Pennsylvania-Day 3

The most exciting part of Day 3 was clearly picking John up at camp. He had a great time, but it was also clear that he missed us (which was nice to know).  After a breakfast of pancakes and sausage and a really really loud “show” of singing and dancing by the campers, we headed out for one more day of fun.

John’s best friend was at camp with him. His family had been to the area last year and suggested that after camp we all head to Ohiopyle State Park. We started at this beautiful waterfall, oddly named Cucumber Falls. It was a short and fairly easy hike down to the falls (easy for everyone else, a little tough for the two year old and her mother).

With just a little help from Mr. L. (our friend’s Dad) the boys were able to walk along a ledge behind the waterfall and reach out and touch it. That was pretty exciting. The water was quite cold but it was a hot day so that was ok. There was also a shallow pool at the bottom of the waterfall for swimming and lots of rocks for climbing and exploring.

But what they enjoyed most was building dams (David) and trying to move rocks in a dammed up area to create a waterfall (John and his friend). For the latter, they had to dig around a large rock for quite a long time to get it to move and when they had finished they had created quite a nice little waterfall. They were all happy moving and building and digging for over an hour.

Probably even more fun though was the second part of our visit to Ohiopyle. The Youghiogeny River Gorge passes through this park and is apparently an excellent and well-known spot for white-water rafting and boating. In a relatively tame section of the river, the kids were able to ride the rapids as the water passed over some shallow rocks. Even though it was relatively tame, the current was actually quite strong and potentially dangerous. Although all the kids we were with loved doing this, it required Mr. L standing at the bottom of the rapids to catch the kids and carry them to safety. There was a long line of fathers all doing the same thing with their own kids.  Ruth enjoyed the sights and paddling in a shallow pool with me, but it was way too wild for her and without help I woudn’t have been able to negotiate this alone with her and the boys.

H. and I both love to travel. Sometimes I find myself asking what the purpose of travel is, in a philosophical way. Especially in the new global culture, it it really all that necessary to travel to experience the world? Often aren’t we just seeing the same things we’ve seen elsewhere? Aren’t there better uses of my time and money? This trip reminded me in a small way of why I like to travel and why I think it’s important. One is that no matter what, when I am at home there are distractions. I can try and focus on my kids 100% but there is always something (laundry, work, the phone ringing, their friends and activities) that takes us away from each other. When we travel we have to focus on each other for an extended period of time. That’s good. On a broader note, I like travel because each time I go to a new place it enlarges my view of the world. I’ve been to Pennsylvania before, but always either traveling somewhere else or to Philly and the surrounding areas. I had an image in my mind of Pittsburgh and suburbs and this trip pretty much shattered it. At the very least, it’s good for me to realize that my view of the world isn’t always correct.

And let’s not forget that most of all, travel is fun. And that’s plenty of reason right there.

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