Sunday, April 27, 2014

Canoeing the Sugar Creek

Saturday we took our canoe out for its maiden voyage. Here is the canoe loaded up on the car carrier, which worked nicely.

We left one car at the Arthurs (near 400S) and drove up to the S&H Campground on 100N near Philadelphia. The campground was a convenient location, with easy access and parking. Joy and Laney pose at the start of the adventure.

Laney seemed a lot more comfortable in the canoe.  She got in much easier.  That's not to say that she is perfect in the canoe; she still has no concept of balancing the canoe.  We saw several deer, numerous squirrels, and many Canada Geese, Mallards, and Wood Ducks, all garnering Laney's attention.

The water levels were great, we only had to get out and drag the canoe over shallow riffles a couple times.  The biggest obstacle, though, were log jams.  There were at least six times we had to get out and carry the canoe around an obstruction.  Our route was 6.3 miles, so about once per mile.  The first one was the longest, being maybe a hundred yards.  In the photo below is the old Pennsy railroad bridge.

We got fairly accomplished at working our canoe through tight spots, anything to avoid portaging.  There were many trees that had fallen across the creek, leaving just enough gap to get the canoe through.  Joy decided that it was better to just lay back in the canoe rather than trying to step over them.

Overall, the creek was very scenic, especially for Hancock County.  Wood Ducks were everywhere.  Solitary Sandpipers worked the sandbars and banks.  We even saw a Green Heron, some Wild Turkeys, and a Prothonotary Warbler.

The biggest man-made obstacle was the farm north of US40, which had strung fencing across the creek on the upstream and downstream borders.  Luckily, we were able to squeeze through.

There were a couple of islands in the Sugar Creek closer to New Pal.  Here we had a small portage, where the stream had split into three channels.  The day was gorgeous, the water wasn't too cold, and it was fun to explore.  I look forward to exploring more in the future.

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