Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Greetings from Warfordswhere?

A couple of years ago, when I googled for rental places in the region that allow pets, I came across the place that we stayed this past weekend. The cabins were unavailable when we've previously tried to visit, so this was our first trip up there, there being just outside Warfordsburg, which is the first exit in Pennsylvania on I-70. Yep, smack dab in the middle of nowhere, where we were able to hike, hot tub, and generally hang out. Other than a trip to a far away brewpub for lunch on Saturday, we stayed on the property the whole time.

1. The property evidently had been in the same family for years, and it was only in the last dozen or so years that they decided to rent out cabins there. The cabin we stayed in is called Sophronia, and there were a couple of other references on the property to Sophie. The first night in the cabin, I discovered a pamphlet/short story called "Sophie's Story." I skimmed it to learn that Sophie was a girl who lived in the valley about 100 years ago, and who, when she was eight, burned to death when the wind caused her to catch aflame from a controlled brush fire. The end of the pamphlet provided directions to Sophie's grave in case you wanted to put flowers there. We thought the fascination was a bit weird, though it seemed more than that when we found the needlepoint couplet on the wall in the bedroom that read, "This valley is my home, From it I never will roam. -- Sophie 1908."

2. Upon arrival, we discovered that Sophronia had no bathtub. By Sunday Emelia definitely needed a bath, so we improvised:

3. On our Sunday morning hike, we went up a small hill, not knowing where the path would lead. When I say hike, I mean that I carry the camera and Kathy carries Emelia. It may not seem chivalrous, but Kathy says she hardly feels the weight, while I have a bad back. The trail wasn't particularly steep -- it just went uphill for an extended time. Eventually the trail took us to a different trail, part of which we'd done Saturday morning. We ended up on a wholly different segment, however, that seemed tame at first, but then offered a brief sharply downhill section followed by a stretch that was against the mountain. This stretch was narrow, had poor footing (loose leaves covered by a little bit of snow), and was roughly 40 degrees (i.e., your left foot was supporting all your weight while your right foot was uphill). I had enough trouble navigating it without a child on my back, but Kathy had it much worse, particularly given that she wasn't wearing shoes with treads. By this time we didn't see that we could go back the way we came, so we pressed onward, only to discover that the trail abruptly ended with an arrow that pointed downward to the bottom of the hill. We tried to ease our way down, but ultimately Kathy sat down involuntarily, braced herself, then went on a lovely sled ride, hold the sled, with Emelia on her back laughing and loving it. A run in the washer and dryer later, Kathy's pants were as good as new. As for her willingness to hike again, I admit that I pushed her to take another one in the afternoon. Fortunately, it was much milder (though not easy by any means).

(I was above them for the climactic slide down the hill, and Kathy refused to go back up so I could get a good picture of it).

4. A couple of times last week, when I was counting with Emelia, I threw in the "ah ah ah!" of Sesame Street's The Count. Emelia doesn't watch TV, so she's never seen The Count, but the day before we left, and ever since then, she's been saying "ah ah ah!" all the time (not that she's actually counting). In her honor: