Thursday (6/9) to Wednesday (6/15):
We drove north from Harrisburg PA after getting the Duchess out of the shop to Bald Eagle State Park. The valley, creek, mountain and state park are named for the American Indian chief Woapalanne, (wopo lonnie) which means “bald eagle”. There are occasional sighting of bald eagles in the park, but you are more likely to see one of the number of osprey that nest every year around the park. The COE built a 100 foot high dam called Foster Joseph Sayers Dam in 1969 on the creek and the park opened in 1971. Foster Joseph Sayers was from the area and won the Congressional Medal of Honor for displaying gallantry above and beyond the call of duty in combat on November 12, 1944 near Thionville, France.
We were assigned to Site 2 in the non-pet loop of the campground. This campground has one loop for campers with pets and another loop for those without. This is the first campground we have every been in with this type of division among the sites. The site was a little tight to get into (a back-in) but we were able to manage. We were definitely the biggest rig in the park.
We had full hookups but only 30 amp electric. This meant that we could only run one air conditioner at a time and had to watch which electric devices (especially anything that produces heat) were on at the same time. Luckily the temperature were mild at night (a couple of nights in the 40’s) and most of the days the temps stayed in the 70’s. We had a great AT&T wireless signal in the park since there was a tower near the entrance to the park.
Sunday we travelled about 25 miles to State College PA. This is the home of Penn State University and is also known as Happy Valley. We visited the campus of the university, went through the Palmer Museum and toured the Penn State Arboretum. The weather was great and we enjoyed the day.
Most of the time we were in the park we went hiking, biking and kayaking. The lake is 1.730 acres and sits in the valley flanked by the Bald Eagle Mountains. There are a number of trails inside the park of various length along with a marina & beach. The have built a Nature Inn Lodge in this park: a facility with a few rooms that overlook the lake. This is the first one in the Pennsylvania state park system and its success will determine whether or not they built them in other parks. One day we biked around the community of Howard which is on the other side of the lake from the campground. It is a small town with a number of Victorian style houses.
On Tuesday we rode our bikes to the top of the road that ends at the Nature Inn Lodge.. Very nice facility with a great view of the lake.
One day on the lake it was windy and we had to work consistently paddling to keep the kayak going straight. The next day was calm and the lake looked like glass on top. Much easier in the kayak when the conditions are this way.
It was a very relaxing few days at Bald Eagle. We met a couple from Pennsylvania who started full timing about 6 months ago (John & Jean). They are in a 20 foot Lance travel trailer pulled by a diesel RAM pickup with a lockable top on the bed of the pickup for storage. Very tight quarters but it does allow them to get in almost any campground in the country. We also met both of the campground hosts who are from Pennsylvania and both couples are just working the month of June at the park.