Where we live: Exploring Pa.’s waters
One of the things I love about the Carbon-Monroe county region are the lakes. I love to go kayaking.
I love sitting down in close to the water where I can run my hands through the ripples. I love paddling up near the edge of the water and seeing little fish in the shallow areas, turtles sunning themselves on a log, deer slowly lacing through the brush and occasionally a bald eagle flying overhead. Lake kayaking is home to me.
Our state parks offer some wonderful outdoor experiences, as well as county parks. I’ve been to Gouldsboro, Tobyhanna and Beltzville, as well as Mauch Chunk Lake Park, Minsi Lake Wilderness Area near Bangor, Lake Nockamixon near Quakertown and Merrill Creek Reservoir in New Jersey. Each has something a little different to offer and new shoreline to explore.
It was fun to coast through the lily pads at Gouldsboro State Park. My first encounter with those had been at Black Moshannon State Park, where the water is as black as the darkest tea.
At Tobyhanna, blueberry bushes grew so close to the water that you could row up next to them and pick the berries.
But one of my favorite spots is Beltzville Lake. My family put in the water at the second boat ramp.
We paddled down to the right the whole way up to a waterfall. There, we parked our kayaks, got out and walked the rest of the way, because there were too many rocks to get any closer.
Although currently drained for dam repairs, Minsi Lake is small, but a nice place to sit out in the middle, pull your feet up out of the boat and talk to a friend in the sunshine.
I’m not much for river kayaking, but I have been on a few. I have gone down the Delaware River from Marshalls Creek to Easton and the Lehigh River from Allentown to South Bethlehem. I’ve also gone down the Clarion River that runs through Cook Forest State Park in western Pennsylvania, but I haven’t gone on the Schuylkill yet. Maybe someday.
Pennsylvania is a beautiful state. If you’ve tapped out all of the Pocono lakes, I recommend going westward.
Prince Gallitzin State Park is a great place to camp and a nice lake for motorboats and kayaking.
North of Interstate 80 along I-79 is Pymatuning State Park, where the lake is so big it lies in two states. It’s beautiful, but I recommend sticking fairly close to shore.
The water is deep and the winds can really whip up some waves in the more open waters.
Pymatuning is also where I learned to roll a kayak. The park had a class on how to get out and back in a kayak from the water. Fantastic experience! Conquering the “what if” also conquers the fear.
While you’re out that way, I recommend going a little further north to Lake Erie. The inlets through Presque Isle, which jets out into the Great Lake, are pleasant and peaceful, a real stress buster.
Wherever you are this summer, get out on a lake. You might find a new pastime.