Labor Day at Kettle Creek State Park

This Labor Day weekend I went camping with my family at Kettle Creek State Park (and tried to explain to my seven-year-old brother why there’s no work on Labor Day). We got really lucky. Thursday at midnight we scoured the Internet for a campsite—any campsite—within three hours of State College. We grabbed the first and only one we found and we left that morning, arguing and crying, stressed out from work and school, and expecting no better from whatever ditch we’d be camping in. But what we got was no ditch—rather, we spent our weekend in the five-star hotel of campsites.

The two-hour drive there was amazing: slowly yellowing forest, mountains all around, creeks peeking out from beneath primordial bridges (that our OCD construction crews have yet to tear down). We followed one of these creeks to a dam, and from this dam we went up a hill, and from this hill to another hill, and from that hill to a creek, which was probably the same creek we started at. Snuggled between the creek and an empty road was our campsite, complete with a swing set and a bench overlooking the water.

Henry David Thoreau built a lonely cabin to reach wilderness; all we had to do was drive a few hours and here’s a bench, fish and pebbles beneath a green film broken only by rain or the occasional acorn (I started a completely absurd acorn collection, by the way.), or a fish grasping its dinner in the evening, rushing away lest some onlooker is hungry. And as the pebbles get farther away they succumb to an even greener reflection, blurred versions of the oaks and pines on the other bank, splashes of rusted yellow infesting the green. The invasion will continue until all of Pennsylvania is orange, then brown, then white as the snow on the grave of every withered leaf and flower that grew so eagerly in the summer. Here’s some of the awesomeness of our campsite and the ride there (Our campsite starts around 3:50; a big chunk is mountains and forest on the way there and back again (Anyone get my reference?).):

(Bathrooms were a five minute bike ride away, but just as clean as Black Moshannon’s (and not just sinks and flush toilets, but automatic sinks and flush toilets). There was also enough electricity for lights and a microwave (We’re pathetic, I know.).)

And now it’s raining, and I got stung by a bee, which is evidently Mother Nature’s way of telling us to get out and not feel too bad about leaving. For some reason bees ignore me completely when I take macro photos of them two inches away, but when I’m minding my own business some wasp ventures into my hoodie and stings me. And while rain is pretty and smells nice, it’s also cold and wet and cold and I didn’t bring a jacket. I’m really glad to have a tent to sit under and not share my bike’s fate outside, so soaked I’m surprised its Obama and ACA (American Canoe Association) stickers aren’t peeling off.

(Almost all our neighbors left already, and as I type a boy runs, waving his arms and yelling, toward an RV that’s already halfway up the road. His parents and two siblings are in another RV that left ten minutes ago, but hopefully this one will catch up or they’ll remember that they have another kid. This is way worse than my parents forgetting me at gymnastics way back when, which was probably more hilarious than scarring anyway.)

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~ by science cow on September 7, 2009.

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