Snate's Six-Month Sojourn travel blog

Locust Lake

Shish kabobs rock!

Sofia with bed head

Thursday morning we were up bright and early, grabbed some breakfast at a diner near Rob's place and caught the train back to New Haven. From New Haven, we headed north and west to avoid New York City traffic en route to Washington DC. We stopped for dinner and some library Internet time in a town called Middletown, New York. The town itself was largely Latino, and the restaurant we stopped at was nearly exactly the same as several of the restaurants we ate at in Mexico, even the menu. We had to ask if they had enchiladas (which weren't on the menu), then choose our sauce, all of this in Spanish. It felt great to practice my Spanish a bit, and it was also nice to notice that I hadn't forgotten everything!

After dinner, we made our way to Locust Lake State Park north of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Getting to the park was pretty crazy since it was dark and the signs were hard to see and every mile or so we passed some creepy dark cemetery. Plus, to get to the campground you had to cross a bridge over Locust Lake which looked like two pitch black holes to either side of the car. Fortunately the park was open, and we quickly found a site to crash for the night in the car. Slumber party!

The next morning we were up at 7:00 or so and continued toward DC. Prior to heading to James and Gina's house, we first traveled to the delightful suburban hell that is Vienna, Virginia to look at renting PATC cabins. After some perusing, we finally chose Corbin Cabin which is in the central region of the Shenandoah National Park. The cabin is about 1.5 miles from the road and has no electricity or running water. However, it's by a beautiful stream from which we can treat some water, has a wood burning stove to cook on and is about 1 mile from some of the more beautiful parts of the Appalachian Trail. Top that off with the fact that it's $18 per night. We're planning on bringing our camp stove to make the cooking a bit easier, as well as headlights, candles and several books. Woo hoo!

After reserving the cabin for five days, we headed to James and Gina's. These two live in a communal city called Greenbelt north of Washington DC. It really is a cool place to live: they are a two minute walk to the center of "town" which has a grocery store, movie theater, coffee shop, library (where I now sit), park, lake, etc; the Metro stop is only a short distance away and the ride to DC is only 45 minutes. The city was a project of Roosevelt's in the 30's, and there are signs all over the place describing how the project came to fruition.

Hanging out with James and Gina was chilled out and fantastic. These guys have a two year old (Sofia) and a new baby named Alexander, who are both adorable. We spent three days or so taking walks, drinking beers (not the kids) and cooking. The weather was absolutely gorgeous the entire time we were here, a refreshing change from the crap we had in Maine. Every night we whipped up something tasty: ribs, Thai food, pizza and shish kabobs. Sam hung out with Baby Alexander quite a bit, and I did my best at getting Sofia good and hyper before she needed to go to bed, as is my role in life.

Tuesday night we headed to a local hotel to pull out our backpacks and spread all of our stuff out to begin packing for our week in the wilderness. This process is always time consuming, and it's always a blast figuring out what food to bring on the trail so that I can eat every two minutes or so. The stuff sack with my clothes in it is TINY, considering I have no intention of changing my clothes unless I have to, but the sack with food is HUGE. When we finally finished packing, we met James, Gina, Sofia and Alexander for one last meal at a local brewery, then James, Sam and I hit our hotel bar for some conversating.

So, it's now Wednesday, and we're supposed to meet our friend Maura in downtown DC for some dinner, then later tonight we plan to head west to Waynesboro at the southern tip of Shenandoah National Park. Tomorrow we hope to drive up to Blackrock Gap along Skyline Drive, park the car and head out in the wilderness for eight days or so. In other words, there probably will not be a posting for a little bit. Of course, we checked the weather for that area for the next few days, and there's a 40% chance of thunder showers this weekend, so who knows, we may start out a little later, but I still think it's going to be difficult to do any computing. Who knows?

Until later . . .

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