French Creek State Park, April 2014

The Girl Scouts made me do it!  There are FOUR Girl Scouts living under my roof and they have a very adventurous troop leader who has gone far beyond cookies to things like  parkour, a trap-neuter-return program for urban cats, an “I promise to vote” petition (who could lie or say no to a Brownie?  I’m pretty sure we affected the elections), and beneficial insect release in local parks.  Last week, they went camping at the lovely French Creek State Park.

IMG_1859This was an Organized Group Cabin Camp, which, as the name implies, is only available with some planning.  The cabins were similar to those at Hickory Run or World’s End, but rather more run-down.  I love the worn wood, but the animal nests on the cardboard covering the ancient bed springs were not especially pleasing.  Also, the holey screens would not offer much insect protection, however to be fair, we were the first to use the

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Really inside cabin

cabins this season.  Also, the insects were not yet active, and the modern bathroom building was very nice.  In addition to the cabins, we had access to a large indoor space to gather in bad weather and a large kitchen/dining hall. IMG_1863

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above: inside + outside the gathering hall, inside the kitchen

The weather was warm and sunny so we ended up spending some time at Hopewell Lake, actually a dammed portion of French Creek.  The kids went in, of course, despite cold water and the lack of bathing suits.  This was after the Girl Scouts part of the outing and included 3 mamas, a birthday girl turning 10, and a couple of younger brothers.  It was warm but not shady – I’d like to go back when there are leaves on the trees.  There is another lake called Scotts Run, and now that I’m looking at the brochure, it appears swimming is prohibited in both lakes.  Oops.  They apparently have a swimming pool open in the summer, but where’s the fun in that?

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The kids made snowman-like mud people and we had a little birthday party for the new 10-year-old.  On a warm day in early spring it was a sweet outing.  The park has over 7,700 acres including another lake called Scotts Run.  According to park information, it is an important oasis for migratory birds and other wildlife in a dense urban area in the NYC-Washington DC corridor.  In fact, the park website makes the interesting statement that

Straddling the Schuylkill Highlands, the 7,730-acre park is the largest block of contiguous forest between Washington D.C. and New York City.

and then this:

The park is an Important Bird Area and an Important Mammal Area as designated by the National Audubon Society.

So, ok!  A little more respect for this park is in order!  Props to French Creek.  Not too shabby for a former industrial site, also per the park brochure.  As for us, we had b-day celebrations back at the cabin camping area.

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