It was my birthday present to myself, a weekend camping trip. With borrowed gear stowed in my Miata and the top down, I headed for Central PA. When I arrived Friday, the campground was mostly empty and I had my pick of spots. Traveling light, it was easy to set up.
Being the first day, I thought to take an easier hike and picked Valley Trail. Silly me. The trail started in the valley and took an immediate turn uphill. Already committed, I continued on and reached the ridgeline. It is a spectacular feeling to see the land fall away on both sides and to walk alone across a mountain top.
Eventually, I noticed that I was walking through acres of huckleberry bushes. The berries were ripe and delicious. Plucking and munching, it occurred to me that I was probably not the only critter who would find them tasty. Prudence dictated making noise to alert bears of my presence and give them time to amble off. Chanting, “Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!” amused me.
With long light on my side, after hiking down the Valley Trail, I hiked up again on the Laurel Trail. A garter snake and I startled one another but nothing untoward occurred.
The next day’s weather proved that I had chosen the best day to walk the ridge. The morning broke damp and gray. Fortunately, the mist added to the quiet and the beauty of the Creekside hike. Vivid emerald moss clung to rocks and trees creating green wood of legend.
By Sunday morning, it was clear steady rain was near. Before it started, I packed up the site and read a bit, waiting for the concession stand to open. My birthday treat awaited. The sign board of ice cream flavors listed teaberry. Teaberry was a childhood favorite flavor. Bubble gum pink, with an indescribable tart berry flavor, it was on the list of best birthday treats ever. 2011, being before the food photo craze, no photographic record exists of my bliss.