Pretty Little Lights: Fairy Lanterns?
When we checked out the forecast last week, my husband noted that Sunday night looked like it would be a chilly one. He asked me to take Monday off so we could schedule a backpacking trip. And so it was that Sunday morning found us packing up our gear. By noon, we left the house, headed for the Quehanna Wild Area.
When we got there, the parking lot where we usually park was crowded. It wasn't a good sign. If we had been planning a day hike instead of a backpack, we might have left for someplace less populated. But in the end, in spite of the cars, we only saw four people total: an old man and a boy, in the parking lot; and two fishermen.
We packed our gear and walked in, and it was warmer than we expected in the afternoon sunshine. We were both sweaty and hot by the time we got to our campsite in the back-country in the Valley of the Elk. And my left ankle, which I had twisted at the Arboretum on my most recent visit, was tired and sore.
So once I got there, I didn't spend a lot of time running around or climbing up and down the rocks and hills. I wanted to save my ankle for Monday, and the several-mile hike back out. This is a departure from my usual approach, which typically involves all kinds of valley exploration. But a girl does what a girl has to do to get by. So I made an exception. I stayed near our campsite.
The ground was loaded with tiny, white, bell-shaped flowers that looked like fairy lanterns to me. And with the afternoon sun behind them, you can see why I thought that. In actuality, they are blossoms from wild blueberries. They will making fine eating this summer for the bears and other critters!
I had brought along a new flag, which my friend got me at the Grange Fair last year. It is a pretty little thing, very colorful, featuring various animals camping out. You may see a picture of the new flag on my tent, accompanied by Alex, Little Bear, Tiny Tiger, and Quetzal (the green bird), in the extras.
There was about a half-moon to keep us company, and we even heard an elk or two down in the valley, but nothing like the commotion that goes on here in the fall. When we've visited in September and October, sometimes the bugling (elk) and the howling (coyotes) can keep you up all night long!
But things were pretty calm on this visit. And the really great thing about camping out this time of year is how much light you get. It's daylight past 9 at night! And as the light finally faded, I put a string of blue Christmas lights on my tent and lit them.
Welcome to the backwoods!
Welcome to the party zone!
The song to accompany this image of tiny "lights" on a day filled with long summer's light is this one: Light of a Clear Blue Morning. I'm including both the Dolly Parton version and the Wailin' Jennys version. Enjoy!
Read about Day 2 of our Quehanna Adventures here.