Perfect day for some forest exploring. Bright sunshine and temps in the mid-60s makes for great hiking weather. Our first stop was the Kinzua Dam visitor center where a very nice older gentleman was more than happy to recommend some hiking trails and chat with us about our travels. Turns out he lives just a few miles from our campground and he and his wife come over to walk the trails daily. He reminisced about the days when Buckaloons campground was nothing but primitive sites along the river bank and seemed very pleased with how the park has evolved over the years. Now most of the sites have electric hookups and they recently built a new, very nice, restroom and bath house. He kept referring to us as “you kids” and I think would have talked with us all day if another family hadn’t walked in the door.
The Kinzua Dam was constructed in the early 1960s as a method of flood control for the area. This massive structure not only protects the nearby towns from flood waters, but it also provides hydroelectric power and has created the state’s largest body of water; the Allegheny Reservoir, sometimes called Kinzua Lake. The reservoir is huge, 24 miles long, and when full covers an area of 21,000 acres! The water in the reservoir is deep blue and very pristine. Phineas took long swim and Tim would have joined him except there was a brisk wind blowing and we didn’t have any towels with us.
We drove up to an overlook called Jakes Rocks and had lunch at the picnic area. We tried to take some pictures of us up there but the sun was at a funny angle and the wind was blowing us all over the place. I had to share this one though. Tim’s face is in the shade and my hair is looking kind of wild from the wind, but I love this photo for the expression on Phin’s face. Too funny:)
Next we headed over to Kinzua beach for a hike up to Rimrock overlook. It was a fairly easy 1.3 mile hike up through the forest to a rocky outcropping that overlooked the reservoir.
At the very top of the trail we encountered a set of rock stairs carved into the side of a cliff. The stairs squeezed their way between two cliffs before depositing you out onto some wide flat rocks.
After our hike we wanted to take a different route back to the campground off of the main road. The map of the area we got from the visitor’s center showed a few roads that appeared to cross through the forest and over to where we are staying. After a couple of turnarounds and a bit of confusion we figured out that the roads on the map labeled “Forest Roads” are actually rather narrow dirt roads that snake through the forest and are primarily used as access for oil and gas wells. We’re from Vermont though, and dirt roads- even skinny dirt roads- don’t intimidate us!
Back at the campground we relaxed out on the patio for a bit before it got too chilly and we retreated into the warmth of the airstream for the night.
We’ve decided to extend our stay here for an extra night because we like it so much. Tons to explore in this area. On Wednesday we’ll head a few hours south to the Pennwood Airstream Park where they have full hookups so we can catch up on some laundry and enjoy long hot showers!