spot and identify their next meal from a mile away.  They are very good swimmers but are prone to hypothermia in very cold water so they do avoid a winter swim for their next meal.  Did you know that Eagles can fly to an elevation of 10,000 feet.  While some of them migrate others remain here for the winter.  Eagles mate for life.  Bet you didn't know their wingspan ranges from 72 to 90 inches.

We got very luck on this day and were able to paddle very close to where this majestic bird was perched in a tree scanning for his next meal.. Luckily he felt we were a bit too much to grab in his talons.

We can never have enough of waterfalls

There's loads of things in nature that we look on with fondness and high on that list is waterfalls.  We have many more waterfalls in our area than what people seem to realize.  Some may require a bit of a hike while others are just a stones throw from a road.  Each waterfalls has its own uniqueness and it's own charm.  We like them all and continue to look for new ones.

 This is a beautiful falls that has the final drop of approximately 25-30 feet.  The two criss cross logs are distracting but have been there many years.

 This required a nice 3 or 4 mile hike but was so worth it.  There was a bonus here because not a hundred yards away is an even larger falls that is at least 30 foot tall.  This particular falls is tall but cascades over multi levels as opposed to one long drop.

This is another awesome Quehanna waterfalls that most people are not aware of.

Freedom Falls

Lot's of noise along the Clarion

The Clarion River has so much to offer to all outdoor enthusiasts.  The river itself is so picturesque and as you paddle around each corner you are treated to natures splendor.  Aside from the scenery, there are loads of Gods creatures that make the river their home.  This particular day as we paddled along we would hit certain sections of the river that were particularly noisy.  At first we weren't sure where the noise was coming from so we paddled closer to the banks to investigate.  We quickly realized that all the noise was coming from frogs and I mean lot's of frogs.  We observed them for quite some time as they would fill their neck up with air and then let it all out which results in quite the loud noise.  Now imagine about 50 frogs doing this pretty much continually.  It was really cool to witness this firsthand.

Monday, April 4, 2011

A beautiful day for a hike and observing wildlife!

It's sad to say but so many people either don't realize how beautiful our area is or they just take it for granted.  We take nothing for granted and use every available opportunity to be out there exploring and enjoying all that nature has to offer.  We have explored so many backwoods nooks and crannies and have spent countless hours bumming around because we have this fear that we might be missing something awesome.  Quite honestly that is what keeps our wheels turning.  Without fail,  everytime we are out and about we discover something so fascinating that it drives us to keep exploring.  Certainly we find the animals quite fascinating but even aside from the wildlife, there is so much to see and admire. 

As you look at the pictures below, try to imagine what it is like when you are seeing these things and feeling and hearing nature as it surrounds you.  Perhaps while you are watching a small group of deer there are snowbirds singing away as they fly from branch to branch.  Picture watching a flock of turkey as a Pileated Woodpecker loudly drums away on a hollow beech tree.  The sound is amazing to hear and almost unbelieveable to think that it is the result of a small bird pecking away in search of a little snack. 

For a moment picture a Bobcat running full speed across in front of you as a flock of crows make all kinds of racket overhead.  We find it easier to picture because that pretty much described our Sunday afternoon hike.  Unfortunately the Bobcat was quicker than my camera and the turkey pictures were not as vivid as our memories.  But we captured the moments in our mind and the memories will stay with us for a long time.
Such is life in the beautiful place we get to call home.

This is 2D and he is a bull to keep an eye on this year and hopefully for years to come.

Nice kiln close to Dewey Rd intersection

The love between man and his loyal friend is precious.

Male and female Common Meganser

And we even saw several whitetails.

New and old growth.  This big fella reminds us of Fred. 

Just watch me eat and grow.

See why he reminds us of Fred.  We'd love to find these sheds but they are apparently pretty tightly attached yet.

And we saw a few elk!

While sad to see it is a true testament to the resilience of wildlife.

We think this was a birth defect rather than an injury.