Sunday, November 1, 2009

Central PA.

High today: 52 F
Low today: 41 F

I had originally intended to do a 3-day backpacking trip in Central/Northern PA with some old friends, but by the time I got to State College exhausted from DC, and realized that I still know a lot of people in State College whom I wanted to see, I changed plans to accommodate seeing more people. The first day I crashed Walker building, home of the meteorology and geography departments where I spent most of my time as an undergrad. I am impressed by the memory of my old profs. They are quite the bunch of enthusiastic, love-what-they're-doing kind of people, who want their students to succeed past their knowledge. One of my old profs may be making one of my life dreams (ok.. about 10 years of it at least) come true this May so stay posted and I will announce once things are final. (the mystery! the suspense! Ok so a lot of you know already because I am too excited about the possibility and can't keep my own secrets very well...) Anyway, State College is the one place that I go back to every time and feel happy just getting off the exit for the town. I have no intention of ever moving back, but just feeling so welcome in a town two years after you've left is something not every town has for a person. The younger faces are changing but the permanent ones are always there, cheering you on. Since I wasn't planning on actually being in town for this weekend everything was spur the moment and there were a few surprised reactions which just made my day. We still fit in a 15+ mile hike in 8 hours which was the fastest 8 hour hike I have ever done.. and what I mean is that it felt like we were out of there for only 3 hours! It rained most of the hike and there were not wide open views, but the company was fantastic and ever-entertaining.
Chad, Sarah, me and Aviva. Chad kept it a secret from Sarah that I was here.. her reaction was awesome!A bunch of meteorologists going for a hike in the rain. That morning one said to me, "you guys know it's going to rain, right?" Of course we do!
Jerry, Aviva and Andrew at the beginning of the hike.We hiked through Rothrock State Forest, my old mountain biking trails, and what I think is home to some of the best mtb trails on the east coast. There are lots of rockbeds (given the name), big log jumps, bridges, and varied terrain. I got a little homesick for biking these trails while hiking them.
It rained for about 4 hours of our hike but didn't seem very long at all. What did I do without good rain gear once upon a time?!
Central PA got a crapload of snow a few weeks ago.. anywhere from 6 inches to several feet up in the hills ("mountains"). Because of the heavy weight of the snow, combined with windy conditions, there were trees down every 10 feet in some places. We witnessed one fall mid-hike, which sketched me out a little bit.
Back in town the next day, Eric, Matt and I grabbed some DP Dough, the best calzones ever.. with over 40 different kinds to choose from. If you don't like their combos, then you can get a "construction zone" aka, make your own.
These are my hosts, Jud, Nimbus, and Aviva. You may recognize their smiling faces from their trip to AK in May 2008. :-)
Farewell to you, Happy Valley. It's been fun once again!


AP said...

Spinelli's face conveys the complete opposite emotion that I feel when eating DP Dough.

Julie said...

hahah. yes he was being a stink-bag and making faces in all of the photos.