Category Archives: Pennsylvania

Day 12

Final shot from Camp Iroquoina before leaving this morning:

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One of the logistics for a trip like this is, ahem, delicate, but I’m sure many of you have wondered about it. This morning I had three mugs of decaf coffee before leaving camp, hoping to initiate, well, you know, but it just wasn’t working. Diana dropped me off at yesterday’s pick-up spot:

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and sure enough, just ten minutes later I was looking for a place to dive into the bush. I found a spot, across from a trailer that appeared abandoned and began to take care of business. Shortly thereafter I heard voices, and it was apparent that my cart, left by the road, was at least part of the conversation. The voices were approaching so I finished up quickly and emerged with a sheepish smile on my face and a roll of toilet paper in my hand. I was met by Gary and Teddy:

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You can see Gary’s hunting and fishing trailer in the background. I didn’t know whether to expect a gun or a smile when I emerged, but as you can see, we were on good terms after I explained what I was up to (both this month, and just prior to that moment).

Gary was particularly intrigued as he had seen me on 171 yesterday and wondered what he was seeing. We talked a bit about my trip and I gave them one of my new cards with my web address on it (thanks a zillion, Paul!). I regretted not asking Gary more questions what he was thinking when he saw me on the highway. Perhaps he will leave a comment to let us know.

My goal today was to reach Binghamton. Some friends, Mark and Bethany, had noted early on that I would be passing near their house and had invited me to stay with them. I started out 25 miles from them this morning and knew I couldn’t make it all the way, but Mark had graciously offered to pick me up wherever I ended up and then drop me tomorrow at the same spot.

Here are a few photos from that last part of 1010, leading into Hallstead:

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I saw a surprising number of BUDs (Big Ugly Dishes); these antennas are a thing of the past, I thought.

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At the end of 1010 it passes under I-81:

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Hallstead is a normal, small town with some dreary bits:

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but once outside the town the road followed the Susquehanna, even though I was now going north rather than west. This is presumably the reason that the region is called Great Bend.

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It wasn’t very long before I reached this significant milestone:

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That’s the second of my three border crossings. ┬áThe stretch of road just before turning off Highway 7 had this very wide shoulder — perfect for walking. What I like is a wide shoulder or no traffic (or both!)

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I’ve seen lots and lots of Halloween decorations, but this one was actually creepy. That’s an open door you are being invited through, and it’s pitch black. I certainly felt no desire to go in there.

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It was a relief to turn finally off this highway onto Conklin Forks Road, which had no shoulders and no traffic. There was a lot of uphill to do, but it was lovely up near the summit of this gentle hill. One resident had decorated their fence with birdhouses and antique tools:

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Here are just two of the many lovely vistas looking out over what must be very expensive properties:

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Around about this time a pickup truck pulled up in front of me, facing me. When I approached, an earnest young man showed some concern that I was taking pictures in the neighborhood. I was starting to get my wish to find out what people were thinking of me. He was only slightly mollified when I handed him one of my cards and he assured me that he would follow up.

I won’t mention his name, to protect his anonymity, as he didn’t want his picture taken. But I was impressed with his vigilance, whether it was in protecting his family or his neighborhood. I’m sure I would sleep more soundly in my own house if I knew he was a neighbor.

Soon I was descending into Binghamton. I saw this mailbox in need of support:

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and this very delicate clump of grass — Lorette?

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It had been increasingly cloudy during the day and today was the first time I kept my long-sleeved shirt on for the whole time. During the final descent into Binghamton the late afternoon sun did manage to peek out:

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and I finally arrived at the city boundary:

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My favorite encounter of the day was with Jack (on the right) and Eric:

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I was one block from the endpoint of my day’s walk when they pulled up, rolled down the window and asked me what I was doing. They didn’t seem concerned at all (unlike the earlier, earnest young man); merely curious. Jack thought that maybe I worked for the government and was doing something in the neighborhood, based on the flashing light on the stroller handle. They were both funny fellows and we enjoyed a good laugh over that. Jack fixes up foreclosed houses for the bank and his brother-in-law Eric is a stonemason. Jack was just a block from his house. His best comment, while expressing incredulity in what I was doing, was that he never walked if he could help it; after all, God created gas and cars didn’t he?

