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In between the jet lag and the tiny amount of sleep I got last night, I could simply NOT get my body moving this morning. I'd set the wake-up call for 9:00am.

Take 1: )
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It turns out that if you buy a plane ticket to LaGuardia Airport in NYC, the Universe could very well decide that it's high time you visited Allentown, PA.

Here's the sequence of events. )
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Hiking Log: Delaware Water Gap

I snagged a cab to a rental car agency, snagged a car, tossed in my luggage, and set off before 8 am for the Kittatinny Point Visitor Center at the Delaware Water Gap. (Are you aware of all the different ways one can slaughter the pronounciation of "Kittatinny"? I kept calling it "Kittaninny," for starters.) This was supposedly only two hours away, but I took the scenic route up HWY 611, where cellphones do not work. Eventually, I pulled into a cemetary at the top of a hill and managed to place a call to Karenina, who I was meeting, and a Park Ranger, who reassured me that I was heading in the right direction. Nothing like driving around a state you don't know without a map.

Successfully met up with Karenina and Max (her dog), and headed up a trail from the Farview trailhead. I'd wanted to hang out by the river, but Karen was so excited about finding actual wilderness so close to home (Jersey City), that we just grabbed the first trail we found and headed up the "mountain" toward the Appalachian Trail. It was beautiful in a very early spring way. Penn/New Jersey is about three weeks behind Washington, and the trees were just beginning to think about leafing out. When they do, this entire area is going to explode in green. As it was now, it was bare and serene, and we talked and walked for a few hours, seeing barely anyone else.

We headed back when we were down to a small amount of water and Max was panting, and caravaned to Jersey City an hour away. Jersey City is the perfect place to look at the NYC skyline, as it is directly opposite the harbor from Manhattan, and Karen lives in an 18th floor condo a block from the water. We pulled up, me only a little shaken from the traffic, and prepped to go do Manhattan that night.

New York, New York! )

Back to the woods. )
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I took photos of Karen with her cheeks bursting trying not to laugh; she took photos of me brushing tears of delirious laughter from my eyes. I bought a red wool hat, and she photographed me in a gaudily-painted bathroom because the stalls and walls exactly matched the color of my beautiful haberdashery purchase.

We started off heading up to the alpine in the North Cascades; by that night, we were off to the ocean, having changed our minds six times in four hours as to what we were doing. Getting lost and distracted didn't help. We didn't get strip-searched at the border, but the customs agent cagily tried to ask if we were lovers. Later, she pathetically asked me to come get the "big bugs" out of her tent. Poor grasshopper.

We argued amiably about foundations of relationships, compromise, love and growth, and ended up agreeing on everything. Her boyfriend called at least three times (on my cellphone--her cell had a dead battery); her mom called once. She was amazed that the snake painted on the back of my jacket (a work in progress) was both a product of my own hands, and a metaphor for a specific Taoist meditation. I was amazed at the depth of her perceptions on just about any topic, and how easily she knew if I didn't understand her.

We talked about botany, travel, statistics, nutrition, books, speed-reading methodology, Taoism, being Jewish, and hiking with complete satisfaction. We talked about thinking backwards, and compulsively turning license plates into words.

(You have to use the three letters in order. No! You should make that the first word, then scramble the letters to make another word. No! Just make a harder word! CLV is "cleave" and "Checkoslovakia." Or move on the the type of car. What word can you make out of "Pontiac"? Immediate answer: "caption." You've done that before! No...I only do license plates. This is your weirdness, you backward-thinker. Nuts we're. [And make sure you're pronouncing the syllables backwards, too].)

I left her in downtown Victoria to meet with her old friend, and wandered around alone listening to the buskers (violinist, bagpipers and some new-agey Peruvian guys on flutes). Bought some maple tea. Bought some vanilla tea. Bought a Chinese teapot-cup and a couple of feng shui mirrors.

[livejournal.com profile] sharkins called me there, inquiring about growing lime basil from seed. She was amused that I was being worn out by someone with more energy than me. I don't really see myself as frenetically energetic, but I guess other people do.

Every single car ahead of us got searched. But we, sweetness and innocence that we were, me with my "smart girl" wire-rimmed glasses on, Karen with her chipmunk-cheeked smile and brand-new blonde hair, were waved on with a tolerant smile after we confided that we were "grad school buddies."

Hanging around with a hyperactive crazy girl with ADD is quite the satisfactory weekend. God knows how many miles geographically we covered.

We started a journal for her: [livejournal.com profile] viva_karenina. She may never write in it, but at least she can read what I write about her.

Cow holy! I need to get to bed.

Night all.

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Jen Kleis

November 2014

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