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This is what it was doing in our town today.  Snow, bah humbug!  The temps took a nose-dive & we got a slushy mix.  Winter is coming, which means the end of the camping season… but we’re hoping not just yet!

We’ve been so busy that we’ve had a lull in the camping action since we were “elk hunting” at Parker Dam SP in the beginning of October.  We had hoped to take the Sunline for a two-day trip with some Sunline friends but that got rained out.  And, by rained out, I mean 4” of rain followed by some pretty stiff winds.

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We’ve had odd weather in central PA since late summer. August was much cooler & rainier than normal, no break in cutting the grass, then September warmed up & dried out right into October.  For the fourth or fifth year in a row, we did not have a colorful Fall. Seems like, except for some trees like the gingko (above), the trees went from green to yellow-brown to losing their leaves.

For the first time ever, we’ve been seeing quite a few all-black woolly bear caterpillars.  Don’t know what folklore says that indicates for the winter but maybe better than one of these guys…

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This is a white hickory tussock caterpillar which started showing up in the PA woods about two years ago.  This one was crawling on our waterjug lid when we camped at Cowan’s Gap SP.  These caterpillars are nominally poisonous, touching their “fur” can cause an allergic reaction such as a rash so, parents, don’t let your kids pick up this guy!

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This time last week we were handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters that came around, 48 in all (down from previous years). One kid really liked our cross o’lantern – that’s cool!  

The abrupt change in the weather made Matthew put some “pink stuff” (aka RV anti-freeze) in the tanks of the 2363, just in case.  It’s to go below freezing a few nights this week.  Be that as it may, we are still hoping to go camping, especially since some PA state parks stay open until mid-December, so stay tuned!

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Parker Dam State Park is about two hours north of where we live &, even tho’ it was warmer than usual the past few weeks, there were signs that Fall had arrived.  I love the touches of red that the maples provide this time of year!

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A three-day weekend provided us with a variety of things to do, from elk-sighting to hiking the Park to visiting with our friends or just sitting by the Sunline reading & watching the other campers.

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Watching other campers is always a revelation & sometimes an amusing one at that.  We are not accustomed to camping on weekends, therefore, we’re not used to the antics of a crowded campground.  Fellow campers being overly (might we say obnoxiously) loud, vehicles running all hours of the day & night, owners leaving barking dogs in campers for hours… camping during the weekend made us realize how blessed we are to camp on weekdays when there aren’t as many people.

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Even so, by the end of our visit, we decided that we’d like to camp at PDSP again.  Maybe just not on a weekend.  After all, who wouldn’t want to take another opportunity to see a magnificent specimen like this one – & his harem – as well as enjoying the wilds of Pennsylvania!

 

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Even tho’ a lot of our pixs of the Sunline at PA State Park campgrounds look the same, here’s our 2363 in Parker Dam State Park, another “new-to-us” campground.  On Friday morning, we got up early-ish, picked up Annette & Robin, & took off in Big Gray to see if there were any elk lurking about.

Our friends are “old hands” at elk-sighting so they directed us to the small town of Benezette where a decent-sized herd has staked its territory.  We were just entering the town when…

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… right along the road in a yard were an elk cow & calf.  This would be the first of the two dozen we saw over the next two days.

Elk-sighting is so popular that Elk Co. built a new Visitor’s Center in one of the areas in which the herd congregates.  Because we went early Friday morning, we were able to get a parking space & tour the VC without a crowd.  (This was not the case late Saturday afternoon when we went to the VC, it was jammed!) We also saw a bull with a substantial rack in the VC area that morning.

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These two younger bulls were grazing in a backyard in downtown Benezette.  Beside being used to the elk, the people of Benezette are also used to two months of tourists trooping all over the town & creating “elk jams” when they stop their cars, often right in the road.  

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Clouds drifted in Friday afternoon &, when we got back to the Park, we took one of the nature trails behind the lake.  Even tho’ PDSP is out of the main elk-sighting area, Matthew did find some rub marks on trees in this area & a swale in the long grass by the lake where something big had laid down.  One of the Park Office workers said that the other morning there was an elk cow in their parking lot & that people had heard bulls bugling in the area.  Of course, there was more to see on Saturday.