Strange encounters on an outdoor trip

Lisa Lightner
Lisa Lightner

This past week, I had to go to New York City for a day for a conference. It was a weekday, so my husband took the day off to spend with the boys. Heís never been out to the Holtwood Dam area, so after much poking around on the internet, he decided that this is what he was going to do with the boys on their day off. They packed lunches, loaded fishing rods in the car and headed out to explore hiking trails and possible fishing spots.

Actually their agenda also included Conowingo Dam, but theyíve been there before. Day started out nice enough. Went to Conowingo first, where it was confirmed that one dad cannot fish with two little boys to watch. So here is complaint number one: Fisher-people, please clean up after yourselves!

That area is such a mess with fishing line and hooks, itís barely safe to walk around in some spots, even with shoes on. Carry in, carry out. Thatís the rule. Nothing but a trace. Leave nothing but footprints. Do I need to quote any more outdoorsy clichťs? Not only is it harmful for the environment, but it makes it very unsafe for children of any age. And we canít teach our kids an appreciation of fishing and the outdoors if we are worried about them stepping on hooks or tripping over line. Donít just leave; leave it better (stepping down off of soap box).

Even if they had wanted to stay, the sirens starting going off, which means you have to leave anyway. So on to Holtwood they went. They found the area, found some picnic tables and easily found some of the trails that he had read about.


And then he ran into something he wasnít expecting. He said that they were sort of approached by a guy. He was very disheveled looking and was completely overdressed for the warm, humid day that it was. He came out to the end of a path to stare at them. Nearby was a car, and it had the airbag deployed, though probably not recently. It was a bit unnerving, especially when he combined it with some advice he (my husband) had received last summer.

Last summer, a group of men in my family and circle of friends went up to my dadís cabin, which is central Pennsylvania in a very remote area. One of our family friends is a county detective in eastern Pennsylvania. He gave them all a stern warning, that if they were in a very remote area, and they came upon what looked like a shack or someone trying to set up camp, run!

He said that there are druggies setting up camps in areas of remote wilderness to make meth or whatever itís called. He also said that their behavior is very unpredictable and to not engage them in any conversation or confrontation.

Lovely, huh?

Anyway, my husband recalled that conversation with his friend, assumed that it was likely that this guy was probably up to no good, and quickly got the boys and himself out of there. Who knew that would ever be a safety issue to worry about in enjoying the outdoors? Sigh. And if there are any state police that read my column, go check that out, wouldja? Needless to say we wonít be returning to that area any time soon. So much for exploring new areas.

Suddenly mingling with bees doesnít seem so scary. Check out this event coming up.

Open Hive Day: Join TLC Apiarist Dan Borkoski for an inside look at the busy, buzzy world of honeybees. Participants will get a close-up look at a hive during routine inspection while gaining practical beekeeping knowledge. Itís a great learning experience for new and prospective beekeepers and for people who just want to know more about the remarkable abilities and vital importance of these fascinating creatures. Protective veils will be available in limited quantities. If you have your own gear, please bring it along! The apiary is located at TLCís New Leaf EcoCenter at the Vincenti Preserve, 776 Rosedale Road, Kennett Square, PA 19348.

Disclaimer: TLC is not responsible for injuries, including bee stings, to preserve visitors and program participants. Those with severe bee allergies should refrain from attending. Saturday, Aug. 25, noon. Cost: Free for TLC & CCBA Members/ $5 for Non-members. Please register online at For questions or registration assistance, call 610-347-0347 or e-mail:

As always, you can reach me at or

Outdoor enthusiast Lisa LIghtner lives in Avondale.