Monday, December 6, 2010

Leaving Valley Forge (Day 4)

DAY 4, Updated on Day 5
Temperature Unknown  

(Note: I had a mishap with the thermometer, but due to the ice in the bottom of the canoe, I do know the air temperature was freezing overnight.)

I first want to make a few corrections from previous entry.  It was Black Rock dam, not Flat Rock, and there I was able to slip down a spillway on river left. I also realized there was a paragraph I didn't even finish, so now I did (I must have seen something shiny that distracted me). This is typically a one-time thing for me, no proofreading occurs, just firing up the stuff and putting it out there. Excuse any errors!

My chariot awaits!
Now, remember I was very nervous about my canoe at Valley Forge, and would it even be where I left it? Well, it was, phewww (hand across brow).  I also got picked up right on time, and by one wonderful Officer Leland Barker.

It turns out Officer Barker is a Slippery Rock grad with a degree in Park and Resource Management. My daughter graduated from Slippery Rock a year ago, and as a recent graduate, he was sure he knew her. 

I then proceeded to ask him the curious father type questions like, "Just how well did you know my daughter there, sonny?"  all the while sharpening the attached knife on my PFD (just kidding). He is a dedicated young man paying his dues untill a full-time opportunity arises, like many others who protect and serve our national treasures. I wish him the best of luck!  

I had some miles and also needed to stage where I had a signal for the possibility of a 2 o'clock conference call into a meeting I was missing. I thought I would 'WOW' them with that little video clip, and as Mary indicated, BIG KUDOS to the Hawk Mountain Sanctuary Board of Directors. They have been very supportive from the beginning and are a great group of folks!

So that explains the video clip, but no Internet connection that day at Hawk Mountain--what are the chances??!!!

So I moved on. Above is Norristown Dam and the fish ladder structures seen here and Black Rock dam, built in 2008 and 2005 respectively. American Shad once thrived in the Schuylkill River but when Fairmount Dam was built in 1820 they no longer could migrate upstream to spawn.  Shad are an anadromous species, which means they spend most of their lives at sea, but need fresh water to spawn. There has been some great progress in making the Schuylkill River accessible my the mighty shad runs of yesteryear.
This is me portaging around Norristown Dam, my first real carry! It takes me three trips that are manageable. I am happy that I do not have the rest of the gear I will need to make it to Cape May. As mentioned previously, the boat is getting heavier as I get older.

Now, remember your last family function, and the need to set the timer and rush into the picture??? Try this with a canoe on your head!

Above are some photos showing off my "Techy Hardware." You can see in the top photo all the stuff that makes this work: laptop, smart phone, other phone, and to the left in the sand, the SPOT locator. In the lower photo is my Nikon camera, as seen in the reflection.

Below Black Rock was the first set of rapids I encountered including a route that could have been considered Class III. I ran it safe by taking a cheat route. I dropped down river right, then angled upstream and ferried across the more serious drop and came down river left. I then eddied out behind this boulder outcrop to photograph both sides.

Remember, a good number of these photographs you are viewing are shot from the canoe. Sometimes that involves some creative positioning with paddle in one hand and camera in the other.

No comments: