Queering the PA Wilds, Day Four

Oh, dear readers still with me in this travelogue, I am a tired correspondent. Some was due to adjusting to an unfamiliar bed, but most is due to the effects of taking a five + hour tour of the Clarion River towns. We were in a car and walking a bit. It was fascinating, but that’s a lot of tour time. Ledcat followed up with a 60 minute walking tour of millionaire’s row here in Ridgeway. I followed up with a nap.Here’s the key phrase – Pennsylvania has a long legacy of extracting natural resources. In short, we have legacies from lumber, water, coal, and more to help us make smart decisions about regulating natural gas.I’ll share more about this experience in a post after we return.But five hours exploring trails, waterways, scenic views, old rock formations, the remnants of former lumber mills and tanneries, was pretty damn amazing. We had no cell service most of the time and I didn’t even care.Backtracking, breakfast was great. They did a mini-buffet because it was two of us and cooked eggs to order. Finally, some good coffee! Bob joined us around 9 AM for coffee and a lively discussion about Instagram as a tourism tool.In the evening, we went into nearby St. Mary’s for dinner at a Germanic bar after learning that the town was established and heavily dominated by German Catholics. Dinner was pretty disappointing.Wrapping up the day sitting on the front porch together is pretty nice. Peepers everywhere. Storms rolling in so the air is quickly cooling.Tomorrow, we plan to visit Kinzua State Park to see the knockout bridge and to also visit the Elk visitors center and see the creatures.One thing struck me today – I don’t feel particularly anxious here. A little bit here and there, but these places feel unknown to me in a way that is not threatening or overwhelming. My family ties to the region are distant enough to be explored without a weight hanging over my head. Even the very Catholic town of St. Mary’s felt fine to me, perhaps because ‘very’ means historical.Something to note, either way.

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