Last week, after a strangely cool June, the temperatures finally soared past 90 and the humidity turned my hair into Cousin It with an 80s perm. Luckily, I had reserved a camping spot in Rickett’s Glen, Pennsylvania, after their dad told me I would have them for Father’s Day, after all. Unluckily, the forecast called for thunderstorms pretty much every day.
I hesitated. Take my daughters camping anyway and risk a miserable time in the storm? Or stay in DC and get a haircut?
Pretty much every day, in fact.
On the one day it didn’t rain at all, we hiked the four-mile loop of 18 waterfalls. The 7.5 mile loop gives you 22 waterfalls, but really, who needs 22 waterfalls? After the first nine, they all kind of looked the same, to be honest. But the hike was gorgeous, and my four-year-old did the whole thing on her own two feet instead of mine.
We passed an older man halfway up a rocky, thigh-burning staircase. “Make sure you tell your girls to be careful,” he told me. “The rocks are slippery and wet by the waterfalls.”
And because I’m trying this new thing where I don’t get pissy at people who mean well, I smiled and thanked him.
We saw him again as we were leaving. “You made it!” he said. “I was worried about you.”
My eight-year-old looked at him with wide eyes. “I was worried about you, too,” she said, very sincerely. “You’re so old.”
On the days it did rain, we mostly swam in the lake. Water is water, after all, and we couldn’t get any wetter than we were. The thunderstorm didn’t roll in until nighttime and it was glorious. I love a good storm. My daughters slept right through it but I stayed awake, listening to the call and answer of the thunder and lightning. The tent stayed dry. (We use this one.)
We had a good time.
It could just as easily have gone to shit.
You never really know what you’ll get, when you take the trip–whether it’s camping, hiking, backpacking, rafting, whatever. You just never know.
But you know what you get if you stay.