Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Blackwater Falls Adventure - Days 3 and 4

[Composed 8/20/2018]

Yesterday was spent exploring Blackwater Falls in earnest. We hiked a variety of trails, caught multiple views of the falls and found 3 different geocaches! Nick is the Geocaching champion, finding the cache in town after the rest of us had given up. I enjoyed more slow hiking with G., who at one point got into the habit of stopping at ever muddy patch and announcing: there's a so-loosh to every problem, and then navigated around the obstacle. At times, I think I may have gotten too into slow hiking, as more than once I found G. hurrying me up. But man, the scenery was so perfect, how could I not stop to enjoy?!

After a number of hikes we made our way to the 'Barn,' also known as the petting zoo. The Barn is what the name suggests: a space with a half dozen stalls with animals you can pet and feed. After a morning of trails, having a no-walking activity was ideal. Kudos to the younger kids who were absolutely fearless about feeding the animals. This little stop was definitely a highlight.

As we arrived at the barn, I noticed a few chickens, turkeys and geese roaming the parking lot. As I walked up to the turkeys to snap a few photos, one of the geese started coming my way. The fact that I tower over the bird didn't give him (or her?) pause. I spoke with one of the Barn's staff inside and he explained that the geese were raised with the chickens and turkeys and count them as family. Encroaching on any of the birds isn't tolerated by the geese. I'm decidedly not a fan of geese and their aggressive behavior. But I have to say, even I couldn't help but be touched by the fact that the geese were protecting their family, even if their family didn't look anything like themselves. Apparently we could learn a thing or two from these birds.

After multiple hikes, we headed into town for ice cream and some last minute shopping. And then it was back to the cabin for play time. I was pretty proud of myself for using a handful of the girls' headbands to make an improvised slingshot. Alas (or thankfully?), it didn't have much oomph, but but it was a nice addition to our armory, which already consisted of many stick-based swords.

One recurring debate during our trip was between Me and C.: she explained that when she eats watermelon she eats the rind. I kept explaining to her that if she did that she'd get an upset stomach. After all, that's what I was told when I was a kid. After a couple rounds of this debate I finally Googled the question. And it turns out, I'd been carrying around misinformation all these years. Not only is the rind edible, it's good for you. Score one for C.

This morning we packed up the cabin, said our goodbyes, and headed back to DC. We had enough time in DC to grab some lunch and write some post cards, and then it was off to the airport. The flight to and from Boston couldn't have been simpler, which after a packed weekend was much appreciated.

Blackwater Falls is truly a gem in the area. It may be a drive to get there, but man the views are worth it. Much of the trails and activities within the park are perfect for smaller kids. And my sense is that you can connect this area up with the Monongahela National Forest and have nearly limitless access to trails, for those who want longer distances to hike. As a family friendly area to soak up nature, it's perfect.

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