There Must Be Magic

By GirlWithACamera

In Which T. Tiger Makes a New Friend on the Trail

We spent a delightful backpack trip in the Quehanna Wild Area on Tuesday and Wednesday. The weather was good and we didn't see a single soul in the back-country, which is just how we like it. The Hunter's Moon treated us to an amazing show, as it rose in tones of autumn gold over the trees. There was great fanfare, as the howls of coyotes greeted its arrival.

The moon was our constant companion overnight, and the temperatures stayed reasonable enough to keep us from getting too chilly. We heard a fair amount of howling, though none of it was too close for comfort. But I'm not sure we heard a single bugle. The elk must be keeping mum these days. Or maybe they were in a different section of the woods.

When morning came, and the sun rose over the Valley of the Elk, I played house inside my tent while my husband took his tent down. We had discussed going somewhere else for a hike after our backpack trip was done, so we hoped to get out of our campsite by no later than noon, a deadline we met.

So in the morning, I did all of the things you do when you are breaking camp. I took everything out of my tent, aired out my gear on the clothes line my husband had hung, and eventually bagged everything back up into the appropriate stuff-sack. By about 10, everything was out of the tent. By 11, I had it mostly packed up. By shortly after noon, not without some element of regret, we were hiking out of the Valley of the Elk.

As we were walking out, my husband suddenly started laughing! And then he pointed to a stuffed creature sort of draped in a nearby tree. Seldom does T. Tiger discover one of his own kind on the trail! But here it was, some kind of a (looks more closely, can't decide) bear, groundhog, or raccoon! T. Tiger immediately went up to it and made its acquaintance, and I snapped a few photos for our memory book, before continuing on.

Once back at the car, we loaded everything into the back seat, grabbed a fresh cold drink, and moved on to our next little adventure, which was a hike into one of the abandoned nuclear jet engine bunkers. There are two of these, not far apart, each just a short, flat hike from the Quehanna Highway.

The one we visited is my favorite one, which features an actual structure that you can go into (if the lock is unlocked, which was the case), and a retention pond. I photographed it back in May for a prior Blip. In the extras, you may see an autumn abstract: a colorful treatment of the reflections on that very pond!

It had been a lot of hiking for me in the past few days, and by the time we were done, my legs and ankles were tired. Monday, I did the Mahala Street hike (about 3 miles or more). Tuesday was the backpack into Quehanna (about 3 miles). Wednesday was the backpack out, and the hike to the jet engine bunker (a total of 4 to 5 miles for the day), which isn't too shabby!

What is the thing that backpackers think and talk about the most in the woods? What they will eat next, for sure! So on the way home, we stopped and got a quart of chili at Benton's Market in Karthaus (where they are working on the bridge over the river), and we picked up a pair of hoagies at a hoagie shop we know. So we came home with supplies, which we set into as soon as we unpacked the car.

Overall, it was a grand adventure. Two days and one night out in the Quehanna Wild Area, just in time to see the Hunter's Moon rise, accompanied by the wild howling of coyotes, and perfect weather! And even a new friend for T. Tiger! What a trip!

My soundtrack song is for the image above: James Taylor and Carole King, with You've Got a Friend.

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