Monday, September 13, 2010

From Bay to Mountain Lake

After completing the Sandy Point quest the Friday before Labor Day, the boys and I headed west.  My cousin, our self-appointed Park Quest Drill Sergeant, lives part-time on a ridge above Waynesboro, Pennsylvania.  We decided to make her house our headquarters for the weekend.

Saturday morning, we ate a hearty breakfast and climbed into Sergeant Sherri's car armed with an equally hearty picnic cooler.  The 90 minute drive to Rocky Gap State Park was beautiful.  The sky was dotted with puffy cotton ball clouds and the air was crisp and clean.  Each ridge the highway climbed was higher than the last. 

A little blurry--taken from the window of our moving car.
Gabe, our budding paleontologist, particularly loved Sideling Hill, where the highway cuts through mountain exposing 850 vertical feet of layered rock. He was convinced there were fossils in them there hills.

Sideling Hill
As we came around another ridge and the park came into view, the entire car breathed, "wow."  The mountains surrounded a glittering lake speckled with the occasional canoe or small fishing boat.  It was breathtaking.

We checked in with the park office and began our second hike-for-clues quest of the weekend. Sherri and Matt led the way.

I'm not sure there could have been a lovelier day.  The wind was fairly strong, but the sun was warm.  The trail was easy to follow and I could have admired the beauty of lake and mountains all day.

The boys were sometimes more interested in admiring Sherri's camelbak water carrier.

We saw a tree beavers had gnawed.  We stood on a small foot bridge and tried to guess which critter had made which tracks in the mud below us.  And we had a one-winged buzzard welcome us to the aviary.

The boys explored the shoreline.  Gabe as always looked for fossils.  Matt skipped around winging the occasional rock into the lake.

We ate our picnic in rare silence, admiring the view and already looking forward to our next trip to Rocky Gap.

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