The campground I stayed at for the past couple of days, Council Cup Campground in Wapwallopen, PA, was rich in bridges. (Is that not a great town name? I keep wanting to say it aloud, just for the fun of it. Wapwallopen.) It was an interesting place, a very strange mix of new and old, arty and… well, skeezy.
I nearly didn’t stop when I drove by because there was a trailer with a confederate flag flying, which is a pretty clear indicator of it not being my kind of place. But I’d made a reservation and the camp office looked professional, with a AAA sign and a sign for the laundry, so I gave it a try. Some of the trailers were filthy — covered in dirt, looking like they hadn’t been moved in decades, surrounded by junk. Even wire fences around them, which to me always feels like an indicator of a dangerous neighborhood. But the playgrounds were fantastic and plentiful, the people were friendly, the camp store was nice with a great selection of kids’ toys, and it was possible to walk deep into the forest, into total solitude and quiet.
And it had bridges! Lots of bridges, because a creek ran through the campground. Supposedly, there was a waterfall, too, but I never found it. The creek was just a few yards wide — nothing like a small river, like the last creek I was near at the Gettysburg Farm campground. This one was shallow, running fast, over rocks, and as soon as I saw the first bridge, I knew we were walking over it.
It was just that sort of bridge. Made of iron, but with gaps, like a grid of metal. I was not thinking of the dogs, though, until we got a little ways onto it and B refused to move. Oh, my, I’m laughing even at the memory, even though poor B was probably not amused and poor Z was definitely not amused later. Anyway, B could see that there was nothing underneath him to hold him up. It wouldn’t have been a long fall, only a couple of feet, really, but he was not going anywhere.
At that point we were not so far across, and I should have turned back, but Z was doing okay, so I picked B up and carried him. But then Z realized that she could fall through the gaps, when she did on one leg. She was scooting along, almost on her belly, inching forward, ears back, eyes wide. I wound up carrying B out to the end of the leash, going back and picking her up, carrying her out to the end of the leash, then going back and picking B up, hip-hopping the length of the leash, all the way across… we must have looked ridiculous.
I got a little anxious that Z might hurt herself when both of her back feet went through the holes in the grid on our last section and then I was worried, too, but we made it across, both dogs totally weirded out and giving me looks. It was terrible, but also terribly funny.
Our other bridge was much safer, but even sillier to cross. I’d walked out into the woods, searching for the waterfall, and I was so deep that I felt alone in the wilderness. There were tables, lots of picnic tables, for tent camping spots, but not a single tent anywhere to be seen. It was beautiful and a little spooky. When I saw a bridge of course I crossed it, because hey, bridge. But the path started to disappear afterwards and I kept going.
I kept thinking about the woman found in the woods, just a mile or so away from the trail that she’d lost. Dead for months before she was found, like she sat down and waited to be rescued and waited too long. It was probably good for me to be thinking of her, because I kept glancing over my shoulder, locking landmarks into my memory for when I gave up on the waterfall and turned back the way I’d come. Which, of course, I finally did, although mostly because I stumbled upon civilization in the form of houses and knew that wherever the waterfall was, it wasn’t the way I was going.
I love the way you can feel alone in the wilderness and then, oops, houses. That’s probably my kind of wilderness, the kind where help is actually easy walking distance away. I’m really not the wilderness type — I like the illusion of it better than reality.
Other things: I’m still going to post about sheets soon, but I’m sort of annoyed with myself for already spending so much time on this blog post — I had some major digressions about how confederate flags offend me and wire fences make me uneasy, which I deleted because boring, plus posting the images took forever because slow internet, but it’s almost 11 and I only have another hour to write today before I head to New Jersey. And then tomorrow is a long driving day.
Normally that would not matter at all, but for the last couple of days — between adventures on bridges and the Wapwallopen Peach Festival, where I bought peach jalapeño jam and cranberry cherry jam — Grace has been going really well. I’m almost scared to write that for fear I might jinx it, but… yeah. It’s pretty darn exciting to be enjoying writing Grace. I hope it lasts!