I have wanted to visit Ricketts Glen State Park since I read this description on Wikipedia:
“These sales left the Ricketts heirs with over 12,000 acres (4,900 ha) surrounding Ganoga Lake, Lake Jean and the glens area of the park. An area encompassing 22,000 acres (8,900 ha) was approved as a national park site in 1935, and the National Park Service operated a Civilian Conservation Corps camp at “Ricketts Glynn” (sic). The funding to create a National Park at Ricketts Glen was “sidetracked” in 1936 when the money was redirected to the Resettlement Administration for “direct relief”. Similar projects at French Creek, Raccoon Creek, Laurel Hill, Blue Knob, and Hickory Run were also defunded (all are now Pennsylvania state parks). The financial difficulties of the Great Depression and World War II brought an end to this plan for development.[d] Arthur James, the Governor of Pennsylvania, signed legislation creating Ricketts Glen State Park on August 1, 1941.”
The National Park Geek in me came out and I figured, if it was good enough for them to consider making it a National Park, it has to be worth a visit (I do believe that State Parks rock too BTW). Everyone I consulted had wonderful things to say about the park, and I was excited to camp there. Our plans went awry a couple of weeks ago and we ended up staying about 20 minutes away in a mobile home. It was so nice to be in a quiet area, away from the masses, for the weekend.
Nature has always been therapeutic for me, and when planning on our weekend away, I only hesitated a bit to schedule on the same weekend as the 4th anniversary of Kevin’s death. Last year on the anniversary I had attended the concert of one of my favorite artists with my friend Marie and the boy. This year would be a weekend trip with my childhood friend Megs, her hubby, and the boy. There would be no hiding my grief if it came to the surface…
Saturday all of us, and the boy and I’s dog Molly, hiked up the Falls trail at Ricketts Glen. We ambled up the path, all covered with the nearly completely fallen leaves. I was afraid it would be disappointing views to hike up with all the leaves down, but the leaves on the ground created a beautiful landscape and allowed us to see further ahead on the trail; impeccable. The old growth forest around me soared up high as we walked along the path.
Before I knew it, the gentle climb intensified to a steep incline as we came upon the first of the falls. We made it up to 3 falls before deciding to stay behind as Megs and her husband traveled on further. I could see Molly slipping and was concerned about the boy’s ankle that is still healing from last year’s injury. Then I came to realize that mostly; I was afraid of the heights myself. The stones were wet and slippery, especially with the fallen leaves. I wanted a challenge, but I didn’t want anyone to be injured; I didn’t want this trip to be marred by that.
My fear disappointed the boy, and the Dog, who seemed more than ready to travel on. We made it back down to the bottom of the first falls after several photo-op stops. As we made our way back to the gentle trail we were both grateful we had turned back when we did. We were getting tired and had enjoyed the hike without injury.
Sunday came and I reflected upon Kevin’s passing, feeling that emotion well up from time to time. My anxiety intensified while driving and dealing with the public as we returned home. I was off. Having spent the weekend relaxing, sleeping in, drinking, eating, and enjoying wonderful times with the ones I love, helped me to dwell on life rather than death. I could be at peace in the amazing earth that I am so fortunate to have access.
I look forward to returning next Summer, in a tent or trailer. It will be great to see the leaves in all their glory and maybe hike a few falls higher on that incredulous trail.
I am deathly afraid of heights so I would have stayed back also. Glad you had a good weekend!
Thanks Sandy – I definitely was getting paranoid!