Sunday, June 23, 2013

Into the Woods

This log was part of our campsite.  The kids had fun climbing on it.
This past week we had a family adventure of the camping sort.  Hyrum took a few days off work so we could miss the craze of weekend camping.  We woke up Wednesday morning to a lovely if not slightly cool morning.  It took us a bit to get on the road but we were off by 11 and after a quick stop to the store by noon we were picking our campsite.

The forest around us.  I love it, so lush and green.
Our campsite and the roasted corn we were eating for dinner!
We had wanted to camp in the Allegheny National Forest but due to some weather a couple weeks ago the swimming hole was closed.  Since swimming was high on the priority list, we decided to head to Raccoon Creek State Park.  We found a great camp site and pitched our tent and ate lunch.  I put Spencer down for a nap and the other kids and I headed down to the beach.

Hiking down to the beach.

It was only supposed to be a "wade then go back to camp" kind of trip, just to get the lay of the land so we could go swimming the next day.  Well Charlotte plopped herself down into the water necessitating a quick return to camp.  The kids were so excited to go swimming though.  Jonathan kept saying there was a party at the beach and he wanted to be a part of it. 

Our first trip to the beach.
Thursday morning we decided we'd go for a little hike and then hit the beach for swimming.  We set off on our hike and it became a little more of an adventure than we had planned on.  Hyrum carried Spencer in the kid backpack and the rest of us were on foot.  We started on a very wide path, maybe a single lane road kind of path.  It was mowed and followed the trail of a creek that drains into the lake.  We had a pair of binoculars so we had fun trying to see wild life through them.  We also had to convince Jonathan that walking with them up to his eyes probably wasn't a good idea.  We saw a heron, tons of frogs and I even spied a snake in the water. 

Tinfoil dinners, though we decided that from now on I make meals we can see cooking.  They were a little burnt.
Shortly after we saw those critters the path shrunk to barely wide enough for one person with lots of growth around it.  I thought it was just a passing thing and the trail would quickly become wider and more tame.  Boy, was I wrong.  Hannah and Jonathan did pretty good but Charlotte ended up on my shoulders and Spencer was a bit fussy after He and Hyrum slid down the bank.  The overgrowth just got bigger and then thorn bushes joined the throng.  To add to the fun, the day had warmed so we were wet from the dew--I was wet up to my waist.  The kids lost their sense of adventure after bushing through the thorns for a while.

One of the racoons that invaded our camp site.  They showed up at about 7:30 every night.  The first night a couple of them started fighting over Cheetos someone had dropped.  I was really hoping they wouldn't kill each other right there as our children were watching and listening. 
The trail finally climbed out of the bushes along the creek and joined up with a road signaling our return trip.  It was a really interesting experiencing and one that we're not really anxious to repeat.  We head back via a different path.  Charlotte was pretty worn out and asked me to carry her so up to my shoulders she went.  After a few minutes she was on my back and finally as I sensed her falling asleep I pulled her around to the front of me and I carried her for about a mile.  I do enjoy occasionally holding my sleeping children but that was a bit ridiculous.  I am glad she got a nap though.

They are just cute.

We enjoyed looking at the various plants and thinking about the animals we could and couldn't see.  We saw some raccoon tracks and other signs of animals in the area.  It was nice to be together as a family. 

Spencer enjoying the beach and relative freedom.
After our hike we headed to the beach for a picnic and a dip in the lake.  There was quite the gathering at the lake.  It felt good to get a little wet and relax for a bit.  The kids loved the water though I think Charlotte preferred "the sandbox", as she called the beach.

Charlotte loved the sand.
Building sand castle while the warden watched.
After a little swim it was time for naps and some rest time while Spencer took a nap.  We got everyone cleaned up and then played Uno. 

Hyrum at the highpoint.  The highpoint is the top of that rock he is touching.
Friday, we ate breakfast, broke camp and drove a couple hours to Mt. Davis, the highest point in Pennsylvania.  It wasn't really part of the plan but the kids were patient.  Next time I'll bring more snack for random drives and crazy hikes that take longer than we'd planned. 

Family picture at the highpoint.
It was so nice to just hang out together.  There were no computers or phones, no distractions just our family.  We enjoyed the typical camping activities, s'mores, burnt food, and a camp fire.  Hyrum and I enjoyed watching the fireflies after the kids had gone to bed.  The kids thought the racoons were "so cute."  They raided our camp every night picking up scraps dropped by the little ones.  I learned a few things about the art of camping but most of all I learned that in life, simple is good and so is family.
Hanging out at the high point.  There were a lot of mosquitoes.

Kids waiting and trying to keep Spencer out of the fire pit.

Yum, fire roasted corn.

No comments: