a mini-vacation

I’m in the middle of Pennsylvania, where there are more Sheetz than McDonalds. If you don’t have a Sheetz (or Wawa) near you, you’re missing out. Actually, I discovered an anti-Sheetz here called Snappy’s, which is very similar to Sheetz except the prices are more reasonable and the fresh-made sandwiches taste better.

I explored for two days in and near Black Moshannon State Park on foot and by car. Lots of neat landscapes, plant life, streams, and peat bogs are found here. The only disappointment is that the trees have not fully leafed out yet and many plants are not blooming yet at the higher elevations here due to the colder air and the slow start to spring.

Something I realize is that I’m old and fat and out of shape, and my sure-footedness and sense of balance is not what it used to be. I couldn’t do all the trails I wanted to, because some of them are simply too dangerous for me. Dirty Harry once said “A man’s got to know his limitations,” and I remembered that yesterday as I was climbing up a steep, rock-strewn path. Going up was difficult; going back down would have been very hazardous to my health. There are no warning signs in the forest, so you need to be smart. Rather than attempt climbing back down through the ankle-breakers, I pulled out the compass and topo map and decided to bushwhack through the forest. After a half-hour I found another trail which led me to a road which circled back to my car. I lost a little blood due to brush scratching my legs, but I think that was the best decision of the day. The second-best decision of the day was calling ahead to a pizza place for a stromboli to take back to the hotel.

A few photos (click for larger size) :

Climbing the steep rocky trail
No way can I climb down this
A slightly better alternative: going off-trail through former logging spoils
A rewarding view

More pictures later.

olympic peninsula

I don’t have anything of substance to say, so I’ll post a few pictures. In 1997, while working in Vancouver, I was sent to a 3-day workshop in Seattle that began on a Monday morning. Of course I didn’t go directly there. I spent the weekend looking at stuff on the Olympic Peninsula: rainforest, moss, elk, wetlands, beaches, Indian museums, forts, bridges, and ferries. It was a great weekend … until Sunday night, when I didn’t feel very well. I went to the Kingdome to watch a baseball game, and I became violently ill with some kind of intestinal distress. Ew, enough said. I was sick for the next three days, but I still attended the workshop for my boss. That is dedication.

Anyway, here are a few poor quality pictures from the peninsula.

lake_crescent
Crescent Lake at dusk. This photo was taken with a cheap plastic 35mm camera, then the paper photo was recently scanned. No color fixing. Despite the poor quality, one of my favorite photos ever.

ahlstrom_prairie
Dead Elk, Ahlstrom Prairie

ozette_trail
Boardwalk trail on the way to the beach.

whidbey
Whidbey Island Bridge (I know, too much dust!)