Made three phone calls to Tionesta area for information. Got none to speak of. On the fourth call to Eagle Rock Motel, I got better info than usual. The lady said that they were releasing water from the lake and all water levels were generally high.Ice has gone out from the waterways, but shorelines are still iced in. A low of 16 degrees is expected through the weekend with a high of 29 degrees. They had rain Tuesday and Wednesday. Wow! How come she is so well informed especially about the shoreline ice? I inquired about that. It turns out that they have a canoe rental business here also. Great news! A good contact. A very good contact. Remember Eagle Rock Motel if you are in the area. Cancel this weekends run as not much is melting at those temperatures. Too far to go for only one days paddling at the cost of gas.
The first creek I plan to check on this next venture is Big Run. Found this on the AWA listing. On the topo map it appears to be three miles long and is two lines wide, making it wider than 20 feet, more like 30. The reports seem to say boaters run one big drop. This is the remains of an old dam by an amusement park. Another reported that they run the drop, then quickly exit the area before being caught by the property owner. This is not good. There is no mention of running the whole three miles to the Shenango River. This "Run"(not called a creek) is north of Sharon, near Greenville by the Ohio state line. Checked the AWA list again and found a "disclaimer" on it. Looks like a problem place.
This is the only creek out there that I plan to do that is two lines wide. Wondered how I missed that the first time around? Got to thinking about that detail, and suddenly remembered that two areas in Pennsylvania are flat in topography and elevation interval lines are graded at ten feet, not twenty. Check the maps again. Sure enough-the elevatons are at ten foot intervals!So, the creek appears to be much narower.( I had posted contour line width determinations in an earlier blog) This might mean that it is too narrow to run degree IV water. I know first hand that a lot of the creeks out there have steep near vertical banks of mud, so portage may be non existant if surf space is not available around fallen trees. All of this is factored into whether a place is a valid canoeable claim or a one time shot at a tight creek where the person who claimed it will not go again.
Wednesday, March 30th. All conditions sound favorable for this weekend. The plan is to leave home Friday afternoon and drive to West Middlesex for a Super Eight Motel. Saturday morning, first place to go will be Big Run. I suspect that this will be another listing like Little Scrubgrass Creek. After checking road mileage to Greenville and determining that we have day light until 7:20PM, I changed the plan. I should be able to scout Big Run late Friday afternoon-evening. If it is runnable, I will be ready for Saturday morning. If not passable, I can continue east towards Franklin for a motel to be closer to Saturdays activities. This would be best use of time as it would move up the whole agenda.
I read in the paper that fish season starts this weekend. Oh damn it! I thought this opened in mid April, but apparently it has been moved up. Phoned Marsh Creek State Park to find out if this was state-wide, or only the south east part of the state. Park official says it does not open in the north until mid April. Great news! Now I have a time frame to complete these last places before the descending hords of rod wavers.
Water conditions should be good as rain has been falling all across the western part of the state. Snow is predicted mainly in the eastern half of the state for Friday. April can be unpredictable. I am up at 5:30AM Friday morning and it is snowing like hell in Morgantown. Good God! Take the lose tarp off of the MC and drive to work. Wow! Gas went up ten cents a gallon last night. Arrive at work to see parking lot covered. Am hoping that it will change to rain. I usually wrap the MC in a tarp for wet travel. It is exposed to rain being sucked up into its parts which may make it hard to start. The sides of my two previous MCs were very open to the elements, but this one has pannels enclosing its parts. I am hoping for the best.
Put a long handle steel shovel and a snow shovel in bed of truck. Took out the cord wood which I might need for washed out roads. I'll take that chance. Most roads may have been graded by now if used at all. This was a last minute decision. I have tire chains, a come-a-long, and two cables if needed.
Since Tionesta Lake has been lowered, that might mean mud or ice piles when exiting on the shoreline. Could experience this same condition on Kinzua Lake. Decide to take a sheet of plywood 14 inches wide by 36 inches long with two 16 penny nails through it. Will carry this in the canoe incase of thick soft mud. I expect to drive the canoe in fast onto the mud, walk forward in the center of the boat, lay the plywood out on the mud,and then step out onto it. The nails should keep it from sliding while I pull the canoe forward. If neccessary I can get back in and repeat the process until reaching firm banks. If the lake has re-iced, I must look for a shoreline path where that has happened.
Had topped the gas off in the chain saw. May need that if a fallen tree blocks a forest road. I am sitting at work posting this in my log book, while watching heavy snow falling. My final run on a PA creek was in 4 inches of snow on April 1st, 2000. (read it in my book). I am hoping for the best. The "closed" sign in my shop window says that I will re-open Thursday next week. I want plenty of time to get these creeks in before fish season. A total of nine creeks will be checked on this venture. Only one remains after that. It is in Moosic, PA., the northeast part of the state.
I am out of here at 12:00 noon, Friday,April 1st. Leave home; arrive at Greenville at 6:30PM. Drive west on Rt.358 to Maysville to check the first bridge. Just as I suspected. There is not enough watershed above this point to keep the creek watered.It is a flash stream- up briefly, but not passable 24 hours after rain. Took pictures to back up my assessment. From here I drove south to Rt.846 bridge. More of the same condition. Took pictures. Continued downstream to the third bridge which is Coal Hill Road- S.R.4002. From this point it is a little under three miles by creek to the river. It is not good here either, so I take more pictures. I'm out of here. Head east to Greenville. Got some pictures of railroad equipment in town. Bessemer and Lake Erie R.R. ran through here. Continued east to Franklin and checked into a Super Eight Motel. Found a public phone at K-mart. Very few of these phones around anymore. People keep telling me to buy a $40.00 cell phone a Walmart. I have trouble hearing on cell phones so I use an amplifier on a reciever. Study my maps for tomorrow. -Bill