It always seems to me that the first touch of fall makes people double down on their attempts to get outdoors and have fun. They can see the cold and snow on the horizon and hurry to get in as much outdoor time as possible before the weather chases them inside to wait for spring. Even though I try to carry on having fun outdoors through the winter, I feel the same urge to take advantage of the nice weather before it goes.
So there's been quite a bit of bike riding, some camping, some hiking, and even a little bit of kayaking over the last month. The weather has been very dry, so the trails are in great shape - but of course that leaves the creeks so low that boating is mostly out of the question.
The weather was great for the Conneaut, Ohio D-Day re-enactment on August 22. Kenny and I headed up in the morning to check out the encampments before the main event. It was amazing to see all the people in uniforms from the middle of the last century - American, British, French and German troops each had their own area. The re-enactors buy their own gear and weapons, and come to this event all at their own cost, from all across the eastern U.S.
We watched a re-enactment of a battle over a bridge near the beaches on D-Day, then got a spot for the main battle. Though they lacked a big armor presence, the landing craft, artillery and aircraft made for an amazing, and very touching, recreation. This was our first trip to the event, and I'm sure it will be something we'll be going to every year from now on.
I took quite a bit of video of the battle of the bridge, but it gets so blurry when downloaded to Blogspot that it's not worth putting on the blog.
Since we missed out on a real vacation this summer we tried to get as much time off as possible for the Labor Day holiday. Kenny and I headed over to Allegheny National Forest near Cooks Forest State Park on Thursday afternoon, hoping to beat the holiday crowd and get one of the nice dispersed campsites along the Clarion River. We got over to the river around 8:00, just about half an hour after a surprise rainstorm brought a couple of inches of rain and high winds to the area.
We managed to get a good site near Robin Island, just before the road was blocked by a downed tree. It was getting dark as we set up our tents, but we've been camping so many times before that we could probably set them up in total darkness.
Diana had to work on Friday morning, but headed over just after lunch. The rain brought the river level up from barely runnable to a good low level, so Kenny got in his first solo river kayak trip while we were waiting for here to arrive.
|Kenny on the Clarion River.|
Diana did manage to find her way to our site, and with the extra gear she brought we finished setting up our campsite. We had three tents (one for Kenny, one for us, and one for the gear), a big tarp over the eating area and a tarped off shower spot in the back of the campsite. Kenny even had his hammock set up by his tent for serious relaxing.
We stayed till Monday, so that made for 5 days out for Ken and I. There was more boating, some bicycling, hiking, and plenty of relaxing. We all went up to Leeper to eat at the Sawmill one evening. All in all it was a pretty great mini-vacation and I'm glad that we got a chance to get out in the good weather.
|Diana and I at Beartown Rocks.|
|Beartown Rocks trail.|
|View over Clarion River Valley from Beartown Rocks overlook.|
|Clarion River near our campsite.|
The next weekend I had hoped that there would be enough rain to make the streams come up so that I could kayak. Turns out there wasn't enough rain for that, but it was enough rain to make the mountain bike trails soft. That left me wondering what to do, so I decided to try out a new paved trail, over at Goddard State Park in Pennsylvania.
|Goddard State Park, Pennsylvania|
|Lots of hills!|
|Evening approached on Little Beaver Creek Greenway.|
|Sunset at the same spot the next week.|
|The descent into the Gorge at West Branch State Park.|
|A fellow trail user on Western Reserve Greenway.|
|Leaves starting to change color on the Western Reserve Greenway.|
|Ken on baritone sax at the Apple Cider Festival parade.|