Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Two in the Bag

Day 2, September 11.

After a quick breakfast,
we break camp at 7:30 AM. We're on a mission today.
A 3 hour drive from Maryland puts us at our first resting point:  Rancocas State Park in New Jersey.  Or is it an abandoned field?
So happy this curmudgeon can't talk.  
Turn your frown upside down, Pete.  A shuttered park means dogs can roam free and after white knuckle traffic conditions, I can pretend there aren't millions of people all around me. Enochlophobia: irrational fear of crowds.  "Irrational"???  I prefer rational, logical and instinctive self preservation.  
Breath, Jamie, breath.
A pessimist would see a very desolate park.
But, I see it as a last refuge for wildlife.
The next 4 hour leg of the journey takes us right past NYC, hard to enjoy the skyline while hurtling through traffic at Mach 2.  In Northern Connecticut, I fall out of my Korean rocket ship and kiss the ground.  We made it!  I can quit holding my breath.
We're in Natchaug National Forest.  The map I printed at home doesn't correspond to the area.  We are not lost, only wandering... following our fearless leader, Cole.  Who, instinctively, leads us towards gun fire.
Numbnuts leads us right through Eastern Conn Sportsman's Club land.  Every time a shot rings, he points.  Unorthodox run, but still qualifies for our cross country odyssey.  Cole's first feather in his cap:  CT is in the bag.
An hour later, he grabs a second feather:  RI.
Pete's enthusiasm is hard to contain. 
Lincoln Woods State Park covered bridge entrance.  Sweet!
We do our run, more like a scramble over boulders.
Pete:  "Taxi! taxi?"
The drive through rural Connecticut and Rhode Island soothes me immensely.  The bucolic farms and historic house provide sensory overload.
Can you imagine a house surviving war, beetles and the worst nightmare possible:  remodeling?
323 years, unscathed.
As is the house one of my ancestors built in the early 1700's in Ashford, CT.
10 years spent researching my family's genealogy bear fruit.  Gives me shivers to think that fingers that share my DNA put those boards up on the house.  Would their hearts be just as stirred to know that their 5th great granddaughter is standing on the lawn proudly beholding their work? I hope so.  When I reflect back on the multitudes of hardships my colonial forefathers endured, my life's obstacles don't seem insurmountable after all.  For example, driving through Boston traffic to get to our campground in northern Mass...  
I keep my info book on my lap-- my safety blanket.

Easily 200 pages of navigation info, camping reservations, trail maps, local history.  As with every trip, should the binder become lost, all pages have been xeroxed and put in a manila envelope under the trunk's carpet.  Welcome to my world.
Once again, I'm setting up camp by head lantern.  We're basically all alone in this one area of 50 camp sites at Harold Parker State Park.  Peaceful vicinity.  Yet, the constant hum of traffic in the distance and planes flying overhead are oppressive. Now, I finally understand why urban gardens have fountains:  to muffle the noise of the city.
The next morning, we get a good look at our surroundings for the first time.
"We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto".  
Smell the air, we're getting closer to Maine, that's where the real fun will begin.  But, that's a story for another day....