A block later I called my friend Mark. He promptly drove the seven miles from his house to pick me up and I was soon ensconced in warmth and love:

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Mark and his brother John are in the foreground with Mark on the left. Mark’s wife Bethany and their baby Sammy are behind him. John’s wife Meg is straddled by their children Ian and Abi. We had a perfect meal for the end of a long, chilly day — chunky, fresh chicken soup and fresh bread.

So I’ve had three long days now. I’m definitely pushing some sort of limit in walking around 18 miles — at the end of the day I’m quite stiff and limping. But a night’s sleep really resets me and I’m ready to go again in the morning.

One technical note for the geek squad — why can’t I get a scale on my google maps? This REALLY annoys me, because it would be very useful and because it is MUCH easier to implement than all the other sophisticated stuff that google is doing with their maps. If anyone knows how to get a scale on an iPhone, please tell me.

Another technical note — the SIGHTINGS tab stopped working today and I can’t figure out why. I was sending them all day but the last one that got through was when I reached I-81. I’ve tried everything I can think of but can’t seem to get them working again.

Day 11

Diana, my daughter, drove me back to the pick-up point yesterday. We left as dawn was breaking. Here’s a shot taken at Camp Iroquoina:

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and another on the way to the start of today’s hike:

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and at the actual start of the hike:

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It was a chilly morning; I layered with a long-sleeved shirt over a tee-shirt, but ditched the former pretty quickly. Here are photos along the way, with a few comments. (Remember to click on the picture if you want to see a higher resolution version.)

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I’ve seen these little lantern-like flowers before but I didn’t realize they turned color in the fall — can anyone name them?

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There were a number of businesses along Highway 171 that were shut down; this is just one example. Is this a product of the economic down-turn, perhaps?

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This vine is yearning for a transformation:

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This guy loves his country:

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Apple tree at the side of the road:

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Some structural problems here:

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Lake Comfort:

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Shale for sale:

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The Starrucca Viaduct:

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Moat?

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Entering the town of Susquehanna:

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Meet Bob:

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Bob is one of two letter carriers in Susquehanna. He’s the one who gets the walking route and walks about 11.8 miles per day. We had a great discussion about walking and I mentioned to him that I’ve often thought letter carrier was the ideal job — being outside, getting exercise, and done at the end of the day.

A few blocks later I went into the Main Street Cafe for a “Mushroom Swiss Burger”, cooked by Don and served by Tracy:

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It was fun talking to them about my walk and they were able to fill me in on some local geography. They also recommended taking the 1010, south of the Susquehanna River, rather than continuing on the 171 to the north. This turned out to be GREAT advice.

On the way out of Susquehanna:

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1010 is a very quiet road. I felt pretty smug hearing all the 171 traffic on the other side of the river.

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During the hours I walked on this road I only encountered about a dozen vehicles. And Mel:

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Mel’s father bought a piece of land between 1010 and the river back in the 40’s and Mel has lived there his whole life. Part of the land is an airstrip; Mel has an airplane and an ultralight. There are a number of buildings on his property, one of which is an empty house, which he offered me for the night. What a sweet offer! If I hadn’t made a prior arrangement I would definitely have accepted.

It had started raining a little so as he drove off on his four-wheeler he suggested I find shelter in his hangar:

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Lovely new plane:

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Mel is currently building a new hangar:

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This because the river has flooded his existing one twice in the last decade.

After a bit more walking, 1010 sidled right up to the river:

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It wasn’t long after this that Diana drove over from camp and picked me up. Here is the little cabin I have to myself:

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I conclude with a picture of me with my lovely, kind-hearted, generous daughter Diana:

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