Sunday, November 29, 2015


You'd think that being on a three month walk-about would give me plenty of time to write, wouldn't you?    Being a tourist is hard work!  I spend time figuring out how to get around, which sights to see and when, where to find food and drink.  We walk a lot.  There seems to always be one more thing I want to see or experience.

From PP, the Babels took us to their village, Tany, in Kampot Province.  We were Khmer language students ( for one hour) during their weekly language class, and afterward were honored to have lunch with Lo Kru (teacher) at his house.  He wakes every morning at 3, drives his moto to the next village to pick up produce for his wife to sell at the local market; returns to deliver his wife and the goods; begins teaching English to high school students at 7; has a short break at 11 am, the teaches the rest of the afternoon.  And, he's raising chickens, too, in hopes of saving enough money to send his children to college.  Lo Kru, and his wife, served a delicious lunch of rice and soup and bamboo shoot salad, under the trees.  What a special treat!

Ed showed us the village clinic  where he helps with vaccinations, babies and just about anything that comes in.  His job includes pedaling his bike to 12 other villages to administer vaccinations and diabetes education. The clinic is bright, clean and organized.  Really remarkable clinic, in this remote location.

Deb took us on a tour of her high school, directly across the road from their house.  School is on semester break, making it look like a ghost town.  Deb has spent the past year helping set up a library in the school.  Hard for us US educated people to comprehend that there are no libraries in the schools!  The new library is cleaned, painted, stocked and the cataloged (mostly).  It was really exciting to see the result of the work!

I've decided to just post pics from here on.  I really don't like typing on this tiny keyboard.  I'll fill in stories when I return to my computer!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Weaving and Silk Island

Chontra and his tuktuk met us, with a smile, at 7:30.  The city has been awake for several hours already, getting chores done before it gets any hotter. He expertly weaves us through the center of the city, and soon we are crossing the Friendship Bridge across the Tonle Sap river.  The bridge was built in 1966, but was heavily bombed during the Khmer Rouge occupation from 1975-1979.  After the liberation from that hell, people began moving back to the city.  There was little money for food and certainly no money for infrastructure repairs.  In 1995, the Japanese people sent money and engineers to repair the bridge.  It is hard to imagine the city living without this bridge.

We motored along a wide street, filled with other tuktuks, some hauling people, but mostly hauling everything you can imagine.  We turned off the main road, into a Wat.   Because he's wearing shorts (not allowed inside),  Ed wanders off explore the river front, while we stare open-mouthed at the gold paint covering everything  connected to the Wat.   Inside the pagoda walls were coverd with bright, elegant paintings that presumably are used for teaching.   But this is what caught my eye:

Is this just too funny? Thanks, Deb Babel, for the photo!

Beside the pagoda, there is a man sitting in front of a richly decorated temporary structure, smoke coming from the top.  A funeral pyre.  Maybe the woman in the picture is the wife of the man sitting?  There are others, in chairs under a big tree close by, sitting quietly.

Stuart and Ed chat with two monks, who readily agree to a photograph.  Their english is great.

We continue on a back road, maybe it's paved.  Hard to tell.  We turn again, on an even narrower road between two shops, and there is the slope to the ferry to Silk Island.  It's a quick trip across the very-fast moving river, and the people are crowding down the ramp, even before the ferry arrives on this shore.  Chaos,  but everyone gets off/on pretty quickly.
Silk Island, according to something I read somewhere, many years ago was a "lady business" island for sailors coming and going on the lower Mekong river.  Beyond memory, the islanders were trained to grow silk worms, and weave cloth, which is what brings us to the island today.  Deb has a friend here,  a weaver, and we hope to find her.  Every house,  built on pilings under the trees, houses a weaving business. Looms and hammocks take most of the space under the houses.  We see small gardens, and emaciated white Cambodian cows tethered on short ropes, laundry hanging on anything sturdy enough to hold it, and small  children calling out, "HALLO!" when they see the foreigners pass.  Nary is not home, but Chantra knows where to find her, so we bump on down the road.  Everyone knows everyone on this small island, and the word travels fast that the foreigners are looking for Nary.  Several people stop us to give Chantra instructions, which require at least two phone calls with each stop.  All this is fine with me, I'm getting the grand tour of the island!

