Cornfield Meet

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Woodsy Weekend

Twin sun, woods

We had a fantastic weekend in the woods at Salt Fork State Park – first time I’d been there in almost 20 years, and Jenn & Kelsey’s first real camping experience ever.

Left work early Friday, packed the Family Truckster to the limit and hit the road not long after my daughter & her friend got home from school. We had a great campsite, pitching the tent just inside the woods, facing east atop a steep hill with the lake below to the west.

Campsite

(That photo’s from Saturday morning: By the time we got the tent set up and the fire going on Friday night, it was dark. We had our dinner of Nathan’s hot dogs, baked beans and Pringles by the light of two battery lamps on the picnic table.)

Since Jenn wanted to fully experience the outdoors, we pulled back the rain flap on our half the tent when we went to bed. It made for a really freaking chilly night.

Sometime in the dark wee hours, we heard rustling nearby and shone the flashlight outside to catch a raccoon trundling around and climbing on our picnic table looking for scraps. (Sorry, dude: We cleaned up well and stashed leftovers in the car.)

Around 7 a.m., I got up I started the fire for coffee. Over breakfast, we saw a big Pileated Woodpecker in a tree behind our tent. I took the girls exploring down the hill to the edge of the lake and found a curled bottle shard worn smooth at the edges by the water and sand.

Late morning, the four of us drove over to the Hosak’s Cave trail and hiked into the ravine and its big sandstone overhang, then hit the Stone House Nature Trail for a bit before going back to the campsite for lunch.

On the move

Spent the afternoon chilling out, and I took the kids around the Beach Point Trail midafternoon. (Very warm for October: I think it hit 80 on Saturday.)

Before dinner, Jenn & I did the Morgan’s Knob Loop, which wound through some stunning forests and a rocky, shadowed gully, then down near the lake. The picture up at the top is from this hike. On the way back to the campsite, we saw three deer grazing at the roadside.

After dinner, when it got dark, we were readying for s’mores when a skunk wandered into camp. The girls were stranded in the tent; Jenn & I stayed out by the fire ring with a flashlight on the critter, and Jenn came pretty close to deciding her newfound love for camping was nothing but a passing infatuation and she did not like this at all. But the skunk tottered off after about 15 or 20 minutes without incident and Jenn came back around to enjoying herself. (To quote Clark Griswold, "It’s all part of the experience, honey.")

Sunday morning, the kids slept in while Jenn & I had coffee by the fire again, and a buck came within about 20 yards of us, watching us silently from the woods.

I posted several other photos from the weekend on my Flickr photostream.

Another short hike around our area in the morning, and then we packed up and had an early lunch before leaving around noon, stopping on our way out of the park to let a trio of wild turkeys cross the road.

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October 13, 2008 - Posted by | Current Affairs, geek, Ohio

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