Monday, April 20, 2015

What the Duck!

While a lot of people think it's strange that I moved to Ohio after spending most of my life in Georgia, many of my happiest childhood memories were made just over the Ohio-Pennsylvania state line about 45 minutes from where I live now.

My dad grew up in northwester Pennsylvania, so I spent summers visiting my grandma and exploring the woods and creeks around her house. One of my favorite memories, though, was visiting the Pymatuning Spillway where there are so many carp that the ducks walk across them to get bread that visitors throw to them. It's gross. It's magical. It's something that has stayed with me my entire life.

It's been a while since Barley and I have visited a new park, so I decided we should go to Pymatuning. I've been meaning to visit since I moved here, but hadn't gotten around to. When I saw there was a trail along the spillway, I decided Barley and I should take a little road trip. 


As we approached the spillway, my excitement was through the roof! We'd see several signs for the town with "Where the Ducks Walk on the Fish" written on them. 

We got out of the car. There were no fish. No ducks. There were several fishermen who Barley immediately befriended, but Barley and I were the only creatures walking on anything.

This sign says, "The Spillway: Where the Ducks Walk on the Fish"
My childhood memories were crushed. Every magical memory I have from visiting Pymatuning seems like it was just a dream. In my memory, the spillway was a huge place teeming with fish and ducks fighting for pieces of bread. I even had a wallet with a picture of the ducks walking on the fish. 

Looking for fish and ducks.
Maybe it was too early in the year for the fish to be present. Maybe we should have braved the group of unruly children who were squealing at the end of the visitor's center walkway to see if the tiny portion of the spillway we didn't check out had fish and ducks. 

Despite the disappointment of missing out on ducks walking on fish, we had a lovely stroll along the reservoir. It was warmish even though the sun refused to come out until after we had almost made it back to the car. 




The only waterfowl we saw was a Canada goose that honked at us for the last half mile of our walk. The last time I was at Pymatuning, a Canada goose nipped me--I'm pretty sure this nasty thing was one of it's descendants.


We might try again in a few weeks and see if the magic comes back when the water's had a chance to warm up a little bit.


19 comments:

  1. My family is from Pittsburgh and my relatives used to visit Pymatuning often, but I never heard this story of the ducks and fish. I'm going to have to ask them about it now. I also live in Ohio and make it back to PA from time to time, so maybe a trip to Pymatuning is in order if the fish return. You'll have to let us know if you go back again.

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    1. I will definitely keep you posted! I remember it being magical when I was like 5--but it didn't live up to the memories!

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  2. Awe! I'm sorry there were no ducks walking on fish! Hopefully next time! <3

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    1. I kept hoping that we'd just gotten the wrong part of the park, but then I saw signs about remembering to throw away your bread bag ties and saw that you could by bread at the visitor's center during the summer and realized that the park just didn't live up to my childhood memories!

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  3. Barley looks like he had fun even if there weren't any fish-walking ducks!
    --Wags (and purrs) from Life with Dogs and Cats

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    1. Barley had no idea that we were missing out on the most disgusting, most magical sight in the world! She loved it.

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  4. Too bad it wasn't like you remembered. It sounds fascinating though!

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    1. From what I remember as a kid, it was fascinating. Of course, I think I was last there before I even had a little brother, so I was probably 4 or 5--and my memory might have exaggerated how cool it was. But somewhere at my parents' house is the little wallet I got last time I was there that convinces me I didn't totally make up how cool it was :)

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  5. Good luck in a few weeks! I'm sure they will be back!

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    1. I hope so! I just need to see those nasty old fish with the ducks walking across them.

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  6. I hope that the carp and the ducks are there next time. The signs seem to imply that they're around sometime!!!! It looks like you had fun anyway!

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    1. I hope so, too! I know they were there 20+ years ago--but maybe my memory has skewed reality a bit! We did have a great walk even if we missed out on the main event :)

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  7. That is disappointing! Good thing you have such a good-looking dog to cheer you up! (And I just got the Travels with Charley reference!)

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    1. It is hard to not be cheerful on walks with Barley even if i don't get the joy of seeing weird ducks walking on fish :)

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  8. As a former Clevelander (lived there 35 yrs), Ohio ROCKS! If you get a chance, go into Cleveland and check out the 100s of MetroParks in the Metropark system, gorgeous!

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    1. We haven't visited too many of the MetroParks (we're closer to the Lake County Metroparks, so we go to those all the time!), but we love North Chagrin Reservation--Barley thinks visiting Squire's Castle and showing the world her inner princess is the best and we enjoyed the sculpture at South Chagrin even though I was a little nervous on some of the parts of the trail down to it :)

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  9. Sometimes reality doesn't live up to our childhood memories, but it still looks like a nice place to visit and walk. Hopefully when you go back, it might. We'll be passing through Ohio (and I think the corner of PA) on our drive to BlogPaws...I'm excited since I've never been there.
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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    1. Everything will hopefully be pretty and green for your drive through then! Things are just starting to get leaves again this week--it's like they've sprouted over night! You might pass through OH further south than us, but if you see a sign for Geneva-on-the-Lake stop and get the Madsen donuts!

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    2. Oh, the donuts! I'll definitely be watching for that sign! :)

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