Camping at Tochickon Creek

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010
Tohickon: Boys in Tent

Fran and I went to Tohickon Valley Park for an overnight camping trip with three boys (13, 12 and 8) who were born and raised in a refugee camp in the mountain jungles of western Thailand. Since being resettled in urban south Philadelphia, this was their first opportunity to go to sleep with the sounds of nature about them, and their excitement about being in the forest and hiking, swimming, climbing trees and catching damsel flies was infectious for Fran and me.

We had the campground mostly to ourselves. We hiked to Ralph Stover State Park, where we peered over steep cliffs to Tohickon Creek far below. The boys enjoyed finding lots of small land and water creatures, and they also made friends with a very boy-friendly horse when its thoughtful owner stopped to chat. The day ended with dinner and marshmallows cooked over a campfire and, of course, ghost stories. Surprisingly and interestingly, one of the boys requested the "ghost story" called "Little Red Riding Hood," and so we obliged, and also told the Three Little Pigs and a couple of other favorites that were unknown to them. We are forever reminded that we must not make assumptions about other cultures and cultural attitudes. When they settled into their sleeping bags in their tent, ready for "lights out," and before retiring to our own tent, Fran and I joined them for a begged-for reprise of Little Red Riding Hood, and they drifted off to sleep easily.

Tohickon: Tuckered Out
The next morning we all enjoyed a hearty breakfast cooked on the camp stove. A highlight of the day was hiking down to Tohickon Creek and having a swim in its fresh, cool water (for the boys, we old folks looked on). We then hiked back up the valley and made the drive home, with three very satisfied and very tired boys.