This was my fifth trip in the last year and so to that park. I have yet to go there twice with the same company. To wit:
|April 2013: with Matt and Sam; Joe was with us too, at a distant dog-friendly site.|
|July 2013: with Sherry, Sam, and Caroline.|
|September 2013: with the Geremias as well as with Sherry, Sam, and Caroline.|
|June 2014: with the Reiners as well as with Sherry, Sam, and Caroline|
|July 2014: the first multi-family excursion: Johnsons (minus Sherry), Geremias, and Rodoffs|
Of course having been there five times, it's hard to find new impressive things (though the Rodoffs mammoth tent might qualify as an exception). Still, there's enough to do there that you can forget things. I forgot about the exhilarating rock-climbing alternative to the traditional return from Hawk Falls. I also found it meaningful to get to some destinations that proved elusive on earlier trips, such as the somewhat fragile footbridge down Hickory Run Trail. But the most awesome things in the park (the Boulder Field, Shades of Death Trail, Hawk Falls) I saw on my first visits.
That didn't stop us from getting the kids out. A lot. We took them on four different hikes! They got the grand tour of Hickory Run's best stuff. However it would seem as if the kids' favorite thing to do was play among the boulders near our tent. Heck, I guess we adults could've spent the whole time by the camp relaxing and just allow the kids to climb over boulders 75 yards away.
Oh, also it would seem as if taking my kids camping without friends along in the future is going to be tough.
In fairness, I have a hard time imagining what camping would be like without friends at adjacent sites like we had. The Johnsons pitched their tent at #391, a generally undesirable site due to the uneven shade. But it's huge, and serves as a great multi-family base of operations. Sites #393 and #394 go inside the woods from our site. Perfect distances from one another.
I think on our next trip a fourth family is joining us.
Three challenges await:
1) How do we pull off a second trip while the enthusiasm of this is still fresh before the inevitability of four busy families' schedules make it hard to pull off?
2) How do we find another alternative park for a trip?
3) Is it time for my to bury a tradition that's been near to me for 38 years, camping at Grange Fair, and replace it with this?