Around the world–even in some of the countries most troubled by poverty or civil war or pollution–many thoughtful people are making a deep, concerted search for a way to live in harmony with each other and the earth. Their efforts, which rarely reach the headlines, are among the most important events occurring today. Sometimes these people call themselves peace workers, at other times environmentalists, but most of the time they work in humble anonymity. They are simply quiet people changing the world by changing themselves.
~ Eknath Easwaran, Your Life is Your Message: Finding Harmony With Yourself, Others, and the Earth
People say that modern life has grown so complicated, so busy, so crowded that we have to hurry even to survive. We need not accept that idea. It is quite possible to live in the midst of a highly developed technological society and keep an easy, relaxed pace while doing a lot of hard work. We have a choice.
~ Eknath Easwaran, Passage Meditation: Bringing the Deep Wisdom of the Heart into Daily Life
The morning of our first full day in the Raystown Lake area, we took our bicycles to a rail-to-trail and explored a little of the region. Wookie and Peanut had posh accommodations in a trailer attached to their mother’s bike. The rest of us had to pedal on our own. I think Little Wookie was a little disappointed. He had his own bike, complete with training wheels, with him on the trip to Pennsylvania, but it was thought he wouldn’t get far if he’d been allowed to ride on his own. He did get to ride on the road by the cabins eventually, and it’s true. He didn’t last long. Ten to fifteen minutes, tops. Which, now that I think about it, isn’t bad when you consider the attention span of a three-year-old.
I could tell you about the weather (it was warm for the mountains) and the ride (it was lovely), or about how the trail is also a road that we occasionally shared with vehicles with people on their way to fishing or hunting camps along the river. There were plenty of wildflowers in bloom, but the photo above is the best I can do because I didn’t bring the big camera with me. Just my phone.
I could tell you about the trail itself. It is the Broad Top Rail Trail. They reused an abandoned railroad right-of-way and railroad bridge (I posted a photo of the bridge in this post), and the entire trail is 10.6 miles. The railroad that used to be there was the H&BT (the Huntingdon & Broad Top), chartered in 1852 for the purpose of transporting coal from Broad Top Mountain. Coal mining on Broad Top peaked during World War I. New forms of energy came along and by the end of World War II, coal mining was finished in that area. H&BT eventually went out of business completely sometime in the 1950’s.
I found the bit about coal mining interesting given the promises of the current occupant of the White House. He’s been making claims that coal has made a comeback under his watch but like most of what he says, it’s mostly lies. It was actually at a new low two years after the man took office.
Because it was the part the boys liked the most, I’m reposting (just above) the photo of the bridge. After releasing them from the confines of the trailer (and it IS confining with all the straps and buckles plus the bike helmets they had to wear), they had a grand time running around on the bridge, looking down at the river, and just being free of the trailer.
It is a pretty cool bridge.
You can’t travel with boys (especially grown-up boys) and not go look at trains or ride a trolley. That is how we spent our Sunday morning, at the Rockhill Trolley Museum whose claim to fame is that they are Pennsylvania’s first operating trolley museum. Next door to the trolley museum is the East Broad Top Railroad, a complete and original railway (including original locomotives and cars), which is no longer operating although there is a group trying to get it back into operation. There is an interesting story about it.
The East Broad Top (EBT) Railroad is a steam-powered, narrow gauge railway. It was closed in 1954 and then purchased by the Kovalchick Salvage Corporation in 1956. Oddly, the company did not scrap and salvage the railway. It sat for about four years until the twin towns of Orbisonia and Rockhill celebrated their bicentennial. They asked if the Kovalchicks would put one of the trains out for display during the celebration. Nick Kovalchick went above and beyond by fixing four miles of the track and two of the locomotives, and ran train rides for several months that summer. The Kovalchicks continued to run train rides every summer until 2011. A group called the East Broad Top Preservation Association (EBTPA) had been working on acquiring the entire 33 miles of original track in order to run it as a heritage railroad, and another group, Friends of the East Broad Top (FEBT) are also working to preserve and restore the railway. As far as I can tell in my research efforts, the EBTPA no longer has any association with the EBT Railroad. A skeleton crew of paid staff and volunteers from the FEBT are currently maintaining the railroad. I hope they get it up and running someday. I do enjoy a good train ride.
We arrived at the Rockhill Trolley Museum for the first trolley ride of the day about 15 minutes early. Because we were early, and because I needed to use the loo, I got to do something the others did not.
As I was walking towards the restrooms that are located in one of the museum buildings, one of the trolley conductors approached me and began telling me about the museum, the trolleys, and the East Broad Top Railroad. Maybe I impressed him by knowing that the East Broad Top Railroad was a narrow gauge railroad. Maybe I had the look of a journalist with the camera around my neck. Or maybe it was my good looks (ha!).
Whatever the case, when I came out of the restroom, the conductor asked if I’d like a quick tour of the place, including a look at car 315, a Chicago interurban streetcar built in 1909 and used to transport passengers to the western suburbs of Chicago until 1957.
Of course I said yes. There were no worries about the trolley leaving without me since I was with one of the conductors. I do wish we’d had time to get the rest of the group. M the Elder and Little Wookie would have really enjoyed the tour.
Car 315 is a beautiful passenger car. The wood is mahogany, the upper portion of the windows are stained glass. The round window you see towards the back is where the restroom is located.
I’ve probably bored some of you enough by now so I’ll wrap this up. We’ll board the trolley in my next post. Maybe. You never know what else might come up. But don’t say you didn’t get fair warning. I know not everyone is interested in trains and trolleys, and that a lot of you visit for the nature scenes. Not to worry. I’ll get back to that eventually.
Thank you for stopping by. I think we might actually get to see the sunset tonight. The clouds that have been hanging around appear to be moving out. There’s still a chance for rain later so we’ll have to wait and see. In any case, sunset is scheduled for 7:57 PM. I think it was on Wednesday, maybe Tuesday, that we had our last sunset after 8:00 PM this year. The days seem to grow shorter quickly (tomorrow’s daylight, for instance, will be 2 minutes and 9 seconds shorter than today’s). Let’s go out to the Point for the show and perhaps for a swim. It’s hot and humid again. A swim will feel refreshing and good.
Be good, be kind, be love. ♥♥♥
A few of the 10,000 reasons to be happy: 1,126) Friendly people. 1,127) Unfriendly people. They give us the contrast we need to appreciate the friendly people. 1,128) Teachers who provoke good questions and whose answers provoke even more good questions. 1,129) XPN.org in Philadelphia. They are broadcasting Woodstock as it occurred 50 years ago. It began yesterday at 5:07 PM with Richie Havens (who played a really good set!). It will be going all weekend, with breaks where there were breaks. It’s been really interesting to listen to them talk about it, too. The original Woodstock garnered a lot of myths and legends, some of which aren’t true or didn’t happen. (Richie Havens, for instance, said he played for three hours. He didn’t. But his Wikipedia page says he did.) 1,130) Hummingbirds and dragonflies outside my window. Which reminds me — I better go change the sugar water in the hummingbird feeder.