It’s the end of summer at Hickory Run state park. A touch of autumn is in the air and the leaves are starting to go through their wardrobe change from greens to oranges, golds and reds. Acorns are shooting out of the oak trees. They dive bomb my RV and car as I search for a campsite. A brief four day respite with family and friends before I continue westward.
I’ve camped in this park with my children as early as April 9th for the first day of fishing; so cold it snowed at night and we used a heater in our tent. But my son, Michael proudly caught a trout the next morning which made it all worthwhile.
There was even a time when we camped here with our good friend, Carrie who taught us how to mimic the old-time movies by shaking a flashlight back and forth real fast at night on one of us moving about. It worked and looked just like the black and white movie reels from long ago.
This time around I’m in my tin can home; alone but far from lonely. Close to family and familiar auto and RV garages; I’ve made appointments for both vehicles to get inspected and checked over before making my way west. It also gives me the opportunity to see good friends and share a couple of campfires. With only a couple of days to pack it all in, my dance card is full.
Nothing changes at Hickory Run. Boulder Field, a geological wonder stands as evidence of the last ice age. I remember hiking across it one winter in a foot of snow; very cautiously stepping from one boulder to the next. My hiking buddy was in the lead and turned to talk to me, lost footing and as he stumbled, his temporary false front tooth came shooting out of his mouth into the snow. Incredibly, we could see the tiny hole it left in the snow as it sank and with just a little digging around, he recovered his tooth. I couldn’t even begin to make this stuff up!
As a child, I’d come to Hickory Run Lake fishing with my dad. Well, he was fishing; I was scrambling down the bank to the stream, overturning rocks in search of crayfish and hellgrammites. The crayfish would shoot themselves backward underwater when I got near them, just like their big brothers, the lobsters; the hellgrammites would scamper along the creek bottom carrying along their hollow stick homes with only their front feet sticking out.
It was fun discovering the natural world as a kid, just by being let loose in the woods or along a creek. I’ve grown to love the outdoors now as an adult and cherish all the wonderful memories. It’s fun now, reliving those memories as I visit the park again on my way to making new ones.
(aka Tin Can Traveler)