The one time each year we miss living in Pennsylvania is during the fall. Autumn in Colorado is beautiful – don’t get me wrong – but it’s very one-toned. And that tone is yellow. So many of the trees native to the area – especially the aspens up high in the mountains – turn yellow. While it’s pretty, it gets a little boring compared to the vibrant mix of hues in the northeast that we grew up enjoying.
With the passing of our dog earlier in 2018 (sob, sniff), we had an opportunity to take a long-delayed trip back to Pennsylvania to catch some autumn colors and see some Penn State hockey. We hadn’t been back to central Pennsylvania since we left 5 years ago and we were incredibly anxious to get back.
Our trip was planned for early November based on the hockey schedule (more on that coming in a separate post), so we knew we might miss the fall foliage. Luckily for us, the unusually cold and wet fall weather delayed the leaves changing color! Score for us!! The drive out to Penn State was gorgeous, bursting with reds and oranges and browns (and yes, even some yellows). Although the sun was setting by the time we landed and got on the road, it was still sublime to see after being away for so long.
Though the main purpose of our trip revolved around the hockey games, we had tons of time to walk around Penn State and State College. The fall scenery in town and around campus was wonderful to see again. (Things on campus and in town changed A LOT since we were last there.) . We had hoped to go do some hiking in the hills, but the murky weather forecast foiled our hiking plans before we even got on the plane. Bummer.
To keep my packing light, I only had my phone with me to take pictures. That wasn’t hard to deal with. The biggest challenge for me was dealing with iffy weather and lighting the entire time we were outside. With that, I still bagged a few shots that reminded me of how much we love fall up there.
I snagged an updated shot of the campus bench I randomly captured back in fall of 2009. I think it may have even been the same bench on campus! (Why I remember these details, I have no idea.)
When we spent the night in State College during our drive out to Colorado for the move, the Nittany Lion Shrine was under construction. The platform under the statue and the surrounding area were being spruced up and we couldn’t access the area. Naturally, I had to get an updated shot during this trip now that the work is long since done. Things got a little tricky because, just as we walked up, a class of students arrived and were all around. I couldn’t really get into grabbing the interesting shots I normally try to get for variety in my collection, but no big. We were just happy to be there!
One day we had some time to hit the campus arboretum. The arboretum is new in the eons since we graduated, and it’s expanded quite a bit since our last visit.
With the crappy weather and lighting, a lot of my shots didn’t come out as I had hoped, but I did come home with one favorite. I think the cairns were my favorite shot because we see so many useful cairns while hiking in Colorado – along with not-so-useful/random cairns people stack to be cute along a trail. At least here there’s no risk of being misdirected into the wilderness by someone playing with stacks of rock!
We didn’t see a lot of sun during our trip (very typical of PSU weather), but it did finally make a brief appearance one morning after breakfast. The sun was in and out and fleeting at best. I lucked out that we happened to be walking by Old Main when the sun did appear and I got a couple of shots of the compass statue I’ve always liked.
It was so nice getting back to see fall scenery the way we so fondly remember it. Hopefully it won’t be 5+ years between trips next time!