Mark Twain

"Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do ...
Explore. Dream. Discover." Mark Twain

Monday, October 29, 2012

That Hill in Pennsylvania

On a severely rainy, windy and generally stormy day like today (yet beautiful in its ferocity - Thank You Hurricane Sandy), it is pleasant to remember another beautiful and the fun filled weekend in Pennsylvania and New York - just 10 days previously.

It all began with a wonderful drive up through Pennsylvania.  It took hours and hours, mostly because I made a few stops before my destination.  But I find that I enjoy driving long trips by myself.  It wasn't always the case.  But over time and with a few trips under my belt, I have discovered the joys of day traveling by car as a solo traveler.  Sort of like a private adventure - time for thought, time for audio books, less stress when I get lost - which I did a few times - it is all good.

Maryland has hills.  Pennsylvania has mountains.
Mountains that make your ears pop.
Pennsylvania was also a few weeks ahead of us in the leaf colors.
My cousins live on a large area of land on top of a mountain in Northern PA.  Their "driveway" is about 1/2 mile through the woods and up a rugged hill.  All wheel drive is pretty much a requirement.

My cousins' drive way - looks beautiful and is beautiful.  It is also "Mr. Toad's Wild Ride."
I couldn't seem to capture a picture that would show the "wild,"
 just the "beautiful."
Looking down the hill beyond their entrance to "Mr. Toad's Hill" is the beautiful view .  
The hill continues further down another 1/2 mile or so from this point.
But the real challenge is looking up ... and up ... and up.
And if you look closely, you can see one of the houses just between the trees.
As you are nearing the house the road is bordered by a rock wall.
A charming feature I have seen in other areas like Gettysburg.

The hill is kind of a "major event" for me.  I decided on my first day to walk the one mile trip to the bottom.  Some areas were so steep that you had to be very careful with your footing.  Falling on the uneven rock bed was not on my agenda for the day.

And as I was descending the very steep parts near the bottom, I gently reminded myself that I had 2 ways back up the hill.  I could walk back up, or I could call my cousin to drive down and pick me up.

Yeah!  Right!  I wasn't calling my cousin!  No way.  I am an active healthy person and I can do this. And I would do it if I had to crawl on my hands and knees.

And so I began the trip up with a positive attitude.

After about 100 feet of walking (do not laugh), I stopped.  I checked my phone  (you know, to make sure it was working,) took a picture of the surrounding trees, breathed deeply, checked my pulse rate, retied my shoe laces, checked my pulse again, deep breaths - and decided I could continue.

The road flattened for about 20 feet and then got remarkably steep again.

Focus, focus, focus.

You can do this!  Just keep breathing.

Got to the next flat part and decided to recheck my shoes again!  :-)  Yep, shoes were still on my feet!  Breath, breath.  Yep, phone battery still charged.  Breath. Pulse pounding strongly in my ears so that is a good sign (right?).  A heart attack on this hill was not on my agenda for that day either.

And so it went.  By the time I got half way up the hill, I got my sea legs for this little jaunt and was able to make it the rest of the way up without stopping.  I did, however, began to peal off clothing before I made it to the house.  I was still decent when I walked into my cousin's house, but the thought did occur to me that under pants and a bra were really all that was needed in 50 degree weather.  More clothing is just ostentatious.

I spared my cousin that experience.  I love her and want to be invited back again.

Later that day I learned there was a story to those steep and flat parts of the road.  Apparently my cousin's grandfather built that road a long time ago.  He build the flat parts so that he had a place to "rest the horses."

The man was a genius ... just say'en!

Tomorrow .... (if I have electric - remember Sandy is being a witch outside) ... if I have power I will share my time at Rhinebeck.  Great fun.


  1. Huzzah to you for making that uphill trek. 'rest the hourses' indeed.

  2. Beautiful countryside. Glad you made it up the hill.
    Western Maryland has a few mountains. : )

  3. Love the stone border wall, the falling leaves . . . the views! Very nice photos . .

  4. What a beautiful long driveway! The leaves are so gorgeous and I'm so impressed that you made that trek on foot!


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