Here’s what I like about my cabin. Even on the road in front of the cabin I can turned all the way around and not see a single person.
You may have noticed the signs on the trees. On the one side is this.
Just informing that the owner, the Seanor Timber Company is kind enough to keep their land open to the public.
On the other side is this.
Not really a problem. A little secret. Most people who post PA Landowners Association signs will give you permission if you ask. Notice the line “DUE TO GOVERNMENT OVER-REGULATION OF LAND USE”. If you give the government an inch they take a mile. If you leave your land open to public use the government takes that to mean they get to control the land use. Farmer have lost the use of their farms by the government taking control. The government thinks it controls the public when it is supposed to be the other way around.
Also this land has another membership sign.
Most of the land around here is either owned or leased by timber companies. Pennsylvania hardwoods are famous.
It’s May first. The Gaelic pagan holiday of Beltane. Half way between the spring equinox and the summer solstice.
And right on queue.
Today I saw the first mayapples pop up out of the ground. Of course these are just the mayapples plants. The actual “apples” aren’t ready until later in the summer. And, while edible, that aren’t really very good and take too much processing to make them palatable. Kind of tastes like bad lemons.
Also many fern fiddleheads are ready. Some types are good to eat. Most are not good, but not poisonous.
As I was walking through the woods behind the cabin yesterday, I heard a strange gurgling or bubbling sound. At first I thought it was my tinnitus. But then it got louder and I noticed it was coming from an old oil well casing. So today I recorded it.
Now nearby Pithole Creek supposedly got its name for deep natural holes beside it. There are tales of people sitting next to the holes and either passing out or dying from breathing the natural gas coming out. I figure it is either natural gas bubbling up through water that has filled the well casing or possibly an underground spring bubbling by the well. The gas seems most likely. Since natural gas has no color or smell the only way for me to know for sure is to hold a match to it. I’m not ready to do that. It may keep burning.
“I shall be telling this with a sigh Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.” Excerpt from The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
I am starting this post with the often quoted lines of Robert Frost. These lines came to mind while I was planning my backpacking trip from my previous post. As I researched the areas and trails that I wish to explore I came to realize that hiking the trails was not what I wished to do. I wished to explore the forest. While this may sound like the same thing there are many glaring differences. The first difference arose when I found out how my travelling companion is viewed. As I wrote, this is to be a journey of me and my dog, Lily. Lily is not an add on to the trip. She is part of the trip. However I have discovered that trail hiking has a phrase called “dog friendly”. This means these prepared paths through the forest may, or may not allow dogs. And most of the ones that do allow dogs require the dogs be leashed. I do not mind putting a leash on Lily when there are other people around who might be bothered or dangerous situations she might get into, such as highways. But when I am truly in the forest Lily is not an animal added on to me to be tethered by a strap. She is my companion. In this she should be free to enjoy the forest in her way as much as I am. For her, this includes being unleashed to explore the smells and sights beyond the length of a leash. As I contemplated this situation something else occurred to me. And it had to do with the road “less traveled by”. I realized I didn’t want to take the road less traveled by. I don’t want to take “the road” at all. I have taken roads, paths and trails all my life. I want to wander the forest. Not just the parts that someone else has decided should be traveled by. So my journey will not be by the North Country Trail or any trail except that which my feet make. While I may start on a trail leading from the place I will be required to park my car I will soon depart the trail and travel the forest. I believe this shall make “all the difference”.
It’s been a while. I haven’t felt like posting. You might say I just settled in for a long winter’s nap. Day to day in the winter is pretty routine at the cabin. And my daughter came home to visit for a week so I stayed back at the house.
But now it’s time to start making plans and preparations. The plan is for an extended hiking trip in the Allegheny National Forest. Right now I am planning to make it an in-depth redoing of my 30 Days Living Off the Land I first did in 2010. The draft of it can be found here in Word format exclusively for my Pithole.com visitors. This document is exactly the same as the original blog. I am working on publishing it on Amazon when rewritten so it is not yet for sale. I will combine the previous information with a 30 day trek on the North Country Trail through the Allegheny National Forest. Just me, my dog and a backpack. Surviving as much as possible off of the land. Right now I am shooting for mid April. There are many good trout streams along the trail in addition to wild spring greens. Not to mention the northern part of the trail is along the shore of Allegheny Reservoir formed by Kinzua Dam. I will write more on the plans in next couple of months.
For the preparations I have already begun. I have just purchased a 70-100 L expandable backpack and a small tent. And I am walking the woods more each day to get in better shape.
The total distance of the trail inside the National Forest is 97 miles. It could be hiked in several days. I have not decided if I will go the entire length or just find several spots along the way to spend a week or so.
I have had a check-up and hopefully am in good enough shape for the trip. We will see how things work out. I will show the equipment I will be taking in the next few posts.
I got up early and headed back into the woods. I had a spot all set up with leaves and branches cleared yesterday. I saw two does. At about 10am I decided to go back to the cabin and check on Lily.
While at the cabin I went out on the porch to get some water. I looked into the woods and saw 5 does walking around. I watched for a while when I noticed trucks that passed out on the road slowed or stopped. Then they continued. I figured there must be deer out by the road too. I scanned with my binoculars and sure enough there were several deer. I figured they must all be does since the passing trucks kept on going.
Then I realized that I am in the woods every day. All I wanted today was meat so I could hunt just as easy from the cabin porch. The porch faces back into the woods. Whenever I went inside for lunch I took the curtains down and cleaned the windows so I can look out in the woods.
Right now I am eating lunch and hunting the woods through the front windows.
Based on the many times I have watched deer through this window I see no reason why I couldn’t spot a deer now. I check the other windows every once in a while but I have seen the most deer in this direction. I left my gun out on the porch. If I spot a deer I’ll head out there to check it out.
My daughter came home to visit but it was November 1st. She still wanted to carve pumpkins. So we spent an afternoon shooting all the guns I have (except those lost in that unfortunate boating accident), and her compound bow. Plus we carved pumpkins and put them at the end of the driveway.
Speaking of writing, my Dad, who recently passed away, had written a book back in 1991. So I just finished digitizing it and it is now available on Amazon Kindle.
It’s called I Would If I Could But I’m Wood. It is a fictionalized story of his experiences as an United Methodist Minister as told by a church pew. That’s right. First it is a tree being cut down then made into a pew.
Click the book cover to read a sample.
Coming soon. My Dad’s writings about his childhood growing up in Western Pennsylvania called Ramblings: When I Was A Kid.