Pennsylvania is beautifulMon 08 September 2014 by Rick Gilmore
I grew up with visions of purple mountain majesties soaring above the fruited plain so many nights I've lost count. I'm a Colorado native, and proud of it. The Rockies are deeply embedded in my heart and always will be.
That said, I've come to love my adopted home of Pennsylvania. State College sits at the intersection of two great valleys, Penns and Nittany, with the iconic Mt. Nittany at the apex, framed by the Bald Eagle ridge to the north and Seven Mountains to the south. The famed Allegheny Front lies just one ridge to the north. Yes, they're real mountains. Try running, hiking, or biking up one and you'll find out for yourself. Real old, too, older than the Rockies say geologists, with mind-blowing tales to tell if only we spoke the language. And, they're pretty rocky, too. Appalachian Trail through-hikers remember Pennsylvania in part for the chunks its section takes out of their boots and feet.
In the valleys, however, you'll find beautiful rivers and streams. A family tradition holds that we announce "Sus-que-hanna" whenever one of us crosses that great river, even if it means the co-pilot has to send out a group text to the members of the family not in the car. The Juniata River valley is another favorite. The drive up the Susquehanna and Juniata along U.S. 322 is one of the most beautiful drives I know of.
This weekend, my wife and I drove southwest toward Hollidaysburg to enjoy another Pennsylvania treat, one of our state parks. Canoe Creek State Park has a wonderful reservoir, just perfect for paddling. You'll find the Lower Trail, a converted rail trail, just around the corner, too. This weekend, though, we just paddled. And snacked. Everything tastes better with a little fresh air on a sunny Sunday in Penns Woods.