When last week became one of the most stressful weeks of my life, I knew I wanted to do one thing to relax: hike.
I live just over five hours away from my family, who are dispersed throughout northeast Pennsylvania and upstate New York. When I found out I’d have a few days off in a row for the holiday (which doesn’t often happen in the world of journalism), I broke out a map and looked for places to visit that wouldn’t be too far out of the way on my normal route to see them.
Finding out that the Pennsylvania Grand Canyon, one of the places on my “to visit” list that you can read about here, was on the way, I made it my first stop.
The canyon, in Wellsboro, Pa., was beautiful. Atop one of the mountains, the view seemed endless, even though a thick cloud of humidity and fog hung over the area.
The hike down to the bottom was kind of brutal. Not only was it wet from a few days of rain, but it was steep — a combination that can, at times, be dangerous. The state park, Leonard Harris State Park, was also very busy, which was to be expected on Labor Day weekend.
Sunday was spent at my aunt and uncle’s cottage, a place where I practically grew up and fell in love with the water and being outdoors in general.
Wrighter’s Lake is just outside of Thompson, Pa., and is home to many of my favorite memories.
Speaking of trails being dangerous when wet, my nephew learned first-hand just how dangerous they can be during our hike on Monday.
Barely out of the car, we began our trek up a steep hill at Salt Springs State Park near Montrose, Pa., a trail probably too difficult for our skill level and too wet for experienced hikers, too. Evan ended up tumbling back down the mountain in to a creek bed.
He made it out with a broken nose, broken eye socket and 15 stitches, but luckily, was still able to go to the Red Sox vs. Yankees game in New York today — which I’m sure made him feel plenty better.
What I’ve learned from this experience: Know the trail before you go, and be prepared for anything to happen. I stuck a first aid kit in my hiking bag as soon as I made it back to Indiana on Monday, and will plan my hikes (especially with family) better in the future.