I was here on the longest day of the year when everything was green and the pools were full of fish – darters, logperch, smallies, carp. Today it was an alien riverscape. There were small patches of open water relative to the breadth of the frozen Susquehanna. But the little that was open was clear. The flat white expanse was occasionally interrupted by an outcropping of dark schist bedrock. It was quiet except for the creaking ice. I remember my last visit as being loud with life.
The bedrock bottom was covered in olive algae biofilm that shimmered in the sunlight. The bottom dropped and I floated free over 5 feet of clear water. I had an unobstructed view under the adjoining ice sheet that penned me into this one pool. A chunk of ice hung below the sheet and looked like a small iceberg. The ice cover cast a green hue over everything. For a minute I forgot I was in Holtwood. This scene could have been from a much more exotic polar locale. The pool was divided by a peninsula of ice. I swam a few laps around the mid river side, rounded the horn on and started to explore the near shore side. Longhorn case maker caddis flies ambled along the bottom. It seems I only ever see these insects in winter and I wonder if they are more abundant in the cold or if they are just more noticeable. Their oversized cases always look top heavy and one tumbled off the ridge of bedrock it was climbing.
This is such a different place today than it was a few months ago. In June abundant life was everywhere, but the water wasn’t nearly as clear and the bedrock had a muddy appearance. Today life wasn’t as plentiful as in the summer, but the bedrock had a clean olive covering that glowed through the clear water. Same place on the same river, opposite seasons, very different experiences. And both trips had me saying that was pretty freakin awesome when I got out.