One of the first things I did when I got home was to meet up with some of my friends from home. The first one I was able to see was my friend Erin, and, like every time we meet up after long breaks, we went to a nearby Mexican restaurant, La Tolteca. We had a great lunch, as per usual, but something that struck me was that when I was telling her about my travels, and she was sharing stories of her summer, is that we both were in agreement that being in the suburbs after living in a city (she goes to Pitt) was rough. We felt like there was nothing to do compared to living in a city where there is absolutely everything to do. As we were walking out, we were trying to figure out what to do next. Usually we would just go home, but after talking with someone who understood how slow life now felt, we decided to go exploring.
Erin said that there was a garden nearby, one that I had never heard of, and she had never gone to before. We got lost trying to find it, but ended up with a drive with a beautiful view, so it was worth it. When we eventually found the gardens it turned out they were closed, but at this point we were determined to do something fun. Erin suggested Brandywine Creek State Park, a park near to us that we had both always passed but never truly explored, so we went there.
We got to the Brandywine Creek State Park, paid our $8 for parking, and started with our adventure. We first went to the Nature Center to pick up a map in case we got lost, and then went to the nearest trail entrance, Indian Springs/Hidden Pond trail. I can honestly say I have no recollection of ever going hiking before. I must have at some point, with state parks so near to me, but trekking through the woods doesn’t ring a bell. Because of this I figured I had to at least try it, so into the woods we went.
The walk was longer than I expected, but it was a ton of fun. Erin and I didn’t wear the best clothing for it (she was in sandals, I had no sunscreen), but it was a ton of fun just walking in the forest with her, being completely immersed with the only noises being the creek in the distance and the critters in the forest. Erin loves photography, so it was also very interesting to see her take pictures. I think she took more than a hundred by the time our walk was over, but they turned out beautiful, as she had taken some very interesting shots of nature that I would have never even though to stop and take a picture of.
We tried not to deviate too much from the path, even if there was a fork in the road. While I appreciate Robert Frost’s idea of taking the road less travelled, I felt that for a first timer straying too much was going to make a difference, but not in a good way, more in a ‘lost forever without a bottle of water’ kind of way. Sometimes we did deviate though, my favorite being when we went through a clearing, and then into a underpass that ended with a few picnic tables around a gigantic tree. I was glad that we were willing to veer from the path in short burst though, as I believe that’s when you truly find the most amazing things.
We were successful in getting to the Brandywine Creek, although it caused our path to become much muddier. I had always seen the creek before, thanks to the fact it’s pretty long and goes throughout my town, but I enjoyed seeing it how it was meant to be seen: as a body of water cutting between a forest, untouched by society. Not to romanticize too much, but it was definitely more beautiful than I was expecting, with trees bending towards and fallen on it, and rocks dispersed throughout. It was a completely different image than the one I had in my head as a car passing by it.
Once we hit the creek we realized it was getting a little late, so we hurried back. We ended up completely missing the hidden pond on the trail, as later looking at the map you see that you had to get off the path and then get back on it to find it. Having completely neglected the map except in case of an emergency, we missed it (gives incentive to come back however!) Finding our way out wasn’t too difficult, but the feeling of accomplishment when we did surprised me. I had done something completely last minute, with no plan, completely out of my comfort zone. And I was successful in my endeavors. For a minute I felt as though I could accomplish anything out of my comfort zone, and I plan on continuing to find things different to do if only to be able to say I can do them. I had a ton of fun with Erin, and she and I started making plans on the way home, plans filled with events and locations we have yet to attend and see, so this summer will definitely prove to be interesting!