camping (picture heavy) and expanding family news

This weekend was such a balm to my hippie heart. I breathed out as much city air as I could and breathed in the trees, rocks, water, and amazing mountain air. We left Friday just after lunch, letting Gwen nap on the way up, and got checked in just after 3pm. Within an hour we had our tent up and campsite arraigned.

The view behind our site was pretty awesome.

But that was just the tip of the iceberg... or mountain (as Ricketts Glen lays 2500 feet up). We ran to the local corner store to grab some firewood, and grabbed some corn from the farm stand out front. Back up the mountain where we cooked dinner, poked around a bit, said hi to our campsite neighbors (who are from our area, go figure!), then had an early night.

Saturday morning we woke up bright and early (thanks to Gwen, and the sun). We cooked breakfast over the fire, and were off hiking before 8. Rickett's Glen has a bunch of gorgeous trails to pick from, but we wanted waterfalls! So Falls Trail it was. Of course, Falls Trail is a non-blazed trail, and gets the park's most difficult rating, but it was worth the sore thighs!

(Ps. The boots... I still love them! They were amazing and my feet felt great.)

I loved that Daisy could do all the hiking with us... and she did too!

We probably saw about 5 of the falls on the trail before deciding to head back up for lunch. But next time we'll bring our lunch with us and do the whole thing. Its beautiful out there.

The biggest of the falls was almost 100'.

Trav wore Gwen most of the way back up since she couldn't do a lot of the hiking herself and it was too hard to carry her in certain sections.

The way down was harder since it was steep and you're stepping down the inclines and steps (feeling like you're going to pitch forward... especially when holding 20something pounds of toddler, or containing and exuberant Lab!), but the way back up was more tiring!

Daisy did great, but boy was she a pooped puppy when we got back!!

After lunch we headed out for a shorter walk, just along the lake and towards the beach area. Gwen and I went down to the lakes edge for a little, so she could stomp around in the water a bit. Then we took a brief drive to see a little of the area, and I could show Trav where I had spent time every summer. My grandparents used to live just 15 or so minutes from where we were camping, and I used to go to their place for 2 weeks, for many summers to visit with them, teach vacation bible school at the local Methodist campground, and visit with my longtime friend Carrie. It was fun to take a trip down memory lane. We also passed by my grandparent's old house (their dream house, which they built)... which was a little hard, to pass by but not be able to stop there... and the graveyard where my grandfather is interred and my grandmother will be as well.

Once we were back at camp, we cooked up some dinner... more corn cooked on the fire (it was so good we stopped to get more... seriously the most amazing sweet corn I think I've ever had), and hot dogs.

Then it was time for a walk around the camping area to try to settle down after an exciting day. Gwen did very well the whole weekend, but getting her to fall asleep in the tent was hard. She was just too excited, and you could hear every noise from the rest of the campground.

Sunday, our last day, we woke early again and set about breaking down camp. The tent came down, the bags were all packed, and everything went into the car. We had a quick breakfast, and straightened up the site. After that we headed to the bottom of the hill to do a quick hike there.

We followed the Evergreen Trail and got to see another waterfall, which was probably one of the most picturesque of the bunch!
It was smaller, but had worn all the rocks smooth, and was surrounded by gorgeous pools.

After the waterfall, we followed the trail to check out some old growth forest. Gwen was a great little hiker!

The beautiful forest gave Gwen and I some good opportunities for talking about trees and what they do for us, and how we can help them.

We also talked about lots of other new and interesting plants:

Once we got back to the car, we headed out, making a stop for lunch on the turnpike, then on to home. It was still only early afternoon when we got home, so we went to the store and started on all of our laundry. It was such a wonderful time and I can't wait to do it again. This was definitely a trial run for camping with dog and babe, but now we know what works and does, and I look forward to doing about 2x the hiking next time! All-in-all though it was gorgeous and we had a lot of fun.

Just to top off the happiness that was our camping weekend... I got the news Sunday night that my brother had proposed to his girlfriend! I knew it was planned, so I was beyond excited to get the call that it had gone off nicely and they were now engaged! I cannot wait to welcome Elise to our family, she's just so wonderful, and perfect for my brother.

Now here it is, Monday night, and I'm getting ready for heading back to work tomorrow. I'm not too excited for the office after all that beautiful forest, but at least I have another awesome weekend to look forward to! And I can look through these pictures anytime I need a little nature boost in the meantime.

How was everyone's Labor Day?

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