Sometimes people refer to “urban hiking” as walking around town, which is technically true I suppose, but more often than not the term is used to describe green space that is located in or around urban areas. Such is the case, with my “new backyard”, Lancaster County Central Park. With over 500 acres and a variety of trails it makes for an ideal get away for those us living in the city. For me, the entrance is located right across the street from my townhouse complex.
I frequently encounter trail runners, joggers, walkers, hikers, bikers, dog walkers and birders on my morning hikes, so solitude (especially) on the week-end is harder to find. Apparently, there are even a few graffiti painters, although the sample below is the only one I have seen so far and looks to be older.
There is a large area near the highest elevation of the park that is designated for bird nesting. The meadow is dotted with bird houses and wildflowers and is popular with birders. A wide mowed grass trail circles the meadow. Over the last two days I have spotted Eastern Blue Birds, Red Winged Blackbirds, a Baltimore Oriole (the bird not the baseball players), and a beautiful Indigo Bunting.
BELOW: Across the meadow and in the distance the Lancaster city skyline is visible:
BELOW: The wildflowers are nearly finished for the season, however, the pretty but invasive phlox species is still blooming.
Yes, you read that title correctly. My time on Mount Desert Island, Maine and Tilghman Island, Maryland have come to an end. The combination of my desire to be geographically closer to my elderly parents and the need to “shore up” the bank account with regular work resulted in a decision to return to my “home” state of Pennsylvania. Specifically, Lancaster, which is located in the south central part of the state.
ABOVE: My new domicile
I am fortunate to be able to rent a home from some friends in a nice location on the outskirts of the city. One of the best features is the home’s proximity to a large county park located directly across the street. Miles of hiking trails are available, and while it is next to impossible to match the beauty of hiking in Acadia, I will at least have handy access to hikes through woods and along a small river just steps from my door.
The move itself went very well with two round trips of a fully loaded car and a quick relocation of all my “old stuff” from the storage unit where it had been snoozing these last 18 months.
ABOVE: All this and more (not including the washer/dryer) went into a VW Passat for the first trip.
My two furry feline friends, Pebbles and Bam Bam, made the 3+ hour drive from Maryland to Pennsylvania like champs, napping away in their carriers until we arrived at our new destination. Considering the last two trips for them ranged from 12 – 15 hours of travel time, this must have felt like a very short drive.
ABOVE: Enjoying the sunshine on the deck of our new home. Clearly, they didn’t have trouble adapting!
One of the more interesting observations I’ve made regarding this move is my lack of interest in unpacking all of the “old stuff” I took out of storage. Although I downsized considerably prior to my year in Maine, I look at all of these boxes and think about how I have lived without 75 – 80% of these “things” for the last 18 months, so why do I need them now? In previous moves, you would have found me furiously unpacking nonstop until everything was organized and put away. Now, it seems more important to explore the park, or read a book; and of course, look for a job.
ABOVE: A work in progress, stuff, stuff, and more stuff. Ugh!
It is a shift in perspective that I welcome, and an indication that some of the changes in how I approach life have indeed taken root.