Eventually we connect with Nary, on the opposite end of the island.  I'm awfully impressed with her weavings, and wish I had more room in my backpack.  I bought a  couple of beautiful scarves, get hugs of appreciation from Nary and her sister, and head back to the ferry.  She follows us on her moto, stopping us to give Deb and me small silk bags.  What a day!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Easing into SE Asia

After two travel days, we arrived in Phnom Penh at midnight, local time.  It has taken longer to learn to spell PP.  I just looked it up.  Again.  Deb and Ed, our thoughtful friends, had a fruit plate waiting in our hotel room, knowing we'd be confused and need refreshment.  Surprisingly, we both slept well.  Forty eight hours in planes and airports and one hotel helped get us over jet lag in record time.  Our PP hotel, the Tea House, is run by an Aussie.  I'm convinced no one is ever home in Australia.  They are always traveling.  This, y'all, is the prettiest hotel we've ever stayed in!  Open air lobby, ceiling fans and  big, comfy couches flanked by greenery.  I barely know we are in a Big City.  And, a tile pool, with chairs and towels and waiters to bring me a drink!  The staff all young, beautiful, smiling, appear to be just waiting for me to need something.

After a delicious breakfast, we walked, to recover our land legs.   There are, in some
places in PP, very wide sidewalks, which are used as parking lots for the thousands and thousands of tuktuks and motos.  No one walks, apparently, in PP.  So, because the sidewalks are either full of parked motos and tuktuks, or, there are no sidewalks, we walked in the streets, stoppping to speak to about every tuktuk driver in this part of town.  "Hello, how are you?  Where you go?"  Unbelievably friendly, and eager  to talk to us, even if we're not going to give them our business.  And, they really want our business.  I'll write more later about the economy here, but people want to work.

Crossing a street is a dance.  Every driver, no matter the vehicle, just eases into where they want to go, crossing at any angle at an intersection. After watching, it reminds me of  weaving.  Larger vehicles  and smaller vehicles work well together, just by weaving their way.   The goal is to never come to a complete stop.  There are  almost no traffic lights in this city.  Really!  They would serve no purpose.  The Cambodians can teach the rest of the world a lot about being nice.  You hear very few honking horns, and see no impatience on the faces of either the drivers or the pasengers.

The Royal Palace is overly-gawdy to our westerneyes, but we recognize it's importance.  We'll see it later.   I get my first glimpse of the Tonle Sap and Mekong rivers on our walking tour.  Deb and Ed arrive in PP at noon, and we are delighted to see them.  Because they live in a tiny village in Kampot province, without any conveniences such as hot water, air conditioning, or a bakery for 100 miles, they are going to get their Big City fix in the next few days.  We had a great lunch, and hit the streets for a bit of orientation.

We had tickets for a sunset cruise on the Mekong river.  It was a perfectly delightful night, with a  bit of a breeze.  Drinks, laughter and a beautiful sunset.  What more can we ask?  How about dinner at the Foreign Correspondents Club?  Happy hour when we arrive, dinner of fish stew. Yummm!

The next day, we toured The Royal Palace.  It sits on the riverbank where the Tonle Sap and the Mekong rivers merge, and is lush behind the walls, with many  buildings and many Buddha statues.  We see the Emerald Buddha, and the golden footprint.  I hope my Buddhist friends will forgive my comments about Big Foot. We tour the Silver Pagoda, which is constructed of 5000 silver tiles, weighing one kilo each. Of course, the tile floor covered with carpet, so we have to imagine the silver.
This is a stupa.  Wats are filled with them, sort of like a family shrine.  Very ornate, always.  While the exposure here is not great, this stupa is more elegant than ornate.  

Deb's co-worker, a teacher, moonlights as a tuktuk driver, and Chondra picked us up early for our Silk Island trip.  But, that's another blog post!  I promise the posts will get better, I'm figuring out the  photo system with limited gear.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

The night before Cambodia

October 18, 2015

We're ready.  Our friends, Dan and Grace, who timed their sabbatical so perfectly to mesh with our trip, have arrived, and are settled in.  I love knowing the house will be useful to someone. And, it was the perfect push to make me clear some surfaces in my studio, to make room for them to work!

We'll travel first to Cambodia, where we'll meet our friends Deb and Ed in Phnom Penh.  After a few days in the Big City, they are taking us to their village.  I'm excited to see the projects they've been working on for the past year.  We'll all head to the coast for a few days, for some hiking and black pepper and seafood.  Back to work for them!, while Stuart and I travel a bit in Cambodia. Sally and Jess have been so helpful with their good note-taking skills while they were SE Asia last year, and I'm so looking forward to meeting Lucky, among other treasures.  If all goes well, I'll have pictures and stories in a few days.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Trail Tales -Hiking stories, summer 2015, part 2

The goal of our Summer 2015 Road Trip was to hike.  Hike as much as possible, every day, in places we had not visited before.  After a google for Best Hikes in the US, I found several trails listed in the Allegheny National Forest, in northwestern PA/southwestern NY.  We have a plan!  The other hikes and adventures on this walk-about were gravy.

