Like a million other things that I do that make absolutely no sense (such as, but not limited to: secret desires to become an astronaut, baking plastic plates in my oven, etc) for a long time I had a driving desire to go camping. My friend, Amy, who I always knew I shared a special bond with yet I'm learning more and more how truly special it is, also had the same desire.
She also shares the same longing I have to one day live on a farm, crazy right?
In October, we decided to gather together our courage and go camping on our own. We found our way to French Creek State Park in PA after travelling many winding country roads that at times seemed unending.
Luckily, Amy has a pretty decent tent usually reserved for folk fest weekends. As we assembled it, I learned that tents have a footprint, and also that you need to search out an area free of rocks to place said footprint.
If you don't, you may end up tossing and turning throughout the night with a knot under your side.
After we planted our footprint and set up our beds, we decided to explore Hopewell Lake.
These canoes and other boat type objects were great accessories to the already picture perfect setting.
68-acres of water is a pretty tempting requirement for a backdrop of my future home.
So are these adorable old gentlemen.
By the way, I would be absolutely terrified to be sitting on top of that contraption in the middle of a 68-acre lake.
This little area made me daydream about owning my own private island away from civilization.
Sadly, I think I may have a better chance at owning a farm or even becoming an astronaut.
Speaking of owning a farm, the only true sightseeing type thing to do in the area was to visit Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site. You wouldn't be able to tell by its name (at least, I couldn't) but it is an iron plantation.
Plantation (in my mind) = Farm.
We chose the path less traveled and inched our way down a grassy slope to get to the entrance of the main house on the plantation.
For the next hour or so we barely spoke. We snapped away our cameras and exchanged a variety of melodic hums expressing how in love with the place we both were.
It doesn't even matter that my dream farm is not in any way connected to an iron plantation. Every aspect of this place was riveting, and I never wanted to leave.
I'm not sure what this was used for, but I'm wondering if I can convince hubby to build one in my backyard. Not because I need one, but because who wouldn't want such a huge oven outside of their house?
I can't imagine how anyone could see it not as a necessity.
Hopewell Furnace was so massive that every time I thought I'd seen as much that could be seen I turned around to fine another structure, another entrance not visited.
The room of this tiny building, and the herbs hanging out to dry, made me hope that this summer I get my act together and actually start gardening.
This water mill was one of the most fascinating parts of the plantation to me. Even more so than the furnace which the plantation is named for.
Perhaps because we could watch it running and moving as it would have been back when the facilities were up and running.
Many of the buildings had things laid out as if the family had merely stepped out and would be back within a few moments. This was my favorite shot taken indoors.
And this was my favorite shot outdoors. If I could replace this chair with a Cracker Barrel rocking chair, my life would be complete. I would sit in that spot for every single second of every single day and never want for anything again.
Correction, never want for a better view again. Let's face it, after a few minutes of sitting there, I'm going to want some coffee. And a cookie.
Here it is, the Hopewell Furnace. I'd love to be able to tell you dozens of facts about this, and furthermore about the rest of the iron plantation, but I'm not very eloquent when it comes to history facts I really haven't gathered enough information on.
If you'd like to know more, go here.
After our visit to Hopewell Furnace we headed back to the campsite. In the end, I think we both learned that camping is a lot more boring than we expected. We did prepare for such an occurrence and spent most of the daylight playing Yahtzee and admiring the nature around us.
But let's face it, one does eventually tire of rolling dice and staring at the same tree over and over.
When night came, we had to be typical campers and roast hot dogs and make s'mores. The night was my least favorite part of the trip, yet probably the most exhilarating. When eventually the only light we could see was that of our campfire, I began to imagine that every creepy crawler possible was slithering beside me. This led to me constantly shining my flashlight in every direction to the point that we eventually discovered a frog sitting motionless nearby and a daddy long leg who was strangely fascinated with our fire.
Sleeping was surprisingly relaxing, despite the wind rudely knocking into our tent and branches crackling in the wind. Yet, the wind also offered a peacefulness. Trees blowing into each other played a lulling melody which brought me in tune with the massiveness of their surrounding our tiny little tent.
When morning came, we boiled water for tea in a pot Amy brought. I'm pretty sure it has never in my life taken so long for water to boil.
But after all, it's all about the experience.
We were a little jealous of the clearly professional campers in the site just below ours who were cooking bacon on their Foreman grill.
We went to visit another lake, Scotts Run Lake, which was just a tiny 22-acres long.
Alright, I would still take it in my backyard any day.
We found a little shelled friend among the cattails. Some boy scouts claimed they saw a water snake, but I refused to believe it.
I like the idea of a turtle in my backyard much more than the idea of a snake.
While we didn't eagerly made plans to go camping the following weekend, I don't think that either of us left completely sure that it would be our last time camping.