Robert had a few extra days off this week, so we decided to take a family road trip. I researched western Pennsylvania, since it looked big, was full of state forests for letterboxing, and didn't seem too far from eastern Connecticut. Big it was, forested but nearly boxless, and 8 hours of straight driving is too far for a 4 year-old to sit in a car seat.
Perhaps there are different laws here in Connecticut regarding state forests, but the state forests in Pennsylvania are ugly. They are sprinkled with houses, railroads, dilapidated buildings, and mini oil derricks! It was also hunting season, so pickups with gun racks were in abundance on the side of the road. We picked up 4 boxes total, over three days, two of them in large towns. Only two, sad, little, lonely boxes out in the woods. I forget sometimes how spoiled we are in Connecticut. I did see some partridge berries on the ground, along with something my family calls princess pines. We used to gather them when I was a kid to make holiday wreaths.
If you ask Gillian, she will tell you she loved Pennsylvania. I carefully chose hotels with indoor pools and she got to try out her new inflatable child's travel bed. She was thrilled with the half-inch of snow that had fallen one night, and made the most of our stop at a park to find a box. There was a playscape, a pond, a beach, and geese, and she made a quick fairy house with buttercups that were confused by the unseasonably warm weekend. Robert and I lamented on the money and time we spent, feeling cheated, until we listened to Gillian recount how much fun she had, then we felt better.