Our destination airport was Wilkes-Barre/Scranton International Airport (KAVP). The just under an hour flight was peaceful and offered a delightful sunset. Upon calling Wilkes-Barre Approach we had some trouble spotting the airport, as we got closer all we could really see was the tower and beacon, and soon the runway that was not in use. Eventually we were lined up with runway 22, the lights were very omni-directional which made it a bit of an extra challenge while landing at night at an unfamiliar airport. We also saw lightening in the distance, approach said it was just 15 miles to the north, heavy rain and moving south. Upon landing we were greeted by very friendly lineman at the FBO. While Bob picked up the rental car (only $17 at the terminal!) I unpacked and covered up the plane. Well, attempted to. The storm was coming in quick and I found myself caught within the cover more than I had the cover on the plane due to the wind.
As we drove into Scranton, the rain began to fall but teetered out by the time we checked into the hotel and got some pizza. While parking, we were pleasantly surprised by an excellent fireworks show set off by the courthouse. We enjoyed the show before taking our pizza back to the hotel. I was really surprised how well Turbo did with the fireworks! If you're looking for a place to stay in the area that is dog friendly, the Hilton Scranton & Conference Center was great.
We awoke in the morning ready for a day of hiking and a night of camping. Hickory Run State Park is just under a 45 minute drive from KAVP and has camping available. Bob had camped and hiked there when he was in Scouts, so I was exited to join Bob in reliving some memories.
Our first hike of the day was the 2 mile Shades of Death Trail, one of the most strenuous in the park. Interesting name, right? That was the sole reason I clicked on this trail while doing research on what to hike at the park. The hike got its name from the early settlers in the area but is actually full of beauty to include a stream and several waterfalls (natural and man-made). If you are a frequent hiker, you'll have no problem with this hike. It's more rugged then strenuous in my opinion.
Next up was the hike Bob did as a kid, Boulder Field. It's a four mile drive down the road from the park office. The park also labels this as a more difficult hike, but it's pretty easy and level all the way through. It's a total of 7 miles there and back. It starts through a beautiful field and the rest is through a wide and wooded forest. 3.5 miles into the hike, the woods suddenly stop. We were greeted by Boulder Field.
1,800 feet long and 400 feet wide, Boulder Field is exactly what it sounds like, a field of boulders and rocks...10 feet deep! During the ice age, the area was solid bedrock and a glacier nearby came close to it but did not push it all away. The nearby glacier caused a freeze/thaw disturbance in the bedrock that eventually caused it to crack. Over time, it deteriorated and shifted down an incline, creating Boulder Field.
It was quite an experience walking across this "pile of rocks" and required quite a bit of balance. Turbo was wiggly as well at first, but soon mastered it and did better than us with four legs! Despite a secluded hike, many people were walking about the rocks, most with arms out and "oooo" and "ahhh"s could be heard accompanied by giggles as they started to lose balance. There is a parking lot across from where we exited on our hike for those who come to just see the field without the hike.
After 9 miles of hiking in a rare October heat, we set up camp and started a fire to cook our hot dogs and beans and to roast marshmallows. The stars eventually became covered by clouds and once inside the tent, we drifted to a much earned sleep with rain gently falling outside. In the morning we'd be flying back from a weekend of our favorite things, flying, fireworks, hiking, camping and time together. Oh, and rocks!