I was born in Pennsylvania and raised in a small town in a rural northeast county.  As the youngest of four growing up in the 1960’s & 70’s I spent a great deal of time outdoors all times of the year.   The closest thing to “roughing it” in our family was staying in a relative’s Lake Erie cottage which had only a pit toilet (indoors) and no hot water.  My first experience with anything close to camping was a a sixth grade excursion where the entire class was taken to a nearby Boy Scout camp for 2 nights in platform tents while doing the kinds of stuff campers do.  Two years later I was invited to stay a few nights in a cabin in an Ithaca, NY area state park with a friend and her family.  I remember enjoying a long hike lead by her uncle, swimming with her cousins, having food cooked over a campfire and not being able to sleep well because someone snored!

I moved to New York State to attend a two year college after graduating high school.  At the end of two years I stayed, working toward a second degree and at one point thought about transferring to earn an environmental/forestry degree.  Not having any idea what I might do with such a degree, it became a fleeting thought that has since revived itself later in life and become a “hindsight is 20/20” kind of thing.

I started camping in the late 1980’s with my husband (prior to our marriage) and a group of friends and with each year we have accumulated more gear.  We continue to camp at least one week each summer.  When our daughter started school and joined Girl Scouts I became involved with the troop and enjoyed annual camp outs with the girls. Although we never made it out of the lodges & cabins, we did our fair share of hiking, firewood collecting, fire building, campfire cooking and camp crafts.  Camping is an inexpensive way to spend a vacation and living in the northeast US, there are plenty of beautiful places to fill a lifetime of exploration.

When asked which is my favorite park, I can’t answer for I have many favorites, each for a different reason.  Pennsylvania State Parks were voted Best in the Nation 2009-2011 and for good reason.  All you have to do is visit one or more parks to see how environmental conservation, education and recreational activities abound and your participation is encouraged.  PA parks and forests are public land where you will never pay a parking fee – take that, New York State!   I won’t go into great detail describing any park or forest for I feel the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation & Natural Resources web site does an outstanding job (click link in my menu.)  The state is full of beautiful land, some salvaged from years of destruction by mankind, some ancient and untouched. I have made Pennsylvania’s public lands my playground & I hope you enjoy my journeys.

Take only photographs.  Leave only footprints.


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