There and Back Again
Our first “real” family vacation is over. We spent three nights at Bear Creek Lake State Park in Cumberland, VA (Pop. 393), nationally famed as being the location of our honeymoon in October 2009. (There’s a commemorative plaque outside Cabin 6.) As an experiment to see if we could have an actual vacation with Griff, we think it was a success. Not without its bumpy spots, but with enough great moments to make it worthwhile.
Griff spread out his toys and made himself at home right away.
While Daddy spent a few minutes resting on the back porch.
The park has a central lake, with cabins on one side, and a sandy artificial beach/playground/boat house/campground on the other. Various trails follow the lake shore, and we divided our time between the beachy playground and taking (necessarily) short hikes on the trails.
Griff did pretty well on the trails, considering his age. The main issue was that Sean and I were dying to just spend a couple hours full-on hiking, and this simply wasn’t happening with a 2-year-old who wanted to spend his time alternately sprinting up the trail and stopping to examine every acorn and pebble on the path. (He was also obsessed with handing out railway tickets made of leaves.) On the other hand, we had a nice time sitting on the various benches while Griff threw things into the water.
Griff really enjoyed the beach playground area.
Daddy tested the equipment for safety before Griff used it.
Mommy even got some knitting in!
Trees were hugged, both big and small.
One morning we decided to drive outside the park to the northern trailhead of the Willis River Trail, which sounded interesting because it supposedly had a swinging bridge at mile 0. Griff giggled hysterically as we bumped and vibrated along the dirt roads in the Cumberland State Forest (within which Bear Creek Lake Park is located), and we arrived to find a sketchy-looking bridge over a really pretty bit of scenery.
Griff and Daddy braved the bridge first.
The end of the bridge led to exactly nowhere, which was weird and disappointing. The view was very nice, though,
After this adventure, we headed for the trailhead, and found this piled up right at the start of the trail.
Aside from being annoyed at the type of hunters who give hunters a bad name, at this point we remembered that it was hunting season, that hunting was allowed in the state forest (although not within the park), and that none of us were wearing blaze orange and we had a 2-year-old with us. So we got back into the car and that was that.
Books were read, by daylight and firelight. (The same 10 books. For three days. Next time we’re renting a cargo van and bringing ALL of Griff’s books).
Griff enjoyed his first s’mores.
Mommy finished most of a Griff sock.
I photographed a mysterious blue, glowing entity in the woods. It looked just like that mysterious blue, glowing entity that took over that crew member in that one episode of ST:TNG.
All in all, I think it’s safe to say we’ll be back in the Spring. 🙂