Saturday, July 12, 2008

5 July 2008 Elk County

It was supposed to be hot so we left the dogs hanging around the house and headed for Elk on our own. We spent the early part if the day in Elk State Park and the Army Corps East Branch area. Early in the year the 60-year-old dam was found to be seeping. It’s a big reservoir covering about 1200 acres and fairly deep so a breach could be ugly. While the dam is being assessed, there has been a big draw down of water behind the dam (the reservoir is down to about 900 acres). None of the boats ramps are really operational, but it doesn’t stop boaters from dropping big powerboats in to use the remaining water. Interesting, but if you go to the Army Corp site, they will say the draw down is to accommodate downstream water needs. Hmmm… I missed the drought in PA this year. If you go to the DCNR site for Elk State Park, they say the dam is seeping and the water has been drawn down.

The cache at the army corp end of the reservoir was outstanding. It was a nice walk across the dam and though the woods with a stop for photos at an osprey nest. Toss in some bluebirds on the walk back and a chance to meet cachers we had never met before, and it was a great time.

We also stopped at Bendigo State Park for a cache. It was a nice walk on an old railroad grade with wildflowers everywhere. We hoped to stay on the grade and reach another cache through the back door, but it would have required crossing the East Branch of the Clarion River which was a little fast for my liking. I almost fell in the swamp, but got merely really muddy. On the way back from Bendigo Cache, a black bear joined the trail about 50 yards in front of us. Luckily, he turned off quickly and made from the East Branch. The Clarion River and its branches are a peaceful site to see. The county is really scenic.

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