As I shared on Monday, I did not take my usual number of photos on this visit to Presque Isle in Erie.
But the lack of images does not diminish the memories…at all. Rather, I think, the lack of photos has sharpened my memories because I spent my time looking all around me, not through the lens of my iPhone.
We stayed at a new Airbnb… and it was a big improvement! Cleaner…updated…with all appliances in working order! Ha! I know, but having a working oven was nice… it meant I could make a frozen pizza…and at the end of a long day of walking around Presque Isle it made for a easy-peasy dinner. It was lovely…and in the back yard was a cemetery. We even had a couple of sunset views from the back yard!
Last June marked the centennial of Presque Isle State Park and it was so much fun to see the gallery of images from the last 100 years at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center. We were fortunate to visit on a day with little traffic and a park ranger spent some time talking with us…and I learned something I did not know! In 1966 there was a UFO *and alien* sighting at Presque Isle… and the U.S. Air Force investigators came to…well investigate. The ranger said it was perhaps the most curious bit of history connected with the park. Of course I took a picture and sent it off to Sam (Sam and I have a running Alien Dialog) and he thought perhaps the aliens might have been gathering water, lol! But maybe that is why Lake Erie is the shallowest of the Great Lakes! Haha!
UFO and alien sighting…oh my!
We spent the better portion of a day hiking out and back from Gull Point. It is still a sanctuary for shore birds and terns and it is a trek, the downed trees make the going… challenging… but once you get out to the point it is just spectacular. We were a bit early for Piping Plovers, Ruddy Turnstones, and Sanderlings. But we saw Caspian Terns, Fosters Terns, Common Terns, and – of course – lots of those raucous Killdeers!
Over the course of the 9 days we were there, I saw 19 new birds… it was really kind of awesome. And really thanks to the Merlin App, hearing a new bird… and then knowing what to look for helped me to find them more easily in the trees, which were thankfully still bare! Perhaps the best birding though was all the Osprey watching! There are two nesting pairs on the peninsula this year and we saw them almost every day. We even saw them fishing, which was truly spectacular to see! If you have never seen an Osprey fishing, once they have caught the fish they position the the fish head first… streamlining it to make flying easier! It is a fun sight to watch and they are really such magnificent birds!
The weather was cold (and so windy) but I am not upset by that at all. We took advantage of the colder weather to hike in the woods almost without fear of deer ticks…most days it was chilly with a brisk wind (thank goodness for hand knits! ha!) and we hiked so many new areas. A fun trek was the historic trail from the lighthouse to the bay – about 2.5 miles long round trip – and it has a lovely but narrow sidewalk. It was the way the lighthouse keeper and his family got from the lighthouse to the bay where there was a ferry to Erie. The trail now runs along a pond which I am not certain was there when the sidewalk was built but it was one of our easier days of trekking! For such a small space, okay 3,200 acres really isn’t that small, but the terrain is so diverse and we still have not seen all of it! After reading Gathering Moss, I was amazed at how much moss and lichen we saw…everywhere! We also saw lots of evidence of beavers, but never saw one though I looked for them fervently! We were not sure what happened to all the birch trees, but over the winter they all have lost their branches. It was really quite eerie to see.
But perhaps the best thing of all about Presque Isle is what it does to time…it makes it stand still. Really. We would look at our watches and be shocked at how much time had passed although the hours spent there coupled with all the miles we walked say we spent a good chunk of each day there!
Dramatic skies, wild winds, and a spectacular place to wander in made for the best get away. If you live in Western PA… you should head to Erie and visit Presque Isle. It does not disappoint!
On my way to Gull Point!
I hope you enjoyed my brief but spectacular vacation. Have a great weekend and I will see you all back here on Monday!
“Most of the dandelions had changed from suns into moons.”
― Vladimir Nabokov
For a long month, May seemed over before it began! Likewise… holy cow it seems like all we did was drink! (Perhaps that is why the month flew by? lol)
Anyways… there were some good things this month! Like so many sunny days, blooming iris, and unfurling leaves! AND… there were so many not.too.hot days to be outside enjoying the weather!
Always there are things I could have done better, which include doing more spinning during the month. I barely sat at my wheel in May, aside from that photo to start the month. I hope to remedy that and find some inspiration to sit and spin some in what remains of this month.
There you have my May memories. What about you? What stood out for you in May?
The start of April seemed to go unbelievably slowly – inching by at a snails pace. And there were so many days with snow! Gah, crazy I tell you!
I am dividing the month’s look back to Home and Away. One was obviously better than the other, but boy… both were good…different, but good.
First up… Home:
April absolutely fooled us with a snowy start. But Spring fought back and I attended and out-of-doors Easter Service and loved it! We got our Second Jabs done AND had our first outside Happy Hour of the year! Woo! And, speaking of outside eating! The patio opened at Spoonwood Brewery and we went! I also finished a very woolly sweater that I got a good bit of use out of in April…sigh. But, I was so happy that I had it! (Hint… I did not do a very good job on packing for Erie…I forgot a winter coat because my brain was apparently switched off)
Presque Isle…take me AWAY:
Traveling with an aging pet is a challenge – Sherman hates stairs, but he really hates unfamiliar stairs. We have found a place we like… and while it costs a little more than most places in Erie, it is all one level and it has a fenced in yard! And it is less than 2 miles from Presque Isle (and it is right around the corner from the BEST Mexican restaurant! Haha!) So a little more money to rent, but it really works for us. However!! It has ONE rug in the entire house… not good for my aging pup! So we brought Sherman’s Super Highway of Rugs so he could get off that one rug, lol. Oh, and we brought his “cozy blanket” because when you are professional napper you need a good cozy blanket! Hahaha (and yes… you do see a little sweeper in that last photo… Pug owners the world over know that if you go someplace, you need to be able to clean up after your beloved little Super Shedder!
