Thursday, August 7, 2008

Penn's Creek

Olympic material it ain't, but what fun!

This past weekend, Jack and I went to Penn’s Creek, PA for a quick, weekend getaway. His parent’s own a rustic cottage on Buttonwood Lane, equipped with all the boonies' essentials—kayaks, paddles, a canoe, fishing rods, a tackle box and an outdoor shower. The cottage is right on Penn’s Creek and has a wooden dock (which Jack and his father built), as well as a screened-in porch that is easily the size of my living room.

Anyway, enough back story. We decided to make the drive to Penn’s Creek on Friday, after my dinner “date” with Natasha and Monica at Tsunami in Baltimore’s Little Italy. Around 10 p.m., stuffed full on cosmos, sushi and a side of cow, I hopped in the car with Jack and we were off.

Somewhere between York and Harrisburg, I fell asleep in the passenger seat. When I woke up, we were lost. Not too lost, but lost enough to cause some bickering. A couple corrective measures later and we were on the right path again. Then, about 10 miles from our destination, we encountered detour signs as a bridge was out. Trustingly, we followed the detour signs, only to be led down a dark, long, windy road past farm land and more farm land....and, well…more farm land. When the gas light came on, we decided to head back to civilization to find a gas station. As I filled the tank, Jack found out from the cashier that there was a much easier way around the bridge. Sometime around 1 a.m. we finally arrived at the cottage.

The next morning, around 8 a.m., we were awoken by roaring thunder and pouring rain—music to our ears! The heavy rain meant that the creek would be high-enough for some kayaking. We went into town for a nice country breakfast and then did some fishing. Jack caught a small large-mouth bass that he threw back. No more nibbles, until a larger something-or-other stole two lures. At this point we went to the beer distributor in preparation for our triathlon.

A case of Magic Hat and a cooler of ice later, we were ready for our adventure. Except…woops…no attachments for my roof rack! We worked it out though, stuffed one kayak in the trunk and tied the other one directly to the rack.

We drove a mile and a half upstream to a public access point and put in there. Once on the water, we cracked our beers and meandered down the lazy creek. I know what your thinking…”beer and water sports don’t mix.” To that, I say this: There are serious paddling creeks and beer drinking creeks; Penn’s Creek is the latter. There is no white water and the water depth is 3 feet or less.

The water in Penn's Creek appears to be relatively healthy, despite all the farm runoff. Aquatic plants bloomed below the surface of the water which was pretty clear. We heard the banjo-like croak of bull frogs and saw blue herons, a turkey vulture, water skimmers (which have always creeped me out), guppies, Monarch butterflies and a colorful orgy of dragon flies.

The trip was short and sweet…however long it takes to down for two people to down a 12-pack. Once we got back to the cottage, Jack fished some more but caught nothing. Finally, sobered-up and getting hungry for dinner, we walked back to the car, thus completing our triathlon.

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