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!
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!
I hope you enjoyed my brief but spectacular vacation. Have a great weekend and I will see you all back here on Monday!