I’m on a Boat!

We’ve got more than just elk viewing!

Well, I was. On Saturday morning-ish. The husband and I have not been putting our kayaks to good use in the past 5-9 years (roughly). So, with great weather in the forecast, we decided to take a tour of the Bennett’s Branch of the Sinnemahonig Creek.

I originally wanted to start behind the Benezette store and head to the bridge by the Driftwood Saloon. The husband and I thought this was a great idea. However, my sister-in-law (SIL) and the little niece decided they were going to join us. They were hesitant about such a long trip. Upon further research, we realized it was a 9 hour paddle. So, we took a shorter trip.

Less than 10 minutes into our trip, we saw a small elk herd on the side of the creek. Imagine our excitement to see a bull with non-typical antler growth. This guy’s antlers grew straight out! I’ve heard of him (Bullwinkle) and a bull that is supposedly his father (Handlebars).

Some online research tells me that Non-typical antler growth can be caused by genetics, hormone levels or injury – so the thought that this guy is the progeny of another straight out antlers bull isn’t out of the question!

On Friday night while we were out for an evening cruise, a bear ran across the road in front of us, and right up an apple tree. We were shocked to see him there again on Saturday night. This time, he had a friend (a raccoon)!

To round out our weekend full of wildlife – we had a nice little elk crew in the yard on Sunday morning. It was a great weekend and they’re just going to keep getting better. I’m certain I heard two bugles (the husband says not), and with Elk Expo coming up this weekend, that means it’s almost Fall, ya’ll!

Workin’ for a Livin’

Spring has sprung in Benezette and our cabin will be ready to rent soon!

It was recently brought to my attention that our marketing department (yeah, that’s me. sigh.) has been slacking on keeping you updated on our sweet Benezette cabin progress!

Some of the progress we’ve made is unsexy, so to speak. For example, the husband installed the water pump system and hot water heater. It’s a couple metal cylinders jammed in a closet. I didn’t think that’d be the kind of thing you were into.

There have been some AWESOME things though! The trim looks incredible, the bathroom title is amazing. The kitchen is ready for appliances and the counters look great and were easy to install. Check it out!

I haven’t gotten any great elk photos lately, but they’ve been around the neighborhood quite a bit. I was digging through the camera and found a few photos from March that I didn’t get to share with you (seriously, I don’t know where March went. It’s almost May!)

We’ve seen a lot of birds, including turkey and a woodpecker! The apple trees are starting to blossom too! We’re picking up 6 more trees tomorrow, so they’ll be planted this weekend!

Winter White

All Fall long we rave about the elk viewing and the bugling and the bulls…oh my!  But the truth is that elk viewing in Benezette is far more impressive in the winter months than any other time of year.  In the winter the elk gather in large herds in sunny fields to catch some rays.

The Internet tells me that they also move to ‘the low ground’ for protection from the wind.  We have, however, seen large herds (we’re talking 100 elk at a time here people!) all over Benezette in the colder months.

With the crazy weather we’ve had already this year, it seems the herds are starting early.  I’ve seen pictures on Facebook and Instagram showing more than 100 elk gathered up in Benezette already!  Plus!  I’ve seen them myself a few times already this year!

I went back through some old pictures and found a few with big groups.

I’ll share as many pictures as I can in the coming weeks. In the meantime, check out this video from a few weeks ago!  The husband caught bugling and elk digging for yummy grass below this early layer of snow!


Let’s Review the Tape

I know. You didn’t get an update on last weekend’s cabin progress. Sorry. The short week and the holiday made my schedule difficult. Here’s what you missed. The husband started finishing drywall.


Now. Onto this weekend. The husband finished more drywall. I put more poly on the interior doors. I also helped clean the drywall tools. Yuck.

Turns out that there really is an art to hanging the drywall tape and applying the right amount of mud.  Our friend (shout out to William Anderson & Co. Construction!) lent the husband a bunch of tools and we stopped at Lowe’s to pick up a few more.  One of them, a Banjo, is as much fun as it sounds!  You fill it with tape and mud to run along the seams and then smooth it out.

We had to winterize our camper, too. The low on Friday was 9 degrees. On Saturday, the high was 30. I assume it was too cold for the wild life to go out as we only had a lone deer stop by to say hello.


But wait! On our way out of Benezette on Sunday afternoon, we ran into quite a herd of elk!  They’re so fluffy and dark already with their winter coats!


We Played Hooky!

Guys.  It was COLD in Benezette this weekend.  29 degrees for a HIGH on Saturday and snow flurries most of the day.  I guess Winter is here.

Saturday was the last day of the elk hunting season.  There is one check station where all hunters must take their elk harvests and it was at the Elk Country Visitors Center for the first time this year.  That’s just across the street from our rental cabin, for those of you who have not been following along (ask me to tell the story about walking there, it’s a good one).  So after breakfast on Saturday the husband and I suited up (29 degrees, remember) in multiple layers and drove over.  The check station opened at 10, but there wasn’t much elk activity when we arrived at 10:20.

Warning:  This post contains some graphic photos. I’ve saved them for the end.  You only get one warning here folks. 

There were, however, LOTS of ATVs there for a Central Mountain ATV Association ride.  I didn’t know what that meant, but there was a sign and that’s what it said.  It was a LOT of fun to pick out my favorite ATV as they came in and lined up.  So, I need (yes, need) one of those now.  I’ve since reviewed the website of Central Mountain ATV Association and will be joining said, or similar, association, because, seriously, HOW MUCH FUN is riding around (or driving!) in one of those!!! And when there are hundreds of you?!?  Exponentially more fun.  AV_Ride

I was so distracted by the toys that I missed the first elk being brought into the check station.  I had climbed back into the jeep to warm up after taking this photo and saw a big truck with a big bull at the weigh station!

Seriously, last chance.  Graphic photos follow.  (Nice of me to give another warning huh?)

We waddled up to the weigh station as best we could with two layers of pants, multiple sweatshirts, vests, jackets, hats and gloves and were lucky enough to see the HEAVIEST BULL harvested in the 2018 Elk Season!  The scale they hung him from showed the current weight.  The PA elk biologist was doing the elk check and explained that you add 30% to that weight to know the live weight.  This guy weighed in at 894 pounds!

You can check out all of the results at this website.

I won’t lie, it was a little difficult to stomach at first.  The blood was slightly overwhelming.  We hung out for a while and got to over hear the end of the story about bringing this bull in.  He evidently ran into the water (creek, stream, river, I’m not sure) after he was hit.  The guy down stream saw the elk bobbing toward him and didn’t know if he was going in after a dead elk or a live elk.  Lucky for him, it was dead.  There was also a part of his antlers knocked off.  They don’t know if it knocked off in the water, or while they were dragging him out.  It was neat to hear the excitement in their voices.

We saw one cow (lady elk) brought in and then headed home for lunch around 12:30.  Later in the evening we stopped back in for a few hours but only saw two cows brought in.  The game commission team let many spectators watch them work and explained the examination process (a tooth is pulled for aging, tissue and blood samples to check for chronic wasting disease and the uterus of females to check for pregnancy) to us.

The crew with the big bull brought his rack back through that evening too.  I’m not sure if it was for official reasons or just to take it on tour.  Pretty impressive.


Sunday (Happy Veterans Day!), we watched PBS.  I didn’t even go into the cabin once this weekend.   The husband took some measurements, which took about a half hour.  We had a great time (oh, and I saw some turkey.  Thanksgiving is coming, watch out fellas)!