Monday, May 21, 2007

Sunday Fishing/Hiking at Hopewell Lake

Woke around 7am, had some coffee, went outside. Looks like it rained a bit and there's still a little drizzle coming down. Had breakfast with the girls - and decided to go fishing anyway!
Broke out the ponchos & rain gear - and drove to the lake rather than hike. We walked from the boat launch area around to the "fishing pier" they have built on the lake. Along the way we looked at the beaver dam and the evidence of the chewed logs that they leave behind. Didn't see any beavers though. As we fished, blue skies came out - and by the time the girls had enough, it was clear! Since the weather turned for the better, we decided to go to the far side of the lake and explore the dam/waterfall there. We drove over to the closest parking lot I could find that was near the dam (the roads at French creek have really changed) and hiked down to the dam. Saw evidence of a goose that was caught as someones dinner along the way.
They have really been making improvements here - saw a water filtration plant (I think) where we parked the car, and they have built an overflow area next to the original dam/waterfall. So many things are the same - yet so many have changed since I was a boy. They definitely have let some areas go to be more wild again - which is a good thing. We sat and enjoyed the waterfalls for a while - then headed back to packup RoadAbode.
Here's some pics of our Sunday Adventures: RoadAbode CampsiteWaterfall at Hopewell Lake'Brina and Kimberly at top of Waterfall at Hopewell LakeBrina Kimberly and Emily at Top of Waterfall at Hopewell LakeWaterfall and New Overflow waterway at Hopewell LakeFishing on Hopewell Lake

Saturday, May 19, 2007

French Creek Saturday - Part Deux

After wandering around and soaking up the history of Hopewell Village, We started to head back around Noon. The hike was a little tougher - we had some steep inclines on the way back. Once back at camp and we caught our breath, we cleaned up and got in RoadToad to ride out for "linner" (late lunch, early dinner) to Shady Maple - which is only about 30 minutes away from the campground. We enjoyed a great dinner of all types of things - I was truly stuffed. Amy picked up a loaf of her favorite - Peach Bread, and we perused the huge gift store. We thought we heard thunder -and it looked like the trees outside were whipping about. Started to wonder about our new canopy - and how it was doing in the wind - so we headed out. Once outside - it was not that bad - no rain at all - so the girls stopped at Goods General store to look around, while I went into the grocery to grab paper towels (you ALWAYS forget something when you camp!) and hand soap.
After that - we headed back - all was well at RoadAboad.
Had a quiet night, it did finally start to drizzle/rain - so no fire. The older girls watched a movie in their bunk, Emily and I read, did a little snacking, played on the laptop - Then off to bed for us old folks. Sounds boring - But very relaxing!

Amazing, Beautiful Saturday! - French Creek

Woke a little late - around 7:30am, and just snuggled under the warm covers. Looks like the temp outside is right around 50F. Peering out the windows though - Beautiful blue Skies! Weatherman was calling for all day rain - We have definitely been blessed!
Got coffee going, and Amy got the girls rustled up for breakfast. Some had, pancakes, or french toast, I went for a sausage sandwich on mini-bagels. I sat outside and enjoyed watching the chipmunks play, girls opted to stay inside - warm.
Finally got everyone dressed and moving by 9:30am, so we started on our hike to Hopewell Furnace. There are quite a few hiking trails that pass by the campground. The trail we used (Collier's Trail - white circle) goes right past the entrance to the campground. It's one of the more direct routes to Hopewell Village & Furnace. If you ever get a chance, check this little gem of history out! On the way I pointed out the few flora & fauna thing that I remembered from when Opa, Opa and Frank use to take me here. French creek was a big part of my growing up as a kid. We would come here many times a year. Oma and Opa would pick a variety of edible mushrooms, berries, nuts, and other things in these woods. Opa was probably happiest when wandering around here. I think he could have been happy camping here too, if he would have started...
I was glad to see that upkeep of Hopewell is back where it should be. The waterwheel is working again, and they are doing a few demonstrations of life back in the 17 and 1800's. Also - the Rangers in the visitor's center were great with the girls - and just plain fun! All three girls enjoy history, so they really enjoyed learning about how life was at the village back then.

They also earned their "Junior Ranger Badges" by hunting down the clues to various questions in the pamphlet the ranger had given them. Only part that was a little trying is when Emily dropped the questionnaire (almost all finished) in the creek - and Amy had to retrieve it.
We even got to see a birds nests with hatchlings of Barn swallows and blackbirds!

Here's a few pics of our Morning Adventures...RoadAbode in Her CampsiteOn the Trail - Almost to Hopewell Village
WaterWheel Working Again!Girls in from of the Wagon I have picture of ME at 8 yrs old in front of!Bird's nest in the eaves of the restored Boarding House

Friday, May 18, 2007

French Creek for a Weekend!

After work I, picked up pizza, hurried home, and meet with the girls for a quick bite. We then all piled into RoadToad - including Sabrina - one of their girlfriends - and headed up to where we store RoadAbode. Amy had been there earlier in the day to load her up with a few essentials.
We piled in the few things the girls brought along, hooked up the Towbar and RoadToad, and were on our way. We arrived about an hour later, right around dusk, at French Creek State Park Campground. We quickly leveled RoadAbode, and got settled in. Had a small fire that the "little pyros" played with, and then went in - getting a bit chilly outside. Cranked on the heater, and started to plan our Saturday. They're calling for rain, hope it holds off until the afternoon...