Queering the PA Wilds, Day One

This is my travelogue, written to help me remember. You are welcome to read.

We kicked off our tour of Northern Pennsylvania in Erie. We drove up in the afternoon, had dinner at a place called the Skunk & Goat, and then caught a lovely sunset over Lake Erie.

We are staying at a little motor lodge/cabin place, literally a lakefront resort in the town of North-East. We chose a mini-cabin with a full size bed. It’s very wee, but comfy. The porch has two Adirondack chairs so we sat out for awhile after dark, enjoying the sounds and scents of the lake crashing into autumn.

I’m not gonna pretend I’ll get up in time to see the sunrise, but I have faith its glorious.

It’s sort of like ‘vacation eve’ – unwinding and getting settled. Our agenda is loose. Tomorrow we may go see the Ship Niagara museum. We may visit a chocolate shop. We may wander.

It’s been harsh getting to this point. My social anxiety almost got the best of me over the past week. Last night, I was weeping because I have never been away from the kittens overnight much less a week.

I’ve been gripped by fears of unknown terrors as well as my old standbys of inadequacy, insecurity, and the deeply help belief that I do not deserve good things. Such as a lovely little road trip vacation.

It sucks to carry that with you every day. It’s hard to pack and hard to plan. I’m thrilled I remembered bug spray and decongestants, but had a moment of panic when I couldn’t find my cosmetic bag filled with my medications. Crisis averted, but I heard myself beating me up and I cringed at my cruelty.

Our pets and home are in the capable hands of our pet sitter who is sending pics and updates. I feel okay about that end of things. I’ll see my kittens in photos and they will have an adventure learning to trust another human.

It doesn’t make sense for me to be here. I’m not a hiker or outdoors enthusiast, so what is drawing me to this portion of Pennsylvania?

The PA Wilds is a region I never knew about.
PA Wilds counties include: Warren, McKean, Potter, Tioga, Lycoming, Clinton, Elk, Cameron, Forest, Clearfield, Clarion, Jefferson and northern Centre.

The PA Wilds covers approximately 25% of the state’s land acreage in north central Pennsylvania, yet just 4% of the population. Once the former lumber capital of the world, the region is home to more than 2 million acres of public land, 50 state game lands, 29 state parks, 8 state forests, 2 National Wild & Scenic Rivers, abundant wildlife, hundreds of miles of land and water trails, some of the darkest skies in the country, and the largest elk herd in the northeast.

We are going to try to visit seven of these counties. And I’m really thrilled for some unknown reason. I’ve never been here before. I’ve barely thought about these areas – until I started the #AMPLIFY project.

I wonder what I’ll be blogging at the end of this week? Will I discover some heretofore unknown tie to the region? Is there a story I need to hear? A person I’ll meet? Dots that suddenly connect?

Or will I just continue to reroute my poor traumatized brain by practicing my daily trauma therapy skills in a new and restful environment. Am I like a 19th century person taking a treatment in the forests and at the shore? Will I try forest bathing?

I guess only time will tell.


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