The Explorographer
Pennsylvania Camping

Pennsylvania Camping ~ Ives Run

Pennsylvania Camping, pffft! I will start out this post by saying that I am really a hotel kinda guy.  I love the outdoors,  as well exploring some of the most dark, moldy, disgusting places on earth. But, when I lay my head down, I prefer it not to be in some bug infested abandoned building.  My girlfriend Danielle though is just the opposite…I think she could sleep anywhere.  So, back in 2014, when our friends James and Ashley invited us to go camping with them I have to admit, even though she was super excited, I wasn’t that thrilled.   Ashley and James are awesome and I knew that part would be a blast but I wasn’t too thrilled about sleeping in a tent.  But hey, life is about getting outside the box…and in this case it was outside the house, and into a tent!  So we called ahead and reserved a site at Ives Run located on Tioga-Hammond Lake in Northern Pennsylvania.  Here’s Ashley and James rowing in on their vintage canoe.

We arrived on a Friday afternoon and got checked in and found our site.  Got our tent all set up and did a little exploring.  Ives Run offers plenty of access to man-made Tioga-Hammond Lake.  But, the real adventure for me was exploring the areas around the site.  We had visited Ashley and James earlier in the year when they were camping here just for a picnic.  Though our time was short the first visit, I was able to explore and get a “lay-of-the-land” for our stay this time. We also had an amazing sunset that evening and I was able to capture this shot.
Not only was the sunset amazing but so was the sky afterwards.  Here are some captures from that first visit.


Needless to say, the area had captivated me to the point I was willing to sleep in a tent to experience it again. 🙂

Back to the current stay.  So after a day of biking around, scouting out places to photograph we had dinner and night set in.  I made my way to a pond just to the south of the lake.  We were staying in Pine Camp which is specifically for tents and is a much quieter area in the campsite.  If you go, and are just tenting, it is highly recommended.  You will want to reserve well in advance as the park fills up quick.  My plan in this remote area was to set up my camera and do a star trail shot of the lake.  A late fog began to set in just towards the end the shoot so I packed up the gear and headed back.  I was uncertain of how the shot would turn out seeing that I was shooting in the direction of where the sun set earlier, the lake position and several other factors. But, when I got home and processed the shot I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome.

This was the first time I had captured a leaping fish in ANY shot, let alone a star trail!  Having gotten my fill of “after-dark” shots I headed back to the tent to settle in for the night.  Surprisingly, I fell asleep quite easily.  I should explain, I generally sleep about 4 hours a night and wake up, ready to go.. I have trouble getting back to sleep after.  But, sleeping on an air mattress in a tent, I was to be lucky to get 2 hours of sleep…. I was wrong.  I slept a full 8 hours uninterrupted.  My girlfriend said that I was as quiet as a mouse as well.  Apparently, I snore once in a while.  🙁  I awoke fully refreshed and felt amazing!  What was this?  What I thought was going to be a horrific night ended up being the best night sleep that I was able have in years!  Up at 5am and sunrise the girls headed off on a bike ride.  James cooked some breakfast, it was the beginning to a great day.  While James cooked, I snapped some photos of the amazing fog on the lake.

I was starting to like this camping thing.  After breakfast still before 8am, Dani and I headed off to a rail trail to check out the scenery.  The fog on the trail was epic!

All-in-all, this was a greater idea than I could have imagined!  This turned out to be the YEAR of getting outside the box and my how my whole life has changed since!  Pennsylvania camping was definitely NOT a pfffft and is highly recommended! Do yourself, your body, and your mind a favor.  Trade in the hotel for a cheap Coleman Tent, a decent air mattress (and electric pump), and a nice night out under the stars.  You’ll be glad you did!!

Click this LINK and see the whole gallery from Ives Run and our Pennsylvania camping trip!


Explore. Photograph. Write. Repeat.

A multi-award winning travel photographer and mentor. Most known for his "abandonscape" images. Creator and curator of and

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