When this COVID-19 lockdown is over, one of the things on my bucket list is a bike ride around all of the Belgian villages that pop up on my geneology. I have traced one line of my ancestry back to an area of West Flanders near Brugge. However, while that remains in the bucket with all the other traveling plans, this crisis has managed to have a few benefits. One of those is actually going back and looking at pictures I have taken in the past that I have either never looked at or haven’t looked at in years.
One set of pictures that falls under the never looked at category is another geneology of sorts. A geneology of my childhood. It was a trip I made in 2012 with my daughter to my hometown of Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. Along the way from Philadelphia where we had just enjoyed a few days exploring the city, we stopped at perhaps my favorite hiking place from my youth. Rickett’s Glen State Park in Benton, PA.
Rickett’s Glen is known for its 24 waterfalls, the tallest being the roughly 29m Ganoga Falls. The trail itself was designed in the late 1800’s when the land was privately owned and used as an attraction for a hotel. However, this is no artificial promenade for late-Victorian era, parasol-toting, holiday-goers. If you start the trail from the public parking on Route 118 like I have done, it is roughly a 10km hike with a 300m ascent. That is nothing to sneeze at, and it really makes this hike a gem. I like this hike so much that I have done it 3 or 4 times in my life and I have yet to see any other part of the park.
Thanks to my beautiful hiking partner, my daughter, for patiently cooperating for many of the photos. She was 12 at the time. Damn, they grow up so fast, don’t they?
Looking at these pictures brings back memories of a childhood that was often disrupted, but out of which arose one great joy that continues on with me today — the love of hiking and being out in nature. I have always felt honored to bring that joy of hiking to my daughter and especially in the case of Rickett’s Glen, to share a part of my childhood that even in 2012 already felt like it existed in another life. After the hike, we continued on to Lock Haven where we proceeded to tour around looking for all of the places I used to live before I went off to Penn State University. I don’t expect the casual reader who is just here looking for pictures of Rickett’s Glen to really care, but for myself I post them here for posterity. They are in more or less chronological order with the last being the home of a friend, whose family graciously took me in for the last half of my senior year in high school after the untimely death of my grandmother. It is a reminder to me that although we are trying to prevent deaths by distancing ourselves from each other, death and disease have always existed, and passing germs onto others has always been a part of our lives. We must not be afraid to go back to that closeness. I am also reminded to embrace life and embrace my past and all of the building blocks that each experience along the way has contributed to who I am today.