Last year, we went on a foliage tour of central and northeastern Pennsylvania. It came at the perfect time because I’d just come out of a month-long occipital neuralgia flare up, during which I’d been cocooned in my bed with our blackout curtains pulled for the majority of the month; I needed sunshine, fresh air, and to get out of the damn house.

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Being introverted nature-lovers, we had a blast. Though, it was exhausting. For three days we got up at the crack of dawn, packed a bag, fed the cats, then left our home and didn’t return until well after the sun had gone down. We went to 4 state parks (Leonard Harrison State Park, Hills Creek State Park, Archbald Pothole State Park, Promised Land State Park) and spent some time in a couple of the state forests. Some of the photos I took that weekend are on my Instagram, if you’d like to check them out! It was fast-paced, but it was full of the things my spirit needed to recover from the month of pain and desperation I’d just been through.

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As October rolled around this year, Trevor decided he’d take off work that we could do a foliage tour again. This time it would be a week of PTO, and we both agreed we should calm down a little: we would choose a few parks and places to visit, and go at a much, much, slower pace. Since we hadn’t been able to stay for very long the beginning of the month, we decided to spend a day in Ricketts Glen State Park.

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We went on a Wednesday and, surprisingly, there was a decent number of people on the Highland Trail that we half completed. Families, couples and singles were there to do the trail, as well as locals out for their afternoon power-walk. We also ran into another couple decked out with camera bags and equipment.

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The sun was hot, unobstructed by clouds in the sky, but there was a steady breeze that kept things cool. We were also in the mountains, about 2,500-feet above sea-level, which meant the temperature was about ten degrees cooler than it was at home. Bundled up for a 50F day, we left our car and headed into the woods.

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The Highland Trail is a short trail, but my knee was still healing so we only trekked to the midway point. Our pace was slow, but that meant we would stop and take photos more frequently. The woods were quiet and still until the wind blew. Birds sang in-between the gusts of wind that rattled the trees on the mountain. It was lovely. I’d very much like to go back and do the entirety of the trail once my knee is better.

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Trevor and I spent a decent amount of time at a small waterfall just before the midway point on the trail. The forest seems to open up there to create a small clearing around the fresh water. Aside from the flowing water and ourselves, there wasn’t any other movement. The sound of the water crashing was loud, but made even louder as the sound echoed off the moss-covered rocks in the surrounding area.

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After our time on the Highland Trail, we decided to head to the boat launch. We’d never been there before, but had been to the nearby beach area that’s mostly covered in evergreens. The boat launch however, near the Falls Trail and cabin area, was littered with color. The parking lot alone was stunning, offering secluded picnicking spots surrounded by fiery color.

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Thankfully, when we hit the lake, the sun tucked behind the clouds for a few minutes. These photos are some of my favorite, but I’ll only share one: the park boat. The wind was brutal here, unyielding for even a moment. But the air was fresh and the scene was calming, with the waves dancing on the sandy shore and the grasses swaying dramatically from side-to-side. We were the only two humans on the shore, and it was incredibly peaceful despite the relentless chilled wind.

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After this trip I’m really tossing around the idea of upgrading my camera to a DSLR. My phone camera is fantastic, don’t get me wrong, but it operates more like a point-and-shoot. There are some photos I tried to capture on it that didn’t work out, but would have worked on a DSLR. Plus I’d like to have the raw images, rather than a JPEG, for editing and sharing with all of you. Honestly though, I think a better office chair for writing/editing and upgrading my WordPress account that none of you have to look at ads on my site anymore will come before a new camera.

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