Yep, you read that right. After a restless night, with my knee injury, I realized I should probably seek professional help. My friend Couch to Trail suggested that I should get a ride out. “Why don’t you call JZ?” After sitting in my tent for an hour or so, I succumbed and made the call. JZ was more than accommodating, especially due to the fact, he was just waking up. I slowly, ever so slowly packed up my belongings and gimped over to the parking lot. Within a few minutes, my ride was here.
JZ is one of the kindest souls I’ve met out here. He suggested that we first go to the Urgent Care. Dang it, that’s number two person that’s thinking the same thing I’m wondering. Ends up there’s one that he’s heard about, on the way. We stop in and I’m the only one in the Lobby. What’s the chances of that? Looks like they will see you right away. Love these small towns and their efficiency.
The Doc is an Ultramarathon Runner. I am starting to think this State of Pennsylvania is the fittest state next to Colorado. He pokes and prods at my knee, irrigates the snot or dirt out of it, and comments on the inflammation. I don’t think you need a stitch, but being you haven’t had a Tetanus for over 10 years, you’re due for that. Also, I want an X-ray to make sure you didn’t crack your kneecap! Say what? That would be the end of this little adventure.
The nice lady comes in and she takes some photos. The last one in a doozie as I lay on my belly and bend my knee. That’s not happening. This is when I realize I have really done something wrong. She props my leg up and takes the X-ray. I roll off the table with very little grace, and wait.
The Nurse comes in and gives me my Tetanus Shot. That was painless. She’s really good, or has had a lot of practice. Shortly afterwards, the Doc returns. He has good news. All looks fine with my knee, my knee cap, just the normal arthritis that we get when we do what we do. That’s the best news ever. He does suggest that I take a couple of days off as the Rocks in Pennsylvania are “No Joke!” And he prescribes me Doxycycline as a preventative for Lyme Disease. He states that this is the number one area for Ticks and Lyme. I’ll take the meds! The plan is, if in fact I get a tick embedded in my skin, I remove it immediately, and take two pills. If after 5-10 days I get a low grade fever, rash, headache or anything that suggests it was an infective tick, I take the rest of the pills for 2 weeks. Seems a bit overkill but Lyme Disease is one of the fastest growing illnesses in these parts. Something like Pickleball is to me, Lyme Disease is to Doctors. It’s not anything to mess around with!
Once I’m discharged, my new friend JZ drives me to CVS Pharmacy to get my preventative prescription. I pick up some Vitamin I, also known as Ibuprofen, and we are off again. JZ shows me the finest parts of his county and we arrive at his Homestead near Dauphin.
1985, before the internet, JZ was looking for land. He wanted something that backed up to USFS Property where he had no real neighbors, just the critters and birds. After looking through real estate magazines, he landed on this parcel. He originally bought 25 Acres, but eventually purchased the adjacent 25 Acres. It’s quite the place.
He built his home, as his Dad was a Framer and learned much from him. JZ had friends that helped him with the electrical and plumbing. It’s a beautiful log cabin, with wrap around porch and all the wildlife you can handle.
As I sat outside, I can’t tell you the countless variety and species of birds. They flock to his bird feeders and water bowls, like a sanctuary. He’s the modern day Noah, as they seem to know him by name. His daily purpose is caring for the wildlife, that seems to never cease.
Around 5pm, JZ’s bother Jim and his friend Jim came over for dinner. JZ did all the cooking. BBQ Chicken, Asparagus and Small Potatoes. I found a box of Spiced Pumpkin Cake in the cupboard and made dessert. For all of you who know me, this is not my forte. I’m not by any stretch a baker but I did the best I could. We sat around and shared stories of our travels, talked a bit about Vanguard Money Market Accounts, and when am I going back to the trail. Dinner was great and the men stayed late talking Man-Talk. I retired to the kitchen and do what I do best. Clean-up after a wonderful feast of food!
I had some sleep to catch up with so after the guys left, JZ watched some Women’s Basketball. I attempted but decided by 8:30pm, I was ready for bed. The circadian rhythms are very pronounced in the woods. I wake up at the crack of dawn, and when the moon comes up, I am looking for a place to lay my head. It works well for me, and it seems to support my hiking habit too.
Last night, a bear showed up. It attempted to knock down one of the bird feeders. I guess they want to be fed too. It’s a common occurrence around here. JZ wasn’t surprised. There’s a bear that frequents his property but the difference between the Pennsylvania Black Bears and the Tahoe Black Bears, they don’t try to break into your house. This Bear and others are quite content with finding whatever they can outside and going back to their dens, caves or whenever they lay their heads. These are good mannered and well-behaved bears out in these parts of the woods.
Day Two: I’m just sitting around the cabin today, ice pack on my knee and watching the birds and deer hang out. JZ is playing Basketball with his buddy’s. He plays 2-3 times a week. Ends up that basketball has been his game since high school. We all have our sport or two, maybe three, so it’s his thing! Along with backpacking every long-distant trail you can name. He’s definitely beat me at that!
So the game plan is…Come Sunday, JZ will take me back to the trail. I will be overjoyed to get backpacking again and make my way to Port Clinton. From looking at my FarOut App, the trail continues on the Ridgeline for the most part. The next 30-40 miles will be slow going until I can get my knee bending again. Just in time for the Real McCoy Rocks of Pennsylvania. I may be looking at Slackpacking options, for the last 100 miles of this fine state. I’ll let you know 🤔