From State College, we headed north and west, on a rainy day.  Our friend, Donna, who grew up in the heart of the ANF gave us great tips about trails and campgrounds.  We also had a book of trail descriptions, written by the local Sierra Club.  It's only out of date by 20 years, but still highly valued by local hikers.  We were armed and dangerous!  After much reading and consideration, we decided to find a cg in Sheffield, PA, in the heart of the ANF.  My notes:  "We pulled into Whispering Pines CG, and set up on Deer Lick Run.  Nice sound of water running over the rocks."  After a late lunch of leftovers, we drove to Kane, and discovered Bell's Meat Market.  Wow!  We're going to eat well this week!  More than twenty different house-made sausages, cheese, beef jerky and local vegetables.  We bought hot leek sausage, sweet leek sausage and andouille.  And, a piece of smoked copper cheese.  We'll be back!

Locally famous Bell's Sausage, in Kane, PA; the Kinzua Bridge; and the Kinzua Bridge after the Big Storm.

Dew Drop Run trail was high on my List, but we couldn't find the trail head.  After searching the back roads, we figured the trail had been abandoned.  So, we crossed the reservoir and found the trail head for the Rim Rock trail.  After heavy rains for the past few days, part of that trail was washed out, making for mucky exploring.  We turned back, and spent a delightful hour exploring the giant conglomerate rock formations and the ice vents. We see lots of Indian pipe plants, many different mosses and lichens.  That night, tired and happy, we enjoy the creek and some mighty fine sausages and local corn cooked on the grill.  And, a couple of adult beverages!
Stuart, in the Heart's Content Old Growth Trail.
The result of a heavy deer population, on the Morrison Trail Loop.

The rest of the week was equally good.  The rain was persistent, but we managed to hike almost every day.  Morrison Trail Loop.  The once-mighty Kinzua Bridge Skywalk.  Timberdoodle Interpretive Trail.  Hector Falls, after one false start (see previous blog post to find this pretty, secret gem).  Heart's Content - the Old Growth Trail, then the Tom's Run Loop.  Time exploring the ANF, from north to south, and the small towns that survived the long-gone logging days.  It's a beautiful area, we'll go back.  Wayne and Ann, at Whispering Pines cg are terrific hosts!

We hook up, raining again, and head north and vaguely east.  Just south of Corning, NY we find State Line Camping Center, where we stopped for an electrical repair on the Cottage.  Annetta and her team were so friendly, and after some serious head-scratching, found the problem.  She sugggested we'd like the Corps of Engineers cg close by, and we hurried to Ives Run cg, on the dammed lake.  A bike ride, after setting up, and time for yet another delicious dinner cooked on the grill.  Sunshine, finally!  The nights have been cold enough to sleep under two quilts, and tonight, we can finally use our furnace.  Y'all, it's August, this is just not right.

Corning, NY is home of the Corning Glass Museum.  After passing through this area several times, we finally spent a day at the incredible museum.  Go.  Don't miss this!  We could have spent another day, but we were saturated with beautiful glass art and great technical demonstrations.  A beer at the unfriendly downtown brewery, a quick stop at the local Wegman's, and back to the pretty Ives Run cg.  We are staying on the Hickory Loop, but next time here, we'll stay on the Pine Loop (boondocking).

Works by three contemporary artists...I'm so sorry I didn't make note of their names; and the famous dragonfly lamp, designed by Clara Driscoll, for Mr. Tiffany.

The Grand Canyon of PA.  Yep, it's well worth the drive!  We hiked down to the river, after walking to the look-outs at the top.  We climbed 900' down (we had to return!), past several pretty waterfalls, and are wishing we had more days here.  The bike trail along the river is flat, wide and pretty.  Next trip...

On the trail, half-way down to Pine Creek;  view of the Grand Canyon of PA from the top.

