Stars!

Last weekend I rode with Chris up to Moraine State Park. We left Friday afternoon and came back Sunday afternoon. Scott drove up and hung out with us Saturday night. I hadn’t gone on an overnight bike trip since April!

It was nice weather when we set out overcast and cool. Looked likely to be cloudy and maybe a little rainy Saturday, too. We’d intended to stay at Breakneck Campground and wander in McConnells Mill, but arrived there and found the campground closed. (don’t know why they would close a campground before even the end of summer!) No worries. We’d passed an elementary school a couple miles back. The school is abandoned, and there is plenty of space behind it not visible from the road, out of the way perfect camping spot. Made dinner and cleaned up and had different ideas about what being quiet means. I looked up at some point and realized the clouds were actually clearing!

Aside: For years now Chris and I have been trying to plan camping trips that would be good for star gazing. While light maps are available, it can be tricky to plan around the weather. We’ve gone out during meteor showers and seen none. Last summer we rode up to the Allegheny forest because it is the darkest spot reasonably close to Pittsburgh. We took five days, and saw only a handful of stars the whole time (I woke Chris up once to look at a single star poking through a hole in the clouds).

Saturday morning(9/13) we went over to Bear Run campground. Paid for the opportunity to leave our bikes somewhere secure-ish and wandered through the woods for a few hours. There were many trees and some large ant hills. Went (part way) around Lake Arthur and happened upon a presentation on monarch butterflies as we were wanting to stop to eat lunch. So we ate and learned about butterflies, and then the group dispersed to try to catch some and regathered to tag and release them. Did you know you can tag butterflies? Though they were not thrilled about being held, they seem unfazed by the stickers these folks pressed onto their wings.

Scott K. came out and we mostly talked about Free Ride. Cooked spaghetti and brussels sprouts and sweet potato in a pot over a fire. After an overcast, drizzly day, the clouds again cleared by night and we were in a great spot to stare at many stars. A short wet hike with Scott in the morning, then he left and Chris and I ate and packed up and rode back to Pittsburgh.

another aside? I’m actually not sure what to do with stars. They are pretty. I enjoy staring at them for a bit, but it is hard to do this for too long. I don’t want to be the first one to feel satisfied by them, so I’ll keep staring, for fear of seeming uncultured or something. I don’t mean that I don’t appreciate being able to see more of them than normal (normal isn’t very many, I’ve only ever lived in well populated and well light polluted areas)

This is a practice post. An experiment in writing about an experience. I’ll get better, but probably never so much better that I’ll actually encourage anyone to read these. I’m also still experimenting with what to do with the cell phone posts. I like the idea of being able to send an information from my cell phone (via if this then that- ifttt.com) with a small contents. It is maybe a way to track my whereabouts, or where I am stopped at least. Especially for my someday soon dream adventures.

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