The adventure below is the latest in a series sharing my quest to explore Pennsylvania by visiting each of the sixty-seven county seats and eating a hot dog while in town.

In 2003 Governor Ed Rendell designated 2 million acres of Pennsylvania (larger than nine states) as Pennsylvania Wilds. Pennsylvania Wilds3  The idea was to protect the natural resources and generate an economic turnaround in the area. Pennsylvania Wilds includes the following four counties we have already visited: Lycoming-Williamsport, Clarion-Clarion, Jefferson-Brookville, Clearfield-Clearfield.

Pennsylvania Wilds2  Today we visit the very heart of Pennsylvania Wilds as we travel into Cameron County and its county seat of Emporium. Upon arrival we find ourselves nestled in the mountains around the West Branch of the Susquehanna River and Sinnemahoning Creek (say that three times in a hurry)in the Bucktail State Park Natural Area within the Pennsylvania Wilds. Emporium14  This is gorgeous unspoiled country. (Only about 4% of Pennsylvania’s population lives in the 2 million acre Pennsylvania Wilds.)

Driving from St Marys in Elk County to Emporium on Route 120 I began noticing the road signs that assured me I was in a unique area of Pennsylvania. emporium15  There just aren’t that many “Elk” signs in the rest of the state.

I found a great place to stop in Emporium when I walked into the Cabin Kitchen and Bakery. Emporium6  The place has the perfect decor for a restaurant in The Pennsylvania Wilds. Emporium11Emporium10  The gals staffing the place were also fantastic. Somewhere, in my conversation with Kayla, who is majoring in Dental Hygiene, I mumbled that I was used to getting stares from folks. She must have passed that statement on to Caressa who assured me the next time she came out of the kitchen, “We’re non-judgment.” I could stay here a long time!!Emporium9

Lori, Stephanie and Kayla posed for a selfie with me. Emporium12  While I was adjusting the shot Lori blurted out, “I should have put make-up on this morning.” Well, Lori you look fine. While I was enjoying my hot dog Caressa shared with me that she had phoned the boss and the boss was giving me my lunch for free. I really could have stayed here a long time!! Thank you all for a most pleasant lunch. You are great.

I did have to keep moving so I reluctantly left the Cabin Kitchen and Bakery with its wonderful staff to continue my journey along Route 120.

One note of interest: Emporium is the place where the flagstone used at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Washington D.C. was quarried.

I promised I would explore an Elk viewing trail in a previous blog so I turned right at Driftwood on to Route 555 toward Benezette. Along the way I stopped on the road to respectfully walk onto someone’s property for this picture.  Emporium5  I can’t help it, I believe it is genetic!

Tom Mix, the silent movie cowboy was born along this road Emporium18  at a place called Mix Run which isn’t on the map. I don’t know if Tom was named after the stream or the stream was named after him or his family!

After a beautiful drive I arrived at the Elk County Visitors Center Emporium4  where I had an encounter with an Elk. Emporium3   I don’t know who was more surprised!

There are lots of steel girder bridges still in evidence along Route 120 for the railroads and the highways. Emporium2  I think these classic bridges are really neat! I remember in another life time walking across one of these bridges that had an open grate roadway. I confess that it was a bit frightening walking across that bridge watching the creek below bubbling over the rocks. It was especially intense because I only weighed about forty pounds. No kidding, I was so thin I had to walk past twice just to cast a shadow. Fortunately, I had big feet which prevented me from slipping through the open grates.

See you next time.