I apologize in advance for the long post. I missed posting yesterday so I’m catching up on the past 2 days. Another thing- we updated our comment section so you can now comment without logging into Facebook if you choose. We ♥ comments.
Our last day in Pennsylvania was hot- really hot. So hot that we spent the afternoon inside with the AC cranking. Neither of us have ever lived somewhere with AC before so this is a real treat. Our big furry dog agrees. He spent the afternoon snoozing while Tim got some work done and I took advantage of the unlimited water supply to do some cleaning.
We did manage to sneak in some outside time in the morning before the heat was unbearable. A short 25 minute drive took us to the Cook State Forest, a 8,500 acre forest most famous for its stands of huge old growth trees. There is network of hiking trails that meander through the forest and I found a handy guide online with descriptions and locations of all the trails. We chose the 2 mile Cook trail because it started and ended near the Clarion River. Phineas got in his daily swim and we watched vacationers as they floated & paddled down the river.
We saw a few people floating down the river in these two-person rafts. There was a place nearby crawling with people that rented them along with canoes and kayaks. Looked like fun, but we had to remind ourselves that we’re not on vacation and we can’t do everything fun that we see. Besides, the water was kind of brown and yucky looking. Also there was a huge information sign about water snakes- yikes! I don’t care if the sign said they’re harmless- I think snakes are the grossest creatures ever and you couldn’t pay me enough to go in a river where snakes hang out. Thankfully we didn’t see any.
Our hike through the forest was pretty awe inspiring. Getting a good picture of the massive old growth trees was practically impossible, but here’s a few of my attempts.
One of my favorite parts of this hike was the signs located throughout the forest with information about the trees. I’m kind of a nerd when it comes to nature so anytime I can learn while I hike I’m pretty happy. The next picture is of an American Chestnut snag. It was killed by a chestnut blight in the early 1920s and has been hanging out here ever since.
Did you know that birch beer is made from the bark of the Black Birch tree? Now you do.
On the edge of the trail were a bunch of rustic looking cabins for rent. Seems like a great place to vacation (if you don’t have an airstream of course).
We enjoyed our exploration of western Pennsylvania, but the time had come to continue moving west. Next stop – Mosquito Lake State Park near Cortland, Ohio. Yeah I know…the name is really unfortunate, so far no mosquitos though. Our original intention was to drive straight through Ohio. There was nothing in this state that really called out to us and we’re pretty excited to get up into Michigan and explore the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan. However, we’re trying to maintain a slow travel pace and so far have managed to stick to our no more than 200 miles a day rule. Driving straight through Ohio would have exceeded 200 miles and then some. This is actually a pretty nice park situated on the shores of man made mosquito lake. The majority of sites are wooded and while there are no sites right on the water, the boating access spot is really close to our site, and just a few miles down the road is a five acre dog park and dog only beach!
Phineas is pretty sure this is the best idea ever.
Phineas made friends with two standard poodles- Teddy & Ollie. Ollie (the white one) was only 7 months old and recovering from some kind of leg surgery. The vet said swimming was the best exercise for him. The only problem- he was just a pup and didn’t know how to swim. Lucky for him master swimmer Phineas was around to show him the ropes. After watching Phin swim to the ball a few times he ventured out on his own and was soon paddling like a pro.
The dog swimming area wasn’t very big, but it was enough to make our pooch very happy.
We’ll be here until Monday morning so more pictures of our site (and of us) to come. Supposed to be warm but cloudy all weekend so hopefully we’ll find some hiking near by.