The Susquehana River is not very healthy, in spite of hard work over the past few years.  A century of mining has created a horribly poisoned river.  There are big efforts underway, but the repair will take decades.  We drive south, stopping in Willamsport, home of the Little League Hall of Fame.  It's a depressing little town, and we keep moving.  We spend the night at the Ferryboat Campsites, in Liverpool, PA.  A century-old ferry still makes the river crossing, the last ferry working this river.   It's hot, the cg is full, we enjoyed dinner cooked on the grill.  Those Bell's sausages are treating us well! 
Car ferry, with a front porch, on the Susquehana River, Liverpool, PA.

We're going to visit Amy and Glenn in New Holland.  I found a cg in Intercourse that looks good.  A tire blow-out on the Cottage side-lined us for a couple of hot hours, soon after we left Liverpool, but thanks to AAA, we were soon back on the road.  Our campsite over looks a couple of cornfields, and we enjoy a quiet night, watching the fireflies. We enjoyed a few days here:  lunch at the Federal Taphouse in Lancaster, home of 100 beers; a gym visit (no hiking here); a great catch-up with our friends Amy and Glenn, in New Holland; the amazing Choo Choo museum (Really.  Go.  The miniatures are amazing.); Stolzfus meat; a new tire for the Cottage.  No *&^% buggy tours for us.

Barn raising miniature at the Choo Choo museum; quilt art, Amy Smith (patterns available!).

Michelle and Mamacita are in Philadelphia, visiting family.  So, we head for Clarksboro, NJ for a few days, to catch up with them.  It's a lovely, sort-of-rural area, and I enjoy a nice bike ride the first afternoon.  While riding, I found a farm market, where the nice man gave me a small sprig of basil for the tomato pie I wanted to cook for dinner.  The next morning, Michelle and Mamacita cooked a perfectly terrific breakfast of huevos rancheros, tocino,friholes,  melon y aquacate.  Oh, my, a feast!  We laughed and talked for several hours, before big hugs and a good-bye.  See you next winter in Oaxaca!  Afterward, with very full stomachs, Stuart and I drove into downtown Philly.  Oh.  My.  Goodness.  Ever try parking a Bigass Truck in downtown Philly?!?  Karma, to the rescue.  Just as we pulled into a full lot, one block from Chinatown, some people were leaving their parking space.  They gave us their $24 parking pass, and their space!  We stopped in the well-used, well-run National Park Visitor's Center for advice, and left with maps and a plan of attack.  Today:  the Liberty Bell, and the house where Mr. Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence.  We were both surprised at how emotional we were when we saw the Liberty Bell and exhibit.  We'd walked more than 25 blocks, and it's time to rest our feet, so with advice from a local, we head to the river, and the bar at Morgan's Pier.  What a great day!

Just one of the more than 300 murals in Philadelphia; mosaic art, close to Jim's Cheesesteaks.

I loved this window at a men's shop in downtown!  We met the window-dresser, who invited us into the shop.  Of course, I bought some wonderfully colorful socks.

The next morning, we steeled ourselves for the drive back into downtown, found a parking space we could get the Bigass Truck into, and got early tickets to see Independence Hall.  Elegant building, so much history, pompous ranger docent.  Afterwards, we spent the day wandering in downtown, enjoying the architecture and sights, including the wonderful Mural Project.  Following a map from the Visitor's Center, we saw about 2 dozen murals, listening to the phone for a little background for each one.  If I ever get back to downtown Philly, I'll see a few more of the more than 300 murals.  Really!  We loved the Gaylorhood.  Buildings with tiles and mirrors, oh my!

When in Philly, you must eat a cheesesteak sandwich, and several local people advised us to go to Jim's, at 4th and South.  Avoid the other, touristy places.  The line snaked around the corner, and the 45 minute wait was worth it.  Great sandwich!  But, J Michael's in Wilmington,NC is equally good!  Stuart was a great sport, and walked with me on Fabric Row.  It was a bit depressing.  Many of the fabulous, old fabric shops are no longer in business.  Those remaining are selling gorgeous men's suitings, and fancy laces, neither of which are on my List.  I bought a piece of nice linen, for dyeing.

