We drove out to see the Elk first.
The bull honored us by bellowing a great screeching roar.
Then we drove back to the main parking lot and took the walk around the
main loop where we saw the inmates and some nice flora.
The award for the
most animated creature goes to the turkey. Ted and Tom had gone
ahead of Maria and me. They soon discovered that they could get
the turkey to follow them back and forth across the front of their
enclosure. When I first arrived, I thought the boys were chasing
the turkey, but I soon learned that the turkey was following them!
It was very amusing to watch as the boys contrived all sorts of tests to
see what the turkey would do. I think the turkey was probably
bored or perhaps thought the boys had food. They weren't
interested in Maria and me!
We saw the bears,
some fox, a variety of other animals and soon reached the parking lot
again. We visited the gift shop where I purchased stickers for the
travel trunks and then we got back on the road headed for Holly River.
Holly River State Park
It was about 4pm by
the time we reached the park. There were a few people at one of
the pavilions, the restaurant was still open, and the sun was peeking
out just a bit. I found the keys to the cabin in an envelope with
my name on it left at the camp office. Following the signs we
drove up the park road to the Cabins and easily found Cabin 6.
The whole area was
very charming. It reminds me of the mental images I used to
conjure up of lush dark and green forests when Mom would read me fairy
tales, and especially
Hansel and Gretel.
unloaded and took a bike ride to see the area near to the headquarters,
game fields and pavilions. Maria got some salt and pepper from the
restaurant. The kids took off on their bikes.
cabin is small but it worked out well for us. Maria and I took the
bed and the kids got the air mattress on the floor. The fireplace
worked well with the supplied wood. Rounding out the features were
the fully-equipped kitchen and hot-and-cold running water shower and
bathroom. A great deal and much welcome after a day on the road.
boys went down to the Laurel Fork stream to play. I followed them
down and took pictures along the way. The area appears to remain
dark and damp most of the time so the moss is pervasive and very thick.
There was a lot to see in a small area.
The cabins are
close together, but we didn't find that to be a problem.
We had hamburgers
on the grill with corn and potatoes and onions that we brought with us.
After we cleaned up, we sat down to watch a DVD using the laptop.
The only problem was that the laptop was acting up and because of some
conflicts with drivers (new laptop, lots of new software installed just
two days before) we could not watch the movie. We lit a fire
instead and watched that.
In the morning we had a 10:00am check out time so we
had breakfast on the stove; eggs and bacon and home-fries. The
boys took their bikes and the walkie-talkies and headed out. I
packed everything while Maria cleaned up. Pretty soon everything
was back in the trunks, the cabin was clean, and the kids were back.
We took a few more pictures of the place and ourselves then headed back
on the road, this time for the falls and for Helvetia.
First we drove the campground loop to scout out
campsites. They're all nice but we prefer the ones near the
restrooms and at the same time with some privacy. With that
apparent contradiction, it's not easy to find them. I marked a
couple likely sites for future reference and we doubled back to the
We took CR-3 along the south border of the park,
through Hacker Valley. The waypoint I set led the GPS routing
software to assign a route that included a closed road (CR3/9) so when
we reached that turning point, we didn't find the road. I
continued on and pretty soon the waypoint was close-by so I re-routed
and found the way in. We found a parking area, picnic table and
boardwalk with steps down to some falls on Fall Run.
We parked the Jeep and walked down to the falls.
While we were there a large group of people came down
too. We headed back to the Jeep and had some sandwiches that we
had made in the morning before we left the cabin. While we ate,
the kids found a white caterpillar and spent a lot of time getting to
know it better...
While we were eating lunch the other visitors had made
the round-trip walk down to Shupe's Chute. We headed down and soon
came to the base of Potato Knob and the chute.
It took everything we had to keep the kids from
falling in the stream. The rocks were really slippery but they
wanted to climb all over it and try to get down to the edge. We
had to shoot for the delicate balance between being too hovering and not
being attentive enough. Every time I get them home in one piece I
think I have erred on the side of caution but sometimes I wonder if I
should just cut them loose?
After we tiptoed around Shute's Chute and decided for
the first time against climbing Potato Knob, we hiked down CR 3/9 (a
trail these days) and across the Left Fork of Holly River to the lower
falls. Along the way we were overtaken by a lone hiker. The
climb down the hill to the lower falls was a test of Maria's ankle that
was bothering her a little. But once down at the river, we are
able to enjoy it.
Once we had again discouraged some wet-rock climbing,
we climbed the bank back to the trail and hiked back up to the base of
Potato Knob. The four-tenths of a mile to the summit, nearly
vertical was enough to cause us to veto the climb. I could
envision getting part the way up and having some one of us go lame and
require SAR... Another day...
We hiked the rest of the way out to the Jeep and hit
the trail again. I took a side spur off CR-3 and followed the Left
Fork for a while. Then we doubled back and followed CR-3 the rest of the
way out to Pickens. We followed Pickens-Fairview Road all the way to
Mike and I had driven through Helvetia on
a scouting trip on February 18, 2006
(9:52:06 AM) and he had mentioned that I might like to take Maria there
for the crafts shops and the other things. I noticed when laying
out this trip on the map that it was close-by so made plans to come home
via this little village.
We arrived in the afternoon but still with some energy
and curiosity. The kids jumped out and quickly discovered the
Geese. Ted didn't believe me when I warned that the mother goose
was very protective of the babies, but after a few warnings, he decided
not to test it.
We took a walk around the little village.
There were at least three broods of geese that we saw.
They were all very well behaved, taking cues from the adults - what a
The bridge was decorated with planters full of
Behind the restaurant was a quaint shed that called to
Before we left we visited a crafts shop. Some
insulators were on display in the window.
We each got a "Helvetia" T-shirt. For Maria, I
bought a pendant that has the sun and the moon. Other items by the
same artist (Kasia Zywot or Zatarzyna Zywot) were
very nice - some shown here.
After that it was time to hit the road for home!