Black Swallowtail Butterfly

I took Monday off so that my husband and I could go on a tiny adventure. First we stopped at the local Bookmobile to pick up a pile of good books. Then we had a nice lunch at Brother's Pizza in Port Matilda - a heated Italian hoagie for me, antipasto for the husband - before heading up into the woods.

Years ago, when we were first dating, I lived in State College and he lived in Philipsburg. We took turns staying at each other's places overnight, and met sometimes in the middle.

One of the places we used to go hiking is on Sandy Ridge, and state gameland 33. The road to get up there is not so great actually, and I'd recommend a truck or four-wheel-drive. We took the Chevy Impala, and drove very slowly over all the bumps and potholes.

After parking at the edge of a big parking lot not far from the main road, we took our daysacks and chairs and hiked along the graveled road and into the woods. The pollen count was quite high; you might say it was a breezy, sneezy afternoon.

There are some big grassy fields with trees, and the views were pleasant there. So we spent our afternoon with our books, and our friends Alex the Alligator, Little Bear, and of course, Tiny Tiger (who came home wearing a bit of green fern as a hat).

On our hike back out, I spotted a beautiful butterfly, which you may see above. It is an Eastern black swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes); a female, I think, based on the amount of blue I'm seeing on the lower back part of the wings. A happy occasion: my first butterfly blip of the year!

One of my favorite songs about butterflies is this one: Heart, with Dog and Butterfly.

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