We left home a month ago, and have hiked or biked many miles.  A wonderful summer trip, with a vague itinerary.  What fun, but it's time to drive south!  We often take the Eastern Shore route, spending a night in Pokamoke, at the Lake Somerset cg when heading north or south.  It's quiet, and convenient.  The temps have returned to summer-in-the-south normal, and I'm grateful for air-conditioning at night.  We drive across/through the Bay Bridge/Tunnel, and blow another Cottage tire outside Suffolk.  So, we spend the night at another favorite cg: Davis Lakes.  We will replace ALL the old tires while we're in Suffolk!  We get a swim in the lake, clean the Cottage, and a bike ride for me.  Home tomorrow.  I'm missing Gracie cat.  What a great summer trip!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Trail Tales - summer 2015 hiking stories, part 1

We hitched up the Cottage to our new truck in late June, and headed north.  Our first stop for a few days: Lake Gaston, VA, where our friends Bonnie and Mark were spending the summer.  Nice cg, on the lake, where we visited last summer for some kayaking and catfish suppers, and this stop, time with our friends.  Stuart and I picked wild briarberries (blackberries) on the Heritage Tobacco Trail between Brodnax and LaCrosse, VA.  It was a typically hot summer day, but the trail is shady in places, and we had a nice walk.

In an earlier century, Stuart's mother graduated from Longwood Normal School, now Longwood College, in Farmville, VA.  I'd never been there, and we headed there from Lake Gaston.  We parked the Cottage in the vacant parking lot for the stadium at the University, and rode our bikes through the small town, touring the campus and finding the original buildings Anna Vries probably had classes in.  It's a pretty campus, and the downtown looks vibrant and interesting.  I'd love to return, and bike to the old Saylor's Creek Bridge on the rails-to-trails path, and see the State Parks in the area.  Driving on after a picnic lunch on the campus, we found a bare-bones cg just outside of Appomatox Courthouse, where we set up for the night.  The Appomatox National Park, and the house where Lee surrendered to Grant is just 3 miles down the road from the cg, so we get on our bikes for the short ride.  It's a beautiful, rolling hills place, full of emotion from 150 years ago.  Our National Park interpreter led us through the history of the days just before the surrender, giving details and asking us to imagine the scene.  We walked through the small town of Appomatox Courthouse, seeing the restored buildings and imagining life there.  We biked through Grant's headquarters, just over the ridge from the Courthouse, and past several small graveyards. The cold beer back at the cg was so good, it called for another!  Chicken and chorizo and corn stew for dinner.  Yumm yumm!
On the steps of the house where the surrender was finalized.

One night in Appomatox was enough, and we were on the road by 9:30 the next day, heading for Charlottesville.  Even though we have gps, I still managed to make a wrong turn off US 29, onto a single lane paved road that appeared to be someone's very long driveway.  I had to back the Cottage about .5 mile, backing onto US 29. Wow.  The KOA in C'ville is the only cg in town, and is a few easy miles out of town.  We found a pretty site, and set up facing the woods.  We spent the afternoon enjoying the pedestrian-only downtown where we had pho noodles for lunch.  The UVA campus Stuart spent four years on is no longer in sight:  it has been replaced with many buildings and parking lots and beautiful lawns and a bajillion cars.  Try as we might, we couldn't find a place to leave the Bigass Truck long enough to take a walk.  We gave up the battle with traffic and found a gym for a late afternoon workout.  The chops on the grill for dinner were better than any we've ever cooked, accompanied by birdsong and rustling leaves.  The nights have been cool enough to leave the windows open, so not-normal for early July!

A yarn-bombed deer, downtown Cville; a stump-table at our campsite outside of C'ville.

Monticello. My most favorite house and gardens in the whole world.  We arrived mid-morning, and found a new (to us) Visitor's Center and many parking lots.  We bought tickets for the house tour, and boarded a bus up the Little Mountain, after paying our respects to Mr. Jefferson's statue.  He was a remarkable man, in many ways, and left incredibly detailed notes about his many curiosities.  In particular, I love his gardens, and his endless experiments and observations.  We spent most of the day on his Little Mountain, in his house and gardens, which made me very happy.

The vegetable gardens at Monticello; Stuart and me with Mr. Jefferson's likeness.

After a shower and change of clothes, we headed back downtown to South Street Brewery, where we might have been the only people on the planet who were not watching some kind of ball game on the tvs.  But, the beers were good, and I have a t-shirt to document the visit!  We then walked in the twilight a few blocks to Orzo Kitchen, where we had a truly marvelous dinner.  I had a wonderful mac-and-cheese, that was nothing like the mac-and-cheese picture that just popped into your head.  This dish had chunks for browned pork betlly, sauteed greens, garlic, peppers and onions, lovely local cheese and house-made breadcrumbs.  Oh, a little pasta.  It was heavenly!  We walked through downtown a bit, before heading home to sit outside and think about the nice day.

