0016 Camping in Highspire (USA 016—new)

Highspire Travel Blog

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Day 007: 3 hours, 4.9 kms

Two days go by, and then I have another opportunity to slip into my Minstrel Mode.  This time I opt to got to anotherHarrisburgsuburb just a few miles away.  It’s a pre-visited town that, like Mechanicsburg and York might serve as a link to my other life.

Memories of Highspire

As soon as I park my car onMain Streetand immediately the memories flood back.  It was April of 2004, I was coming back from a solo trip to Central America and I landed at the Harrisburg Airport.  I remember that I was still feeling adventurous, so instead of renting a car or asking someone for a ride, I decided to hike to the city, camp overnight in the woods somewhere and catch the bus to Chambersburg the next morning—just to milk my adventure to the very last drop… and of  course, save some money!  Here’s what happened…

So I headed east to Middletown, a peaceful little village that doesn’t feel like a suburb, they I took a country road that wound past country homes, forests and industrial complexes.

  Finally I found a quiet spot tucked in the forest where I could camp out for the night. 

It was cold and uncomfortable, but I felt that I was sending a very important message to myself:  I can be a rugged adventurer, not only far across the ocean, but also right near my hometown… and I’m not going to ask favors of people while travelling unless I really really have to.

In the pre dawn hours, it was to cold to sleep, so I got up and started walking, and soon found myself in the quaint little village of Highspire with a one block long Main Street with a bank and a church on it.  It was a heartwarming discovery it the still of the night… a feeling that only someone who has wandered alone in the night and discovered something new can understand.

From there I continued on down a ridge to the town of Steelton, an eclectic old industrial city along the river, with the rusted remains of a giant steelworks plant on the left, a steep hillside on the right, and a shabby Main Street with funky little shops catering to people of different ethnicities, lifestyles and ideologies… Then I continued hiking on up Cameron Street to Harrisburg, got on a bus and headed home.

Back to the Present

So that was my original Highspire experience.  And now as I stroll through the town, I try to absorb the significance of that little adventure.  I think it was an important deliberate “toughening” experience, showing that you don’t have to be far from home to have an adventure.

But today is just going to be a lazy summer stroll, with a pause for an ice cream at the end ofMain Streetand a quick video clip in front of an abandoned house and another in front of a big grain elevator.

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photo by: nathanphil