Headwaters Cycle

[ A forthcoming series, the Headwaters Cycle, is intended to be a casual guide and introduction to the whys and wherefores of my rivertop region. As always, please click on the photos for a larger image.]

One recent morning, while half the family was still asleep, I took a quick spin through the rivertop, reflecting on the place where I’ve rooted.

I started at the waterfall in front of the house, a natural feature of the place that helped us decide, 30 years ago, that here we would live. I moved past the “rec room,” our front yard fire-circle, now in its bare bones autumn phase. I flashed on yet another Allegheny River trout, November-caught and placed back in the flow. The Allegheny (in PA) and the Genesee (PA & NY) are a couple of my homewaters.

I thought about nearby Trapping Brook, in the Genesee drainage, future site of a Trout Unlimited project to enhance wild brook trout habitat. I looked back at Wileyville Creek, near Whitesville, and cursed a bulldozer that had entered the trout stream to push around the creek bed and the bank on which we’d planted trees to hold the soil in place. Nearby is a Cryder Creek tributary that I call First Brook. Last spring I found a leaking and forgotten oil well spilling into this trout brook.


I reported the problem to the state DEC. Several months later the clean-up became an EPA project that’s been recently completed. All my life I’ve been a streamwalker. Monitoring the waterways is modestly rewarding, giving something back to nature in return for the good provided, but I brace myself for the possibility of startling finds.

Recalling a recent visit to Naples Creek in the Finger Lakes District, I said howdy to some small brown and rainbow trout, and saw my friend Ed L. appear from the hiking trail along the bank. Ed and I spoke about the outdoor life, and I told him of the native trout habitat improvement project that I led on upper Spring Mills Creek. That project took a year of planning but it worked out well for wildlife and for landowners downstream of the site.

Circling through the yard, I paused to consider the Franklin springhouse– source of all the coffee brewed inside the main house– and a personal life-line to be appreciated. It’s located on the woolly divide between the Susquehanna and the Genesee watersheds in New York.


About rivertoprambles

Welcome to Rivertop Rambles. This is my blog about the headwaters country-far afield or close to home. I've been a fly-fisher, birder, and naturalist for most of my adult life. I've also written poetry and natural history books for thirty years. In Rambles I will mostly reflect on the backcountry of my Allegheny foothills in the northern tier of Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York State. Sometimes I'll write about the wilderness in distant states, or of the wild places in the human soul. Other times I'll just reflect on the domestic life outdoors. In any case, I hope you enjoy. Let's ramble!
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2 Responses to Headwaters Cycle

  1. Alan says:

    Just started reading, and it’s well done.

  2. Thanks Alan, stop in anytime. Walt

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