[ 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.]
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.