By Beth Kaszuba
From quiet lakes to bubbling creeks and, of course, the Susquehanna River, our region is filled with bodies of water waiting to be explored.
And just because the air is getting cooler doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy healthy activities in and near the water. In fact, fall is a great time to view the foliage while paddling, fishing or even splashing around — in waders or waterproof hiking boots, of course.
So gather the family and visit one of the following local watering holes, any of which are sure to be a hit.
Teach a person to fish
Along with luring you outside for some healthy activity, fishing has the added bonus of (hopefully) providing you with dinner at the end of the day. And with about 85,000 miles of streams and rivers, not to mention about 4,000 lakes and ponds, Pennsylvania is a great place to cast for your supper.
If you’ve never tried fishing before, or you’re not sure about the rules and regulations, don’t worry. Help is available from the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission. Along with maintaining a comprehensive website with everything from state laws to conditions on local waterways, there are links to classes on topics such as introductory fly fishing for women, family fishing — even ice fishing. Check it all out at FishAndBoat.com/fish/FishingFundamentals.
Watch a waterfall
If you’re not comfortable dipping a toe (or a boat) in the water, you can still enjoy our amazing network of waterways by foot. Fall is an especially good time to hike to the many waterfalls that dot the landscape. The trails are a bit cooler, possibly quieter and the vibrant foliage frames the scenes.
If you’re looking for an easy hike, try Dry Run Falls in the Loyalsock State Forest or Nay Aug Falls in Scranton. The trails at Rickett’s Glen are more challenging, but you’ll be rewarded with falls as high as nearly 100 feet. And if you hike in Hickory Run State Park, in Carbon County, you’ll find waterfalls and Boulder Field, a national natural landmark.
Whichever way you choose to enjoy the water, follow safety rules and state laws, and be sure to wear a lifejacket, if you’re boating. Then get out there and make the most of one of our best natural resources.
Go up the creek (with a paddle)
One of the best things about kayaking and canoeing? You can tailor the activity to your fitness level by choosing the type of water and the amount of time you spend paddling.
Prefer opportunities to coast and relax? Go with the current down the Susquehanna, Lehigh or Delaware rivers or in a deep creek, like Penn’s Creek in central Pennsylvania. If you need to rent a kayak, lots of outfitters are available to help you plan a route, drop you off and pick you up — even provide instruction or guide you, if that’s your preference.For more of a physical challenge, visit one of the many state parks that offer kayak and canoe rentals for paddling in lakes, where your muscles provide all the momentum. Good choices in our area include Bald Eagle, Poe Valley and Locust Lake. Search “where to boat state parks map” for a full listing of parks with boating options.
And if you’re looking for an adrenaline rush, our region also features some white water. Novices can join trips hosted by outfitters in Jim Thorpe and Weatherly. For more information, visit StepOutside.org.