After a month in the quiet, serene, tranquil North Carolina mountains, we arrived to chaos in Maryland! When we originally planned this leg of our trip, foolish us, thought we would have new bikes, so we had picked the Yogi Bear Jellystone RV Park in Williamsport, MD. This park is very close to the C & O Canal Trail, which is part of the Greater Allegheny Passage, a bike trail that goes from Pittsburgh to DC. We had ridden the top quarter of the trail when we lived in Pennsylvania and thought with a month’s stay in Maryland, we would be able to finish the trail. Since we were unable to find new bikes in Asheville, we tried again here, only to discover that all of the bike shops were still out of stock and not expecting new inventory until January.
We usually try to stay away from the large commercial campgrounds preferring the smaller family owned parks like our last stop at Buck Creek.
But the Yogi Bear Park was in a perfect location and how bad could it be? We’re in a pandemic and everyone is supposed to be at home, right? Wrong!! When we first arrived on a Tuesday the park was virtually empty. We thought this will be fine ….. then came the whiplash when the park started to fill up on Thursday night. It is a large park with over 700 cabins, tent and RV sites! By Saturday, the place was packed to the gills! There were people everywhere! Turns out that this campground starts celebrating Halloween in September and every weekend has site decorating & costume contests, a magic pumpkin patch, fireworks, and Trick or Treating. Along with their large waterpark, laser tag, peddle karts, gem mining, archery tag, gaga ball, arcade, mini golf, horseshoes, basketball courts, dog park, jumping pillows, ball fields, volleyball court, movies every night, arts & crafts, dance parties, golf cart rentals, restaurant, photo ops, multiple playgrounds, pools, parades, Halloween Chills & Thrills Trail, and hot tubs that can be delivered to your site, this place is a magnet for all the families in the DC Metroplex and surrounding area.
So, on the weekends we hunkered down and hibernated in the coach only going out for walks on the half mile nature trail (which most of the other campers ignored) that the skirts the boundary of the campground. It was also the perfect time to get laundry done, clean the coach, do our shopping, and to keep up with the monthly maintenance items. Then once all the other campers had left on Monday, we again put out our chairs and awning and enjoyed the relative peace and quiet.
We did get into the spirit of the fun and decorated our site just a bit!
Since we could not ride the bike trail we did get out for several hikes. We walked several miles of the C & O Canal trail though we will have to come back once we have our new bikes to finish the Passage. We then drove over to the Antietam Battlefield and drove around the park stopping at the monuments and learning about the bloodiest battle of the Civil War.
We also took a day and drove over to the Cunningham Falls State Park and climbed up to the waterfall, though there was only a trickle of water on the rocks as this is the dry season here.
From Cunningham we drove on to the Catoctin Wildlife Preserve. This turned out to be more of a zoo with smaller older habitats, but it was a nice walk. And who would have thought we would leave Florida only to find a large alligator exhibit!
As the weather was getting cooler and the days shorter, we wanted to try to find some fall color and took a drive over to West Virginia to the Cacapon Resort State Park. We did a 7-mile hike around the park under trees just starting to change. It was a beautiful day with blue skies, a chill in the air, and it truly felt like fall was here at last.
And to get a little peace and quiet away from the chaos!
Though the colors were beautiful at Cacapon we really wanted to get to some of the peak color that the 2020 Fall Foliage Prediction Map indicated was just west of us. So, we compared the Prediction Map to Google Maps and picked the Shenandoah National Park as the perfect stop for peak foliage. The only problem was that the Prediction Map forgot to notify the trees in the Park that it was time for them to be at peak color. We had much more color at the Cacapon Park the week before than we saw along the Shenandoah. And because the maps had predicted the color would be at peak, the park was swarmed with bicyclists, motorcyclists, and other leafers traffic. It was a pretty drive, but we enjoyed driving the back roads back to Williamsport more than the excursion on Skyline Drive.
We are definitely feeling the whiplash that has been going on this past month of going from absolute craziness to quiet tranquility and back to craziness each weekend. We are looking forward to getting back to a smaller campground and to our time with Alex and Erin.
Next up is the Jersey Shore!