Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Pennsylvania: Always Beautiful, Seldom Spectacular


This past weekend, in addition to the running, I also set out on a camping adventure at Prince Gallitzin State Park near Altoona with R. and R.M., J.M. and C.M.

Observation #1. For beauty, Pennsylvania is like a consistent doubles hitter, often beautiful to very beautiful but seldom spectacular, especially if you like hills with trees.

Observation #2. Campgrounds do not really attract the most active outdoor enthusiasts. In fact, for many it is a lot like moving from a suburban subdivision with big lots and big homes to a subdivision with much smaller lots where you sleep in a truck or on the ground with plumbing shared by the entire neighborhood.

That being said, the trip went as well as it possibly could have with 7, 4 and 3 year old boys and overnight thunderstorms. First, the rain held off at least until we cooked hotdogs. Second, the tent stayed dry. Third, everyone fell asleep without major trauma. Fourth, everyone stayed asleep without awaking to major fear or trauma. Fifth, the next day brought beautiful weather, which was perfect for a morning hike and kayaking.

R. got a little bit homesick. Once morning came, he kept asking to go home. Except he had a laundry list of things he wanted to do before he left. "I want to go home and see mommyright after this hike -- but I want to try canoeing first. Let's try canoeing right now." Sure enough, we got in a kayak and he paddled the entire hour, and said "I want to go home -- right after I go swimming," which led to "I want to go home -- as soon as I have a little snack." This was soon followed by actually going home, and for that trip he was asleep before the van left the parking lot.

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