An unpalatable trade

Great Blue Heron on Lake ClarkeThe 17-foot Old Town Tripper canoe glides easily across the water. A light blue sky mirrors off the surface, blocking the subsurface view in any direction but straight down. A tweak of the Moose polarizer on the end of the camera lens blocks the reflection; suddenly a large Smallmouth bass hovers above a patch of water-weed.

This time of year, a younger me would be swimming a quarter-mile and back across another lake, through the place where a spring created a cold spot – where the upwelling water would make that the last spot to freeze come winter. But there are laws, or at least local ordinances, against swimming in water that isn’t chemicalized and confined by concrete shores. A state regulator once told me we humans exude our medications into the water supply, and treatment plants cannot keep up with removing them.
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Bringing the Susquehanna to Gettysburg

Two miles upstream sits the Gettysburg Municipal Authority wastewater treatment plantWhen I was young, I lived on the shores of a lake of some 500 acres. The deepest part of the pond was, I think, about 80 feet – “The Hole,” my dad called it when he went fishing for quarry gone down to escape the too-warm surface water.

Around the lake were three year-round residences, and a few clusters of summer cottages. In winter, when the summer folks had gone back to town, two families remained; one was ours. The third year-round home was owned by a family who lived in town, spent weekends in Summer and none in Winter, and had enough money to make their summer cottage like their in-town home – large, with indoor “facilities.” Continue reading Bringing the Susquehanna to Gettysburg