Vacation 2009 (Mt. Pocono, PA)

Kate, I, my sister, my parents, and my mother’s twin sister and my uncle, all spent a four day weekend at gated community off of 196, not too far from Tobyhana and Mt Pocono. [Note: As I write this, while reclining on the couch, I'm simply too lazy to look up the name of the development.] The house was adjacent to state game lands and Tobyhanna State Park. Wildlife was abundant. I’ve never seen so many deer at one time/place.  I’d see 5-8 at at a time while driving around. As my father and I were exiting the development one day, we saw a doe on someone’s front lawn. A woman was trying to get to her car but the doe just wasn’t interested in removing itself from the path between the woman and her car. She must’ve been upset by the idea of being that close to a mammal that large, and not being able to get to her car, so she threw something at it. The deer just looked at her, cocked its head, and started walking towards her. She shut the door in frustration.

Kate and I came across this while initially finding our way to the rental house.

My father, uncle, and I skipped the shallow lake in the center of the rental community and drove a few miles to Tobyhanna State Park. We spent one day fishing along the shore of 170 acre Tobyhanna Lake. [Note: mapquest.com labels it Trout Lake.] The word Tobyhanna derives from an Native American term meaning ”a stream whose banks are filled with alder [birch].” Birch improves soil fertility and is a pioneer species which paves the way for other species. It also apparently turns nearby bodies of water into weed infested black water swamps. I’ve never seen water as dark as it was in this lake and I assume it has something to do with chemistry relating to the numerous surrounding birch trees.

My father caught what he said was the smallest fish he ever caught. I believe him. We each had a few catches on the day we fished on the shore but they were all absurdy small, with the possible exception of the very small rock bass my father caught. On the second day when my father and I took a rental boat out, we found out what the rental guy meant when he said, “So you know this is basically a swamp?” The water is fairly consistent at about 2-4 feet and filled with a whole lot of weeds. I expected some large mouth bass or maybe even a chain pickerel or similar (lake trout!) but we came up with nothing while fishing from the boat.

This angle makes someone’s catch look half way respectable.

This is shot is a closer approximation of reality. This is the first catch I’ve made all summer that I wasn’t able to throw back – due to complications from hook. I really haven’t been able to figure out what species it is. It simply looks like a generic fish. Like, if you looked up fish in the dictionary — this is what they would show you. After I could see it wasn’t going to swim away I kept it in a cooler and used for bait while on a failed attempt to catch something from the center of a lake on a boat. Surface lures and worms didn’t work either.

We all had a good time and kept ourselves busy with nature stuff. We all ate well, thanks to my mother’s cooking. Also, dinner to celebrate my sister’s birthday at a nearby steakhouse kept us all well fed. Between the fishing and dodging of deer, Kate and I managed to go for a ride to check out the area. We expected a lot of kitchy tourist oriented shops, and boutiques in the surrounding area but didn’t find much. There’s a large influx of NYC based land owners and renters/vacation-seekers, but not too many places to spend money. The upstart casinos in the area are hoping to change that.

Kate and I rolled out pretty early this morning. By 4pm I found myself on a trail at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum. By 6pm I was fishing in Darby Creek, stationed near a canoe launch between a capped landfill, a Super Fund site, and the largest freshwater marsh in Pennsylvania. Details to follow.

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