Sunday, July 26, 2009

North of Harrisburg

Tim, Jaqi and I walked out of the Harrisburg area on Sunday, July 12, and the next day we were in Duncannon, a town through which a short stretch of the Appalachian Trail runs. We enjoyed this mural depicting the area including the daily hikers.

We met these great hikers at the Doyle Hotel, and shared stories of the road. We would've shared a beer or two but it was hot and we still wanted to walk a few miles.

Later that week I walked a portion of Route 11 that made me furious because the new four-lane limited access highway cuts whole towns off from the beautiful Susquehanna River. Why are the needs of high speed travelers and truck drivers more important than the lifestyle of the folks that live right there, in the little river towns?

I asked a young Mennonite man what he and his people thought of the highway. He smiled gently and said, "We don't like it." I saw many horse carts and bicycles along the shoulder of the road and they seemed so vulnerable with the huge semis hurtling by.

I had to admire the Mennonite homes I walked by, with their wonderful gardens, full of vegetables and flowers - very little lawn. Many of the houses displayed beautiful handmade quilts for sale. I couldn't help thinking that they are living a much more sustainable life than most Americans: no electricity, bicycles, homegrown food. We're lucky to have them around because we can learn much from them even if we don't adopt all of their ways.

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