Winchester, VA or bust!  We drop the Cottage in a storage lot on the edge of town, and feeling strangely light-weight, we drove over the mountain to Capon Bridge, WV, where we happily spent a few days with our friends Julie and Drew on their little mountain overlooking the Cacapon River.  Julie cooked a great dinner - chicken and pasta, and we enjoy the evening on their peaceful back porch, plenty of wine in the fridge!  Julie is a docent for the Nature Conservancy's Ice Mountain, a geological curiosty close to their house.  I love hiking there, and she takes us up there.  We explore the ice vents and rare plants along the river, then hike up to Raven's Rock ridge for an eagle's view of the valley.  I hope this place remains undiscovered and undisturbed.
Stuart and Julie at Raven's Rock.

A peaceful visit at Julie and Drew's house is like medicine for the soul, but we must move on.  Because it's the 4th of July weekend, we had to make reservations for three nights at a cg in Hancock, MD.  So, we reluctantly head back to Winchester, hook-up the Cottage and find a supermarket before heading a little further north.  Hancock is on the Potomoc River, in the little pinched-up part of MD, and really should be a part of VA.  Or, WV.  The Happy Hills cg is far out of the small town, in abandoned fruit orchard country, beautiful rolling hills. The C&O canal and towpath , and the B&O rail trail both run through here.  So much history!  The canal and railroad were begun on the same day in 1858 (so the local story goes), and it was a race to the finish, with the winner earning all the transportation business in the area.  We drove over the mountain, stopping to admire the long views, to PawPaw, and to the engineering miracle C&O Canal tunnel.  The 3100 foot-long tunnel was dug under a mountain, to connect the canal and tow-path in this very mountainous area.  Thankfully, Julie had hiked this tunnel, and warned us to take a flashlight!

Stuart, at the south end of the C&O Canal Paw Paw tunnel; inside the tunnel, looking south.

Today, the canal is dry in some places, but the tow-path is maintained and well-loved by hikers and bikers.  Many of the locks built to navigate the canal are long-since rotted, but there is a small museum just outside of Hancock at one of the former locks.  We enjoyed a long visit on the front porch of the lock-keeper's house, with the docent and his grandson.  They talked about the history of the area orchards, and of winter ice storms and floods. That day, we were biking the B&O rail trail just outside of Hancock, which runs beside the C&O canal, and runs all the way to Washington, DC.  
 Stuart, at a C&O Canal lock, just outside Hancock, MD.

After a nice 4th of July long weekend of hiking and biking and a great history lesson on the C&O Canal and B&O Railroad, a country-music band at the cg, and fireworks, it was time to move.  We headed towards State College, PA.  I want to visit my old friend, Lois, who is living in memory-care facility.  She looks great, and for a moment, I believe she knew me.  No matter, she was happy and we had a nice visit.  Later, she told her daughter, my friend Barbara, that an old high-school classmate had dropped by for a visit!  Stuart and I enjoyed a couple of days in State College, sampling one of it's breweries and the downtown farmer's market, while "glamping" at the Ft. Bellafonte cg.  Nice place, quiet, no frills, great for big rigs, easy access to the city.  It's a nice city, all about the University.  Too cold for me in the winter!
Lois and me, in State College, PA.

Next stop:  The Allegheny National Forest!

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Directions to Hector's Falls, Ludlow, PA

Our hosts at the Whispering Winds cg in Sheffield suggested we'd like the walk to a local secret:  Hector's Falls, in the heart of the Allegheny National Forest.  The short hike will take you to  a little jewel, and a geological curiosity.  There are several websites that talk about the curious rock formation.  There are no signs, and without instructions, you'll never find it.  Here are the instructions to find it!

Get to Ludlow.  From either Warren or from Sheffield, you'll be on US route 6.  In Ludlow, turn off the main road onto either Hillside Drive (there is a brown sign pointing you towards Tionesta), or at the sort-of "Y" intersection at Water Street.  Turn onto Scenic drive, and cross the railroad track.  You're less than one mile off Rt. 6.  The pavement ends just beyond the railroad track, and you're now on Forest Road 133.  Drive 1 mile from the railroad track on the dirt/gravel road.  Turn right onto Forest Road 258, another dirt road.  Drive 2.2 miles to Forest Road 258 H, on the left.  Here you'll find room for about 4 vehicles to park; don't block the road.  Walk about one-half mile on Forest Road 258 H, take the left fork going downhill slightly.  At the grassy area around the blue gas company pump, veer right to find the trail through the forest.  You'll hear the falls!  The round trip is less than 2 miles.  Lovely, curious, peaceful.

 Thanks, Ann and Wayne!