Douthat State Park

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^^Rain drops on the camera lens FTW ^^

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^^ The leaves have already begun their passage into Fall ^^

Last week (actually two weeks ago as I’m always behind in updating this blog) was a pretty hectic one for Hubs so we decided to take a last-minute getaway to the Allegheny Mountains and stay at a cabin in Douthat State Park.

Things that I always think I’ll do at a cabin:
Sketch/watercolor gallery-quality drawings of nature
Read/finish a deep book on nature, like something written by John Muir or Thoreau
Write something really profound
Get up really early and go trail running (hahahaha this still makes me laugh)

Things I actually end up doing:
Stare mindlessly into the fireplace
Play Candy Crush
Take lots of macro photos of plant life
Rain-hike (hiking in the rain because you forgot a)it was going to rain b)rain gear)
Drink alcohol

It rained pretty much rained all weekend without a break in the weather except (of course) the day we left, which was beautiful and sunny and perfect. After eating and reading the majority of the time we sort of waivered on whether or not we had the desire to go on a hike.  We studied several maps (none of which had any sort of description on the hikes beyond ‘easy’ or ‘difficult’) and decided to drive halfway up the side of the mountain so that we could access the Mountain Top trail at the midway point, rather than climb the whole thing.

The sprinkling rain was more of a nuisance in the beginning — we were more or less protected from it by the heavy tree foliage. But like that was going to last. About 15 minutes into the trail, it started to pour, and by the time we reached the top of the mountain, all we could see were walls of white surrounding us. At one point I lifted my fists to the sky like I’ve seen in the movies and yelled, “IS THAT ALL YOU GOT?” And of course, the rain replied, “Not. Even. Close.”

After a while we just embraced the whole rain-hike thing, and in embracing it, it became fun. We couldn’t see anything, which was sort of the point of hiking to the top of a mountain, but still, it was fun — it felt as if we were two kids splashing around in puddles. And when we thought about it, when was the last time we really enjoyed playing in the rain?

A couple hours/miles of rain-hiking later, we were back in the warmth of our cozy cabin, taking scalding hot showers and drying our clothes by the fire that took us forever to get going on account of the wet wood. We snacked on bowls of homemade granola while Sly made some Ramen from scratch for dinner.  The rest of the evening was spent in front of the fire where were engrossed in our books until the wee hours of the morning.

In truth, I think I was sort of hoping to squeeze out the last bit of Summer into this trip. I was hoping for sunny days lying on the beach by the lake, renting a boat for a few hours and having Sly paddle me around, outdoor grilling and outdoor picnics.  But it was clear that the seasons were already in the process of changing, and that Fall was no longer ‘right around the corner’ but instead was officially here.

TIP: We (meaning me) aren’t exactly spontaneous planners, but a couple years ago I recall reading on some social media platform that one could book any available cabins in the VA park system for 25% off when the booking was made on Thurs the week of (known as ‘the weekend cabin promo’). These discount reservations can only be made by calling the reservation desk. Be prepared to talk to several people who have no idea what you are talking about. If this happens, point them to this link

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