Day 19:

Driving through Pine Creek State Park, PA

I woke up with plans of hiking and exploring Pine Creek State Park in Pennsylvania, but it seems the weather had other plans. It was around 40⁰F and raining pretty steadily, but I headed to the park anyway. I drove around a bit before coming across the park office. Inside I was able to find several different maps of the park and the trails that it had to offer. None of them were incredibly long, so I thought I might still try and do a bit of hiking. Yeah, I quickly changed my mind when I went back outside and the rain had picked up even more. The trip wasn’t a complete loss, though. There was a fantastic picnic area with a pavilion where I could do some bulk cooking for the next few days.

I don’t particularly like setting up my stove or doing much food preparation in populated areas, so the lack of other people, close parking to the tables, and shelter made this the opportunity I had been waiting for. I whipped out my stove, grabbed all of my ingredients, and got to work. I cooked some couscous, sweet potatoes, and chick peas. I was going to cook some frozen mixed veggies, but they had thawed out and gone bad. Like, real bad. So I definitely learned to not buy anything frozen unless I had plans to cook them in the next day or two. The green peas I had gotten a while back had done perfectly fine, but I had cooked them within about three days after purchasing them. Canned and dry goods are definitely the way to go.

Everything was finally cooked and put away, and I didn’t have any desire to go hiking. It was cold and wet, and I didn’t really want to risk getting five miles out in the woods and then the sky completely falling out. So, I decided to make my way back to Lock Haven and revisit my friends at Avenue 209 Coffee. You can’t go wrong with a good coffee shop, and I had tons of writing still left to catch up on, so it seemed like a pretty solid plan to me. Plus, it would give me an actual in day. In days out here aren’t quite as relaxing as in days at home because you’re still making a public appearance. It was pretty welcome, nonetheless.

After a cold morning of cooking, I decided hot chocolate would really hit the spot, and boy was I right. They had some of the absolute best hot chocolate, and it was just what I needed to get me going on my work. So I ended up spending the next several hours typing away on my laptop trying to recap everything I had done in the past week. Even the days that didn’t feel super busy were filled with tons to say.

Avenue 209 Coffee House – Lock Haven, PA

Around 8:30pm, I decided it was time for me to finally get out of their hair since they closed at 9pm. I didn’t want to be that customer that loitered after closing, especially since I had taken up space there pretty much all day. I made my way a couple of miles down the road to Walmart and headed inside. It was time to replenish the ice in my cooler, so while I was at it, I decided to browse through the snack section. Bad idea. Everything looked so tasty, but I didn’t need any of it. I had plenty of food waiting for me in my car, but I had been eating the same thing every day, so everything else seemed extra appealing. I did, however, decide to treat myself to some ice cream. Don’t worry though, I picked the healthy-ish option. I got a pint of s’mores Halo Top. I had never had the Halo Top brand before, but I must admit, I was quite pleased. I didn’t feel completely terrible about eating the whole thing, and it was actually super good. 10/10.

Once my shopping excursion was over, I made a phone-call back home. I ended up talking to my mom for over an hour. It’s funny how this trip has changed my perspective on phone-calls. I’ve always hated talking on the phone. That changed when I met Joseph because I really enjoy talking to him, but I still didn’t care to talk to anyone else on the phone. Now that I’m out here, though, I find myself making more and more phone calls to people. My mom, dad, Joseph, and my best friend Vanessa have all been subject to my late night ramblings, and I couldn’t be more thankful for them. It wasn’t easy leaving the people I care about, but it would definitely be unbearable if I wasn’t at least able to hear their voices. I guess it’s given me a new appreciation for the people I love and the value of human connection.

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