We awoke on a hideous gravel construction apron at the top of a mountain near the Trout Run exit from highway 15. We hope to pay for parking/camping infrequently and will be “marking a stick” for every time we are asked to leave. This was not such a morning. We woke in sight of several houses, so we left even before making coffee! First order of business: stop at a gas station market and buy a coffee…oops, those breakfast sandwiches sure look good. In fact they were. My sausage,egg, and cheese muffin looked like one I might have made, but tasted even better!
Not much highway later, we joined the great, slow movie of the secondary roads. Yeah, it feels like we’re watching a slow, but pleasant movie (with not much plot) as we imagine the dormant farms, current farms, sagging roofs, and ambling fields of the countryside. I start to speculate that there is a greater number of Americans who live this way than we in the city…?
Oh yeah, where did we drive to? We had been told to go to the Grand Canyon of Pennsylvania (one of our strategies each day is to ask someone “where should we go next?”) and Colton State Park. In the canyon, we biked on a delightful and near empty rail-trail. We saw hawks, sparkly river, wildflowers and Jane smiling (despite still wondering about the Pathology report ).
Evening brought the daily question; “where are we gonna park?” We asked a ranger who suggested Colton also. Said there was no one there (literally, she checked the computer). Sounded good, drove a forbidden backtracked 10 miles, but found a wonderfully empty park, drove through once (the requisite technique for camper-people) and picked site 3. We needed a “legal” place to build a small fire for our celebratory cookout! Jane, the AWESOME FIRE BUILDER, got things ready with our lightweight little grill. Our warm, Baltimore friends Jean and Tom had given us each a thick, juicy steak for our trip.
WOW…grilled with a pepper from our garden we feasted like the omnivores we are. The Steaks were tremendous tasting! (sorry, Vegans, vegetarians, and equal opportunity eaters) Ended up saving the Champagne for another eve…
My night was punctuated by an elusive (read, not very loud) owl whose calls I heard, but couldn’t anticipate enough to help Jane hear them. Darkness cascaded and was darker than she had ever seen. I have been in a cave, so it was a little lighter.
It got dark as we were setting up at Colton State Park. The next morning, we were surrounded by green, green, green. It was lightly raining, intensifying the lush green. As we travel this Fall, we likely will see less and less green (well, until we get way down south). It was so nice to really revel in it with no other humans around.
Sometimes I feel like a rat who escaped the experiment where they cram them together and increase the population until the rats start to go mad. I do love people, but the press of so many people surrounding us back home was starting to really get to me. You can’t go anywhere it seems, without traffic and lines and crowds back home. The simple, quiet, beautiful woods was soothing and peaceful.