Quehanna Wild Area, Dressed in June Green

The weather in Pennsylvania has been kind of shocking lately. From early spring, we zipped right into summer. The past two weeks have included heavy thunderstorms, deluges, and tornado watches on an almost daily basis. (Which is NOT typical of Pennsylvania in my growing up years, I must say. Like gravity, you do not need to believe in climate change for it to be real and control your life.)

I am sorry to say that this was my first spring ever without a single overnight backpacking trip. The weather didn't cooperate, for one. And my work schedule didn't cooperate either; the nicest days seemed to fall on Wednesdays.

But finally, a change came: cool, beautiful, sunny, breezy weather, like something out of a happy dream. I had no meetings and no work crises going on, and so I took an impromptu vacation day, and into the woods my husband and I went, even if only just for one day.

We headed into the Quehanna Wild Area, which has been a favorite hiking destination for the entire time we've known each other (which is to say since 1986). We like to backpack into a Quehanna back-country site where we have seen elk and heard coyotes (and even one time found a coyote bone pile!). I once found, and then lost, an elk horn there. On Monday, we made the trek in and out in one day, a hike of about six miles.

The trip included several milestones. For one, the first lady's slipper orchid I have ever seen in Quehanna. And two, the first snake I've seen this year, a tiny thing, no bigger than a fat shoestring, with a single stripe; garter snake, I think, and a very shy fellow, who slipped away before I could even show my husband or get a photo.

We had brought along our water shoes, thinking we'd go into the creek, wading. But when we got there, the temperature was only 54 degrees F under the pines where we like to camp. And so we didn't feel we needed to refresh our toes after all.

We spent much of the day sitting in our chairs in the woods, and relaxing on a favorite big rock overlooking the view you may see above. It felt like coming home. Those trees on the far hill are tamaracks, and in the fall, they turn to gold and put on quite a show.

Spring is at an earlier stage up there, and the trees are at that early high-pollen phase; the greens, still a very light baby green. As we walked into all that green, my husband started singing a song, and he asked if I remembered the words. I did, and so here it is as the soundtrack for this image of the Quehanna Wild Area in very early June: Tom Jones, with Green, Green Grass of Home.

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