The Pennsylvania Rocky Road Blues

Pennsylvania is tough. Not because of any steep mountains — it’s quite flat –but because of the rocks. They hobble feet and ankles, jutting up at all angles, clattering unsteadily, and even if flat and steady, they are unforgivingly hard underfoot. Sometimes there is poison ivy growing up between them, upping the ante as we dance among them. Oh, and brambles. And deer ticks. (We have found two with their heads buried in our calves so far. Luckily we’ve pulled them out quickly, torturing them in our tweezers.)

We have decided to consider this state as merely a connector corridor between the pretty stuff in the south and the pretty stuff in the north. An approach trail for Vermont. Here’s a photo of typical PA terrain, though it doesn’t do it justice, really.

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Oh yeah, and I am wearing my sports bra outside my shirt. Because it gets super itchy in hot weather. And it’s hot. These are the frightening fashion mishaps Pennsylvania causes.

OK, enough complaining. First world problems, eh? Here’s the good news. A new pair of Montrail Mountain Masochist shoes and some Dirty Girl gaiters, with a planets-and-stars pattern, arrived in the mail to help with the rocks and crud. The heat wave should break tonight. And we have mint M & Ms.

There are so many ferns here that they cover certain slopes like waves, a vast ocean of fronds. They are dizzying when a breeze courses past.

Misty spiderwebs catch the slanted morning sun and glow in asymmetrical, intricate embroideries.

Swimming holes are beginning to appear, refreshing even if they’re still too cold to jump in.

I get to hike with the handsome guy pictured above.

And… we are over halfway to Maine!

So I’ll close with an example of what one starts dreaming up after 1200 miles of hiking… and 1200 miles of questionable grocery decisions.

I ate too much Nutella
And I fed it to my fella
Now our gills are turning yella
Could this be salmonella?
It’s pretty hard to tell–ugh.

PS It wasn’t salmonella. You just have to make sure you keep the PB-to-Nutella ratio in check, or your bagel will drown you with it. I

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