I think the photos speak for themselves… we were outside all.the.time. In all.the.weathers! (only with a Lopapeysa for warmth…silly me!) One thing that Spring does well are skies and boy were they glorious! We got moody and broody skies, white wispy clouds in light blue skies, and not a cloud in sight deep blue skies! And I even channeled Vera a bit with those turtles on the log!
We stopped at the Tom Ridge Environmental Center on our first day there and a Presque Isle Conservation Officer told us about some “less traveled” walks that we would have never found on our own… they are less traveled for a reason! We made good use of these new found trails!
Yes, there was snow. But it was just so incredibly beautiful I could not even be upset about it. It did not last, but wow was it gorgeous! I think that even the plethora of diving ducks on Presque Isle Bay liked it!
I even saw a freighter and quickly texted my daughter to find out where Christian was! (He was not on that boat, but that is exactly like the boat he works on!)
All photos were taken with my iPhone but I was really wishing I had my “big camera” to get some photos of all the birds we saw! There were so many… and so many (more than two dozen!!) NEW to me birds. I have seen them in bird books, but never in the wild! We also watched members of the Erie Bird Observatory banding migratory birds! Watched… as in stood at the table and watched them weigh, measure, record, and band birds. It was so fun!
I worried we would not have a day that we could hike out to Gull Point but the weather and the wind cooperated so we could! The trails are underwater, so you have to traverse along the beach – so if there are strong westerly winds you need hip waders to get out to the point. It was an excellent trek! We saw Bald Eagles, Ospreys, and Common and Caspian Terns!
I will leave you with a wee bit of video so that you can see how Lake Erie can go from wild to calm… and it is beautiful in every stage!
I will be back here on Wednesday for some Unraveling!
It is the seam between winter and spring—though seam suggests an even hem, and March is more like a rough line of stitches sewn by an unsteady hand, swinging wildly between January gusts and June greens. You don’t know what you’ll find, until you step outside.
― V. E. Schwab, The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue
This quote from Addie LaRue describes exactly the March I had. A rough line of stitches sewn by an unsteady hand perfectly recounts the days of the month. One would be hard pressed to sew a straight line with the wild winds that March brought! (I know because I attempted a bit of sewing on the pergola cover that the wind has wreaked havoc with!)
In March I jumped on the Costco Tulip Bandwagon and thoroughly enjoyed their brief, but spectacular display! I also got my first COVID-19 vaccination (dose two happens today!) which means I am one step closer to seeing family that I have so desperately missed. Though there is no photo as my daughter does not want photos shared online, Olivia reached the 6 month old milestone. Thankfully, I do get sometimes permissions from Heidi to share Vivi and Winston… and this month’s Winston just made me laugh! Those curled up toes. That hat! (Bald headed babies are just the best, yes?) I have been enlisted to do some hat sewing, which I hope to get to this week!
I enjoyed seeing the movement of the sunrise as it inched its way up from the back corner of my yard heading to its summer rising point.
Despite winter wanting to cling on a bit, the signs of spring kept gaining ground.
And that was March… I hope your March had some high points! See you all back here on Wednesday for some unraveling!
But February made me shiver… — Don Mclean, American Pie
As I put this look back together Don Mclean’s song kept echoing in my head. A melancholy song for a melancholy month… a month of some hard emotional lifting. A month that the weather, miraculously, matched my mood.
But as I look back, I see glimmers of hope… increasing daylight, a gift of flowers that remind me how very much I am loved, a brilliant young poet who speaks to my heart, not one but two finished objects, and a wee doggy who is simply the best companion – especially on the hard days. Oh, and the snowdrops closed out the month, gently reminding me that these melancholy days are not permanent.
The first month of the year,
A perfect time to start all over again,
Changing energies and deserting old moods,
New beginnings, new attitudes”
― Charmaine J Forde
Charmaine Forde seemed to know exactly what I was trying to achieve in January. Starting over, changing, deserting old moods, new beginnings, and yes, new attitudes!
I confess these were not easy tasks…they were easier to write than they were to do. It was a month that brought changes though. My son moved to Wisconsin…all on his own. (okay one friend helped him pack up the truck and unload it…but still, no help from me outside of “distant encouragement and a sympathetic ear”) I am trying to wrap my head around how I will manage this change into seeing kids this year…my hopes are that we can all travel to one place and gather together. I am really not wanting to even just “plan something only in my head” because if that did not happen, I think it would be the end of what’s left of my sanity.
January had me thinking lots about a new start with my word – release. Lots of thinking…new beginnings for certain and wondering about deserting some old things… moods, feelings, pain. Hard work that won’t happen over night so I instead worked on releasing things…a closet clean out, a yarn clean out, a project clean out. Gosh, those all felt so good! Progress sometimes needs space to happen. So I started making some space to do that work!
Less photos this month, and that felt very good too!
We had diverse temperatures from some warm days to some bitterly cold ones, and we got some snow! Spinning and knitting and an AC Aurora! And the best bit… Madam Vice President!!
Happy Monday everyone! See you all back here on Wednesday!