Remind me not to take vacation . . . invariably I come home to an avalanche of busyness.  (Which is why vacation seemed like such a good idea in the first place).

So we went over to the Cove for Labor Day weekend, and now, oh, two weeks later, I’m here to tell you about it.  Lovely end-of-summer weekend.  Leaves were still deep green, full shade even up on top of the mountain.   No doubt twinges of color are starting to peek out now, as October approaches.  Weather was warm enough to swim in the afternoons — not just warm enough for intrepid Canadians, but good for regular southern swimmers who don’t do the polar bear thing.   Warm, but not sweltering, with cool evenings, and excellent hiking in the shade of the forest.

Overall we had an unusually lazy weekend. Took the kids on the Frank Coggins trail again — 3-year-old hiked just to the waterfall overlook and back, bigger kids did the whole loop, with ice cream afterwards at the Caesar’s Head ranger station.    The rest of the weekend was a lot of fishing and swimming and sittin’ around — the good kind.   The girls and I did a little painting (rank amateurs, all of us, don’t get any ideas), archers shot with various amounts of ability & enthusiasm, and very patient fellow-campers offered golf-cart rides to certain shameless beggars.

Two different Good Sam clubs turned out for rallies, and I wish I had a picture of Friday night’s candelit dinner under the pavillion — just lovely.  Instead, the best I can manage to capture the spirit of the weekend:

Jons Fish

Jon's Fish

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On the walk out on our hike Friday, I was thinking  about the topic of accessible trails (specifically: wheelchair accessible).  And then, walking on a bit,  realized that the opening half-mile or so of the Frank Coggins is a fairly well-maintained gravel roadbed.   Shaded, and with no vehicle access — it isn’t a road, just a roadbed.  Which means that for some users, depending on your equipment and your abilities, that first half-mile *is* an accessible trail, already.

I think it would be worthwhile for the state park to go ahead and fully transform that trail into a 100% accessible nature trail.  The location is right — just across the road from the already-accessible ranger station.  The bulk of the work is already done. And I know the trail is of worthwhile interest, because the rangers lead nature programs along it.  And it’s lovely, and would encourage the many visitors of all abilities who otherwise just stop at the overlook and then keep driving, to actually get into the woods for a few minutes.  It is remarkably different, driving next to the woods versus walking inside them.

Meanwhile, so you know, that first half-mile of Frank Coggins is most definitely baby-jogger accessible.  If you can manage a gravel road surface, somewhat uneven in patches but with no steps, steady incline but not overly-steep, take a look at the Frank Coggins.  Classic mountain woodlands trail right from the get-go, so even if you don’t get very far, you’ve already gotten a good taste of what the forest has to offer.  Well worth the try.

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