Sunday, September 30, 2007


We've wanted to do this for awhile, but four of us physicists (and one token astronomer) finally got our schedules worked out and went camping this weekend. We went to Findley State Park, which is an hour or so to the southwest of Cleveland. It was an absolutely perfect weekend too- nary a cloud in the sky and warm enough during the day for shorts and t-shirts, which is very odd for this part of the country at this time of year.

This was also, it should be noted, my first time going "fun camping" with the exception of when I was in New Zealand. What I mean by this is I spent fifteen years of my life (from age 3 until I graduated high school) as a Hungarian Scout, so while there was a lot of living in tents during my vacations and what not it was all very structured and there was usually somebody yelling at you to do something. Here, on the other hand, it was very nice to wake up in the tent realizing that no one was going to make you jump out of your sleeping bag first thing in the morning for a few calisthenics (Hungarian Scouts have some sadistic traditions) or shout because my campfire wasn't in perfect tepee form or whatever. Ahhh, the joys of not having to abandon sleeping bag warmth at seven in the morning!

We (John, Alison, Nick, and me) arrived Friday night just around when it was getting dark, so while there was a lot of marshmallow consumption I don't have pictures as it was (obviously) a little dark. After breakfast and what not I took this picture as we headed out to explore the park because it amused me: nowhere else but Ohio would it be so flat that they warn you about an approaching hill! To make things further amusing we never found the hill, and so far as I could tell no hill exists in the area. Hmmm...
John examining the spillway that we came across, which had a sign that just guaranteed we were going to come closer for a second look.
A gorgeous thicket of purple wildflowers. I'm not entirely certain of what they are (do any of you guys?) but they were blooming everywhere in a last touch of summer. To top it off, a lot of the leaves on the trees were beginning to turn wonderful colors as well; it looked like someone had dipped a paintbrush and thrown brilliantly colored paint haphazardly throughout the woods.
Alison standing at the edge of the lake, which is around thanks to a natural dam towards one end of it. It's 93 acres all told, so we rented canoes and spent the afternoon exploring the inlets, admiring the foliage, observing the herons and egrets, and splashing each other in a good ol' fashioned canoe war. Fortunately (or incredibly?) enough, it was so warm yesterday that you didn't feel cold at all getting a little wet, and the sun took care of things quite quickly.

(Alas, no pictures from the water as I wasn't stupid enough to take my camera what with all the splash threats, even though that was probably the most photogenic.)
Once we were back at the campground we settled down for a bit of R&R while waiting for Steven (who had to work on Saturday and was joining us late) to arrive.
The second night's campfire, where Steven spent a lot of time trying to get our improperly ventilated fire going through excessive uses of fanning with a piece of cardboard. There was much joviality, and since we're physics geeks a lot of jokes that I'm sure most of the general population wouldn't completely understand. Nick also played his guitar a bit for us, which he's quite good at- I plucked a few strings but still need a lot of practice!
Steven looking pensive over his morning bagel- we broke camp and left around 11. All in all, we had a great time and hope we'll have time for another camping trip later this year.


Anonymous said...

The funny thing is that I've lived in Ohio for... my entire life, and have been going camping and hiking for probably 12 or 13 years of that, and I have never once seen a sign on any trail warning of an approaching hill. That was so weird.

Also, "dgsfffli" is definitely not a word, so how am I supposed to verify it?