We visited the lake on a warm, sunny day. After unloading our kayaks, we dragged them down a grassy, gated forest road to the lake. Along the way, we passed through a beautiful hemlock forest with some large trees.
We reached the lake and a few other people were there with binoculars, looking for birds. We would soon see why.
The lake was beautiful in the bright sunshine, as it reflected the passing clouds. A beaver dam guarded the outlet. Forests of pine, spruce, and hardwoods bordered the shore and sedges as lilypads adorned the surface with yellow flowers about to bloom. Turtles pushed off into the water from tree stumps as we approached. The water would boil as fish swam away. As I was paddling, I heard a splash. A larger fish was chasing a smaller one, which tried to get away by leaping into the air, trying to get to some lilypads for cover.
It is rare when you are treated to a place to serene and relaxing. There were no houses, motorboats, cars, or noise other than the wind, a plane flying high overhead, or fish jumping after insects, or each other.
Shumans Lake is shallow and appears to sit over a bed of sphagnum moss. The water has a natural reddish tint, but it was a very clean lake with no scent of stagnant water.
We made our way to the inlet where there were some purple irises growing. The inlet meandered into a wet meadow, before becoming too narrow. A headwind made the paddle back a little more difficult. I then heard the call of an eagle, and in the distance I saw two large bald eagles. We soon made it back to the put-in, where a bald eagle was just above us, perched on a dead tree. Before I could get my camera, it flew away. Soon after, a great blue heron flew towards the lake.
The walk back to the car with our boats followed.
Shumans Lake is a hidden gem in the Endless Mountains and one of the most scenic places to paddle in the region. Few lakes in Pennsylvania are as isolated and untouched, or feature as much birdlife. If you’re looking for a special place to paddle and spend the afternoon, this is it.