My house is up a long road buried deep within trees, fields, and swamps. Halloween was always a lonely time as no kids ever braved the long spooky driveway. With no homes in sight of mine I always believed that the woods were all mine to explore. Every day I would pick a new direction and spend aimless hours climbing trees, looking under rocks, and occasionally dashing through stranger’s backyards; all in an attempt to get as lost as possible. Sometime we were not so subtle about our presence on other’s property, however, even after years, I was never once yelled at, or even caught.
With this in mind when my roommate Alec and I saw a large grassy hill overlooking much of the Carlisle countryside, of course we were going to climb it. We knew during another season this hill was strewn with corn stalks, but now there was only clovers, and the occasional bush, nothing for us to ruin. The views from the top weren’t the best, but seeing the strong winds blow patterns in the grass was fun to see. I had just finished taking my photos for this blog when a car drove up the driveway adjacent to the hill we were on. A small figure got out of the car and started waving aggressively at us. We quickly put on our gloves and gingerly carried our bikes back down the hill trying to avoid anything that looked vaguely like it was intentionally planted. As we got closer to the car we could see its driver, a big older man with a scraggly beard, and a name tag that read “Terry”. In his thick Pennsylvanian accent he shouted “The road’s down here!” No shit, I thought, but didn’t say knowing it would only feed Terry’s fury. After a painful lecture Terry concluded with “and if it happens again, I will arrest you”. Bold claims for a man who could barely fit in his car, but Alec and I were desperate to get out of there. Grumbling to himself, Terry drove away.
This wasn’t the first time I’d been yelled at for trespassing in Carlisle. Last year my friends and I built a fire on a private riverbank, only to be seen by the owner, yelled at, but thankfully not arrested. Exploring the land around you is fun, but sometimes it is even more fun to go where you shouldn’t. Please don’t use this link to go explore Terry’s hill, but if you do, and if he sees you, tell him you’re from Gettysburg.
Thankfully our bike ride wasn’t spoiled by this encounter. We kept on going, this time deciding to head west. A few lucky turns down some small side roads eventually led us to what we thought was a small fishing hole. We turned onto the small single lane road and saw a small sign “Opossum Lake”. Over the next hill that small fishing hole suddenly opened up into this.
Clearly I was a little too shutter happy, but sorry Pennsylvania, this was the first body of water I’ve seen that was really clean, and if it was a little warmer I would have loved to swim in it. Opossum Lake was artificially made and just recently re-filled in March. The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission manages the property manages the property and stocks the waters with Bass and Trout. There are very well kept parking lots, grassy picnic areas, boat landings, and walking trails that circle the 59 acre lake.
I highly recommend biking this loop. The ride out is pretty hilly, and if there is a headwind it can be grueling, but on the way back you spend a few miles parallel to North Mountain on Enola Road, which has some of the nicest pavement I’ve ever biked on. With a wind at our backs we were hitting 25 mph nearly the whole way back. The entire trip was
Our “discovery” of Opossum Lake shows just how little of the surrounding communities we know. Clearly there is much left to explore.