Apologies, but it has taken a while to find the time to pull last weekends blog together. Surprisingly it turns out that a three day weekend does not equate to a easy following week.
We spent the Labor Day weekend in Laurel Hill State Park. They have just opened a section with full RV hook-ups in July. The sites are huge (bigger
than the lot my house is on), plenty of trees without getting in the way of slides and very pretty. They only struggle on a couple of points – there is not enough water pressure for all of the rigs they have parking for and none of the sites are level. We compensated for the water pressure by filling our fresh tank and running on our own pump. In order to get the coach level we used multiple blocks and ended up with the rear wheels four inches off the ground – but it worked.
Saturday morning we spent exploring the area. We were heading in the direction of Laurel Caverns and spotted a sign for the Lower Humbert Covered Bridge and couldn’t resist the possible photo op.
After the brief stop at the covered bridge, we made it to Laurel Caverns in time for a late morning tour. They offer “family tours” and tours that require flashlights and hard hats. We settled for a easy walking tour. We didn’t feel that adventurous that morning and we wanted to see what the basic caverns were like before spending half a day clambering in the dark.
This top, easy section of the caverns were well developed and very easy to negotiate. Anyone looking for the spectacular formation of a limestone cavern will probably be disappointed, but the carved passages through the Pennsylvania sandstone were pretty impressive and definitely worth the hike.
When we got back to the coach, we chatted with our neighbors in a classic Monaco coach as they tried to figure out how to get level without built in jacks (that ended with a Home Depot run for wood to build ramps). Several times over the weekend we spent time with them, picking their brains on the challenges of full-timing in an RV.
Later in the evening the park had a presentation by Wildlife Management on the control of the black bear population in Pennsylvania. Although there are some 20,000 black bears in the state, there is enough wild land
still available that the number of negative interactions is minimal. This time of year, apparently the most common is when a bear decides to raid a corn field. Not only do they really like the corn, but they also like rolling on the corn stalks and can easily flatten an acre. In addition to dealing with the occasional problem they track the breading population and have to adopt abandon cubs which actually end up as family projects in their own garage.
Sunday we spent exploring a small part of the huge park offering a dozen different trails. The camping area was packed for Labor Day without an empty site and it seemed as if it was averaging about million children and/or dogs per campsite. Surprisingly, once you got out to the meadows or trails you had all of the quiet and privacy you could as for.
The Hemlock Trail following Laurel Creek was very easy to do with a total round trip of about 2.5 miles (by GPS) and light to medium grades. It wandered through beechnut trees and the Hemlock Natural Area which is purported to be the last Pennsylvania stand of old growth hemlock in the state. There was a large variety of plants, moss, lichen and fungi along the trail and lots of water. Lots of signs of wildlife including bear prints near one spring and a kingfisher working the pools of the creek.
Part of Sunday was spent in the shade of the awning beating Joanna at backgammon and taking a twilight walk past the beach.
Finally on Monday we got most of the camp ready to return to civilization but before we left we wandered up to the camp office in search of a cell signal for either of our carriers (Verizon won by the way) and then take one last hike through the meadow and up through one of the original Civilian Conservation Corps camps.
Unfortunately, the weekend had to come to an end so after lunch we pulled in the slides retracted the jacks and headed home.