I am not a camper. I don’t think I ever will be. Outdoorsy will never be included in a definition under my name. However, when Brian grinds the coffee by hand and we enjoy steaming mugs while the children eat yogurt, granola and fruit I am able to take deep breaths and smile. (I know, I know… what we do in Gimli isn’t really camping.) We decided to make our way to the Watkins Glen gorge and take a hike. Poor Ash forgot any other shoes than his flip flops, so we scrambled to find something for him to use and he squeezed his feet into Bear’s old tennis shoes (because he brought two pair!) and we wandered to the beginning point.
The views here were breathtaking. I can only imagine what further up was like, because I had hit my exhaustion point already and knew I could not hike. I found a shady spot at the foot of the gorge while Bri went on ahead with the children. Ash-man especially had a hard time with this and didn’t enjoy being there without me. It was heartbreaking to watch him struggle as they walked away and left me.
Next to me sat a very chatty and very colorful elderly lady who won my heart when she told me I couldn’t have a teenager because I was just a teenager myself. She regaled me with tales of life in New York (50 years and this was her first time at the gorge), life in the Navy (she was a WAVE), winters in New York, and vacationing at the KOA (which was apparently awful because she hated camping) with her daughters. She told me of her daughter’s battle and recovery from cervical cancer and how much she loved her grandchildren. There was a man there, too, with his dog and mother-in-law. We chatted abotu vacationing in the Outer Banks and children running track. It helped pass the time while my loves were gone, and they returned breathless and tired with descriptions of lush scenery and beautiful views.
We headed back to camp, packed up and moved on, driving beside Seneca Lake through New York wine country to a little campground in Geneva which was a perfect spot for a restful afternoon. We were joined by Brian’s elementary school friend, Tish, and her family. It was a wonderful afternoon of swimming and bouncy pad jumping and swinging and sliding and delicious food and drink, of new friends and new stories to share, of laughter and silliness, of heart smiles. It was a much needed middle of our trip break, and I wondered how this could be half over? It felt like we had only begun.