We’d been back on the grid for at least 30 minutes, but it wasn’t until my phone buzzed independently in my pocket (a text message from an AWOL contractor, as it happened) in the Buckhannon McDonald’s that I felt fully human again. We’d spent three nights camping at Holly River State Park, where, in addition to the usual deprivations, we’d been forced to endure a lack of cellular coverage. There was Wifi in the vicinity of the park’s main office, but even once connected, I found it possible to download work email only once.
Camping is important for remembering that nature is disgusting and wants to kill us.
— Werner Twertzog (@WernerTwertzog) July 11, 2016
We arrived on a Sunday, just as most other current campground occupants were pulling out. By the time we had erected our Eureka, we shared our loop of the campground road with only one other party, a pair of older men who spent a lot of time drinking coffee and talking. The low rumble of their voices started most mornings around six a.m.
“This is the worst day of my life,” said Coen, our oldest (at six), apparently frustrated that the pool was too cold for his skinny little body to stand for more than a few minutes at a time. Lounging poolside was also unpleasant, due to a vexing species of fly that was so slow to react to a waved hand that brushing them away risked crushing them on your body. At least they didn’t bite.
But if you’re there for the pool, you are really at the wrong park.
This is a hikers’ park, with tons of trails departing from or near the campground, or the cabins (where my parents stayed). The kids still being a little on the small side for trekking, we only got in two hikes, the “Nature’s Rock Garden” near the cabins and the “Salt Lick Trail,” which linked the cabins and the campground. Both were a great distance for kids (less than two miles); the six-year-old made it the whole way both times without complaint (although I had to let him chatter endlessly about Minecraft the whole time), and the four-year-old only gave up for the last half mile of Salt Lick. They both felt quite accomplished once the hikes were done, however.
This is a good get-away-from-it-all campground (see cell phone difficulties, described earlier), but it might not offer quite enough to do if your kids aren’t hikers and require high levels of stimulation.
One feature that was quite nice was the proximity of a pretty shallow creek to our camp site; the kids had fun building and splashing there. Curiously,
some witches someone had constructed two archways in the water, which made the spot seem even more lovely and mysterious.