Tuesday June 21 and Wednesday June 22, 2016 Most Recent Posts:
Shawnee State Park The Bridges of Bedford County and Defying Gravity
Schellsburg, Pennsylvania There’s the Good New and Then There’s the Bad News
Having been to Shawnee before, I’m aware of all the trails and my favorite is the one around the lake so that’s what we do. We start where the white star is and follow the red line all along the edge of the lake, over the dam, around the other side past the beach and boat launch area and back across the bridge which divides the 3 sections of the lake.
You can see the campground in the lower left of the map. Our site is in Loop F on the side closest to the turnpike which seems much closer than it looks in this picture. It’s all down hill to the lake so if you bike, be prepared for a STIFF uphill.
The trail starts in the picnic area and the first wildlife of the day is a flock of 30 canada geese. I know what 6 geese can do, they are the original food processors, in one end and immediately out the other. Thirty could easily make this picnic ground a place you don’t want to walk though.
It’s a stretch to call this a trail since it is a hard packed surface that is wide enough for a truck or mowing machine to drive on. But it is also handicapped accessible which is good.
Looks like it is day lily time here. They are all along the edges of the trail
The black raspberries have started to ripen and I know what that means. David will take 10 steps and stop to pick every ripe berry. Repeat. He gave me the first handful. Isn’t he sweet?
Different stop. He ate them all
Also blooming are the rosa ragosa. I’m not much of a wasp lover since they seem to always want to fly into my hair but with the decimation of the honey bees, I have to be thankful for every pollinator I see.
The lake is surrounded by the hills of western Pennsylvania.
The 3983 acre park was once a farm and the beautiful barn is visible from across the lake. The farmhouse is hidden in the trees. The farmhouse is now called the Lodge and is open for rental. The barn has been converted into offices. What a paradise this must have been for the family(s) who lived here.
There are several picnic tables along the lake if you want to hike in and away from the picnic grounds.
As we cross the dam we see our second wildlife of the day, one we know very well from his unwillingness to share our farm vegetable garden with us. A groundhog can eat 200 feet of beans down to the nubs in an amazingly short amount of time. Needless to say he is not my favorite of nature’s creatures. But he’s got a huge home base here that’s for sure. Not sure what he’s doing in the rocks at the base of the dam.
When we come to the “beach” we find more people than we’ve seen in the park anywhere. We also find a fence between the beach and the water. Seems strange.
But then we see the posted sign. Yes, for sure the geese could ruin this beach.
A large group of kids is playing kick ball with a beach ball and having a great time.
We walk up onto the bridge and find that the wind is strong and the breeze cold. Looking out over the lake from there we see two kayakers headed with the wind. Not sure how far they are going but it will be a seriously stiff paddle back.
Our last wildlife sighting is that group again, they’ve moved into another field. Their droppings are green so you can’t see them in the grass but we definitely saw them crossing the bridge.
We head back to the campsite to start our pack up. Rain is predicted all day long for tomorrow on nearly all of our 200 mile route to Allegany State Park. I really do hate moving in the rain. If we didn’t have reservations, I might just see if I could extend for a day and cut Allegany short by one. At this time of year, the only problem with just winging it for campsites which I would MUCH prefer to do, is that week-ends are booked solid. It’s easy to get a campsite during the week, but then what on the week-end?
And therefore, on Thursday we move 200 miles north to Allegany State Park. We are thrilled to find that the rain which has come down pretty strongly all night long, stops at about just before we are set to leave. Still we are very glad we packed everything up yesterday so it isn’t all wet for packing. We can’t check in to Allegany until 3pm so we have a leisurely breakfast and leave about 9:00.
Becasue of the dolly, I am driving Ruby and she needs gas so I stop at the Quick Stop on our way out of town and pay $2.539 per gallon. Quite a change from the $1.989 I paid in Virginia. Winnona is luckier, she has a much bigger tank and can get all the way to a Pilot Station about 60 miles from New York where gas is $2.359. Still a big jump from Virginia.
As at Shawnee, there is no one at the campground check in booth but unlike Shawnee there are also no maps or information for take away. After studying the posted map we proceed to our site #127 and this is what we find. Not sure you can tell from the picture becasue my camera has a wide angle lens but the drive way is steeply sloped as are most here in the campground in the hills, but the pad at the top is large enough for a pop up camper and that’s about it. How in the world do they think a 35’ motorhome will get in here? Another reason it pays to wing it, you can check out the sites and choose one.
So now what do we do? The only sign of life we passed since entering the park besides some folks headed toward some trails was at the Camp Store about 3 miles back. When we ask there, they tell us to check the “rental office” across the road where at least from the outside also shows no sign of life. We assumed that the “rental office” would be for the numerous cabins and cabin loops we saw signs for on our way in. But it turns out it is for renting eveyrthing including campsites. We tell them our tale of woe and they inform us that because we will be here 5 nights and tomorrow is Friday night they have only one campsite still available. They assure us it is long enough and “fairly” level. BUT it will cost us another $10 because it has 50 amp electric service which we don’t need.
So here we are in site 28 in a big field. It’s lovely today and will no doubt be lovely tomorrow until the crowds show up to fill in all the spaces. Sure hope the weather is not going to be hot and sunny or Winnona will be an oven. At least we have electricity for AC if that happens but we have to take on water and there is no cell service and we can’t get any internet signal here. We aren’t off the grid but we sure are out of touch. This post is brought to you by the city of Salamanca 20 miles from the campground where we had to go for groceries.
There are two campgrounds in Allegany. The Red House area, closest to the town of Salamanca, has 132 campsites, 32 of which are 40’ long but if I read their map correclty only 7 of those have electricity and there are only 42 electric sites in the entire campground. The Quaker area where we are has 164 campsites and I’d say the majority are not big rig friendly. They seem to have steep driveways up to a “relatively” flat spot of varying sizes at the top. Perhaps originally designed for tenters.
You can see our original campsite 127 enclosed in a red box on the middle right of the map. Our current campsite has the red heart on the left. The large field is in the middle of our current loop. The campsites on the outer edges of these two loops are in the woods as are all the other campsites in the campground. Only about half the campsites in the campground have electric and none have water. All of the sites in our loop have 50 amp electric.
Should you want to come camping in the 65,000 acre Allegany state park and you choose to come to the Quaker area, here are a few campsites I like better than either of the ones we booked. All of these have 50 amp electric except for the last one which has 30 amp. There are many sites large enough for big rigs in the loop we are in now in the field. They all have gravel driveways, 50 amp electric and plenty of open skies for a satellite dish if you have one.
These two sites are plenty big as you can tell by the rigs and the number of cars. They are also the only paved sites I see.
Site 98 doesn’t have a steep drive and looks fairly level in the back. A bigger rig might have a bit of a leveling problem.
Reserve America, which admittedly was nuts in saying a 35’ rig could set up in #127, says this site, #54 is 41 feet long. If that’s true, I’d love to try Winnona here since it’s the only one by the stream. It’s just off the main road into the loops which isn’t so neat but sitting by the water – priceless. That’s the stream behind the picnic table. There’s a great spot for a reading chair. All that said, it is very unlikely that we will return to Allegany as it is just a stop on our way to Niagara Falls.
Tomorrow we’ll take a look around this 65,000 park, the largest of the New York State Parks. It’s a BIG state park. We will be driving through it and stopping along the way as we go into Salamanca for groceries. There aren’t many of the park’s hikes or other amenities you can get to on foot, they are too far away. You can bike but it is a seriously hilly area so you need to be in great shape for it or be 20 years old.