Some people love the ocean. Others love the mountains. For me, it’s always been the trees. I love the cool shade of a forest, the color of the leaves against the blue sky, the moss and funny-looking mushrooms, the songbirds.
Our kids both went to band camp this summer, so Chris and I headed to the woods, Cook Forest in western Pennsylvania. It was a week of calm and relaxation amid a summer of frenzied activity. And the weather was perfect, low- to mid-70s each day we were there.
Cook Forest is a 7,000 plus-acre state park, famous for its old growth forest. Some trees are close to 300 years old and are nearly 200 feet high. There are towering white pines, hemlocks, and beech trees. Being among them made me feel quite small—it does put things in perspective.
Then there’s the Clarion River, the eastern border of the park. On a previous trip with the girls, we went on a 10-mile canoe trip, a memorable day, it turns out, since the canoe tipped and we watched our shoes float downriver. (We laugh about it now but it was nerve-racking at the time.) This trip, however, Chris and I biked along the river. At lunchtime, we walked out to the perfect flat rock and picnicked on smoked kippers, garden tomatoes, and blueberry pie that we’d made the day before.
We stayed in a cute cabin that had everything we needed. There were two bedrooms, one labeled “The Josephine Room” and the other “The Helen Room,” named for the former homeowners. Funny since Josie is our daughter and Helen is Chris’s mother. Chris declared there was no way we were sleeping in The Helen Room, so that settled it. Helen Room or not, it was a lovely spot, secluded in woods, where a hermit thrush serenaded us each evening. Boy, do I want to go back.