Hickory Run State Park, Memorial Day Weekend 2004

Camping at Hickory Run State Park in the Poconos area off Rt 80.

Friday 5/29/04

Packing with a lot of recriminations, and got going an hour or two later than we hoped. I forgot the toys and Tree Kid's fishing gear except for the pole. There was traffic leaving NYC (Holland Tunnel), and a thunderstorm/downpour on Rt 80, but the PA portion of the drive was nice and scenic.

Arrived at camp at 5pm. Jambandfan got fishing gear (sinkers, bobbers, hooks) at the camp store—whew! We set up camp and then walked to the playground, which is near the lake. We saw a bullfrog that we found by its sound. Dinner was hot dogs, and ruined Jambandfan's brand new, nonstick pan. (Later we got a replacement under the warranty.) Pretty weather, breezy and cool, not too buggy. We got to bed late—no one was asleep before 10:30.

Saturday 5/30/04

Both kids woke up at 6am! We stayed in the tent till about 8, with difficulty. It was Jambandfan's morning to "sleep in". We had pancakes for breakfast, made a double batch and had only one left over—everyone was hungry. I love, love, love my new Lexan Java Press (a back-ordered Christmas present). It actually makes good coffee and enough of it! Woohoo!

The weather was chilly but sunny. Tree Kid was dying to go fishing. We went for short hike down along a brook. Superhiker Top Kid did great. Tree Kid got wet up to his waist. We had a picnic lunch on sunny rocks along the sinister-sounding Shades of Death Trail. We saw lots of butterflies—a tiger swallowtail?—and another one that was black with white dots & small orange spots, possibly a dark female tiger or spicebush swallowtail.

At 1:00pm there was a Ranger-led fishing program. Top Kid napped under a tree —not long enough. Tree Kid fished but didn't catch anything, probably because there were too many people fishing. We could see many small fish in the water, as well as frogs. I thought one of the walkie-talkies was lost, but it was only dropped in camp, we found it later.

At 4:00pm we went to a Ranger-led nature program for kids on the butterfly life cycle. The boys had fun doing a craft with colored and glued pasta.

We went back to camp for dinner—multicolor organic corkscrew pasta with Muir Glen organic jar sauce & mushrooms in it. Gathered sticks for a campfire. After dinner, we went to a performance by musician Jay Smer (not sure of the spelling?) in the amphitheatre—old time fiddle, guitar, banjo. He played "Oh Susanna," mining songs, "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," and original compositions. Tree Kid couldn't sit still, and we got moved by a ranger, who later complimented him on being good! Back to camp for "s'more's" and to bed. Cold at night.

Sunday 5/31/04

My morning "in," ha ha. Sunny & clear, less windy. Oatmeal for breakfast. We dug worms for bait, then Jambandfan and the kids went to the lake, I to washing, diary & showers.

Yesterday a pop-up trailer burned to a cinder. We heard fire trucks and saw the charred remains—it must have been completely destroyed in a few minutes. Scary!

Other campers have seen bears, but not us. The rangers have been warning about them. There are lots of kids here, and very friendly people. Today we are planning to go to the boulder field, as well as fishing, hiking, and another nature program.

Sunday morning Tree Kid fished with no luck again. Top Kid threw Tree Kid's shoe in the water and we had to borrow a passing hiker's big walking stick to fish it out. We saw a woodchuck while eating lunch by the water.

After lunch we went to the swimming area and played in the sand. There was a family of geese with babies. The drive to the boulder field was long and dusty, and Top Kid fell asleep, since he had missed his regular naptime. I sat with him for a bit while Jambandfan trekked over the boulders with Tree Kid, and then we switched till Top Kid woke up. We crossed the entire boulder field, made a cairn, and crossed back.

We had a snack and then went to the Rangers' story hour, which turned out to be a lecture about black bears. There was supposed to be a video but it didn't get dark enough to show it. The lecture was pretty interesting, and they passed around a bear skin and skull for everyone to see and touch.

For dinner we had ramen noodles with black beans, and cottage cheese and applesauce. We all slept well.

Monday 6/1/04

We woke relatively early. It was cloudy, but didn't rain until afternoon. Jambandfan started packing up early just in case. Breakfast was cheerios. The powdered milk was nasty—too old?—but we had enough plain milk left. The kids put cocoa on their cereal (they like it on oatmeal, too).

After breakfast and packing up camp, we hiked the Sands Spring Trail for over an hour. It was overcast, muggy, and buggy. The trail passes through several stands of large rhododendrons as well as some mountain laurel, and an old water tower and pipes. We didn't see any bears, and had lunch on the trail. Top Kid fell asleep, so Jambandfan walked back for the car, and we met by the park office. It started to rain just before we left, but not hard. The drive back was uneventful.

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