Monday, December 21, 2015

An Unplugged Weekend - Kooser State Park

Goofing off on the trail

     I get it.  Honestly, I do but I do not have to like it.  Sometimes it seems that Dear Daughter's phone is glued to her hand and her head is constantly bent at a 45-degree angle as her thumbs punch out messages to her friends.  "Mom, it's how we, I read stuff!"  Seriously, what ever happened to talking on the phone or reading a book?

     So, we booked two nights at a local state park.  The cabin was rustic...meaning, NO WIFI.  Actually, it was really, really rustic.  It was a test on my part as well to see if I could remember to bring everything...because you had to bring everything.  The cabins had furniture, a functional kitchen with running water and a fireplace but that is it.  We had to bring everything else to include dishes.  Dear Husband grumbled as he loaded the car.  "Are we going away for a year or just for the weekend?"

     Kooser State Park is only about 90 minutes from our house, which made the drive easy.  It is a small yet serene park in the Laurel Highlands with cabins built by the CCC.  Our intent was to cook some nice dinners, do a bit of hiking, play some games and read.  Of course, no sooner had we arrived and unpacked, Dear Daughter was already setting up the game board.  The Trivial Pursuit marathon was about to begin.  We did manage to break for dinner.

     The following morning got off to a lazy start.  Dear Husband and I were up by 8:00 a.m. and I have to admit even I was looking around for an IPAD so that I could read the newspaper.  Dear Daughter must have been exhausted from the previous evening's events as we had to wake her up after her twelfth hour of sleep!  We enjoyed our favorite Spanish breakfast and then headed out to the trailhead to begin our hike.

     We were hiking a part of the Laurel Highlands Trail, a beautifully maintained trail that covers about 70 miles from Ohiopyle, PA to Laurel Ridge State Park.  Dear Husband regaled us with his stories of hiking the entire trail as a freshman in college.  And although we have heard them before, we listened as if it were the first time.  Dear Daughter took the lead and as we entered a fairly dense forest, she mentioned that it reminded her of Bastogne.  Ok, what 14 year old has those kinds of memories?  

     Prior to Dear Daughter, Dear Husband and I did a lot of hiking. But Post Dear Daughter, our treks have dwindled to one or two a year.  While in Europe, we had two wonderful hiking trips in Austria.  We call them "hiking with benefits" because when you reached the top, there was the mountain hut to greet you with warm soup and cold beer!

     It was the gunshots that brought us back to reality.  It was the gunshots that sounded very close that spooked us just a bit.  Well, it is hunting season and we had come across one hunter already. Dear Daughter and I were wearing orange vests and Dear Husband had on an orange baseball cap with the hopes that we would be seen.  We skirted off the trail a bit and resumed at a lower level. Needless to say, the last mile was a pretty quick mile.

     Lunch was simple pub food at a nearby restaurant and we headed into town for S'more supplies.  Back at the cabin, we set up a bonfire and lazily sat around it listening to the only radio station our radio could pick up.  Later that evening, I made a simple appetizer, Dear Daughter handled the au gratin potatoes and Dear Husband perfectly grilled a steak.  The Trivial Pursuit Marathon continued until we all "mid-game" decided that it was time for bed.

     We were back home the next morning in time for the Steeler game.  It was a nice weekend - much laughter and many jokes.  To my daughter's credit, she kept her phone in the car the entire time.  Has it made a difference since our return?  Of course not! But we will continue to sneak in these types of never know!

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