Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Opossum Lake

We had met Robert and Ellen on several previous trips.  They had been caretakers for the Western Village campground, him in maintenance, and her in housekeeping.  They had both retired since our last visit, and were now permanent residents of the next campsite.  We would frequently see them out early to walk their dog.  One morning Robert asked what I planned to do with the canoe on top of the truck.  After a short explanation about our thwarted trip, he suggested I just go out to Opossum Lake and paddle about just to get on the water.  He said there was no way he could give me directions, but after breakfast, he could take me out there.
 A map of the old country Pennsylvania roads looks like a bunch of worms thrown on a saucer.  Even with his local knowledge, although it had been some time since he had last been out there, we made several attempts at reaching the lake, which was only six miles away.  It appeared there were at least four ways of getting there.  Finally, we ran into a detour, but Robert thought he knew how to get around it.  He did, although we drove 15 miles to get back on the main road.  It is a nice lake.  It is small, but has enough headwater fingers to make it interesting.  Also, given it is so close to the commercialization of Carlisle and Harrisburg, it has a surprising amount of wildlife.  Camping is not allowed.  Still, I got on the water and did some paddling.

A training paddle for some ducklings on Opossum Lake.
After lunch, I decided to use my newly acquired knowledge to drive back to the lake, decide on the best route before I began to forget all the turns, and draw myself a map.  This became interesting, and is another testimonial to how confusing some of the back roads can become.  In spite of the campground having been here for a half-century, when word started to get out that I had a map and directions for finding the park and lake, I became the local expert and spent several evenings redrawing and writing directions for Opossum Lake.

Mom rejoins the class.

The next morning, I decided to return to Opossum Lake for another paddle.  Fitted with my notes and map, I had hopes of a simple, foolproof six-mile drive.  Then I started seeing flashing red and blue lights, lots of them.  Some kid had flipped his car onto its roof right in the middle of an intersection.  It totally blocked the two primary roads for getting into the surrounding countryside.  I was sure I could find a way around the accident with some local help.  At one point I even pulled into a driveway and knocked on the door to ask a woman for directions.  She called her husband, and the three of us stood there on their front porch discussion possible routes.  I did get to the lake, but it was yet another 15-mile detour, and no, not the same detour from the day before.

No comments:

Post a Comment