Monday, July 2, 2018


With a huge smile on her face and a look of amazement in her eyes, my 12 year old neice, Jackie, explored the area around Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park.  Jackie had never been to a place like this and she was absolutely loving it. My wife, Robin, and I had a camping trip planned (my third in the past five weeks) for the last weekend of June.  This also coincided with when our nieces, Jackie & Sophie, and my nephew, Isaac, would be visiting from Arizona.  So...instead of just the two of us...Robin and I thought we'd share our love of camping and nature with the kids.

My niece, Jackie Raymond, taking in the beauty of Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park. -- June 30, 2018

It's been quite a while since I've been camping with this time around there were no ambitious hikes planned, no white water rafting trips down the Youghiogheny, and no mountain biking involved.  Instead, Robin and I packed a few games, a frisbee, and a ton of great camping food...hamburgers, hotdogs, sausages, and all the fixins for Smores and mountain pies! This isn't to say we didn't go hiking and exploring...Robin and I just kept things a little bit more "kid friendly."  The kids loved exploring the natural beauty of Cucumber Falls.  We managed to climb behind and around the waterfall before hiking through Cucumber Run and eventually down to the Youghiogheny favorite spot to skip rocks.  From here, the kids had a great view of the rafters and kayakers making their way down the river.  We also walked out to the gorge on the Great Allegheny Passage and hiked a section of Ferncliff Penninsula....both gave amazing views of the Youghiogheny River as it makes its way through the park.

Aunt Robin and Sophie Raymond enjoying dinner next to the campfire. -- June 29, 2018

My nephew, Isaac, roasting a marshmallow for his smore. -- June 29, 2018

Uncle Dave and Jackie relaxing near the campfire.  Jackie was a HUGE help this weekend...helping me load and unload all of the firewood.  -- June 30, 2018

Sophie Raymond throwing frisbee with Uncle Dave. -- June 30, 2018

Sophie holding my "camping stone." - June  30, 2018

Isaac Raymond playing washers at the campsite.  -- June 30, 2018

Evening dinner around the campfire.  Left to Right:  Isaac, Robin, David, Sophie, and Jackie Raymond. -- June 30, 2018

Jackie was especially eager to go explore Ohiopyle State Park. -- June 30, 2018

Jackie Raymond sitting near the natural waterslide at Ohiopyle State Park. -- June 30, 2018

The natural waterslide at Ohiopyle State Park was runnign pretty high this past weekend.  -- June 30, 2018

Taking a break after exploring Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park.  Left to Right:  Sophie, Jackie, Isaac, Robin, and David Raymond.  -- June 30, 2018

My niece, Sophie Raymond, exploring the area around Cucumber Falls in Ohiopyle State Park. -- June 30, 2018

Skipping rocks in the Youghiogheny with Jackie and Sophie. -- June 30, 2018

Jackie Raymond relaxing on the banks of the Youghiogheny River in Ohiopyle State Park. -- June 30, 2018

Jackie Raymond enjoying the view of the big waterfall at Ohiopyle State Park. -- July 1, 2018

My nephew, Isaac Raymond, above the Great Gorge on the Great Allegheny Passage in Ohiopyle State Park. -- July 1, 2018

Baughman Rock Overlook was the last stop on our way our of Ohiopyle State Park on Sunday afternoon.  Jackie Raymond looking at the amazing view of the Pennsylvania Laurel Highlands. -- July 1, 2018

Robin took this pic of me, Sophie, Isaac, and Jackie at Baughman Rock Overlook on our way out of Ohiopyle. -- July 1, 2018

So, for the second time in two weeks, site 198 at the Kentuck Campgrounds in Ohiopyle State Park was my "home away from home."  Robin, Alex, and I are already planning on coming back next year.  There's one more person who's also excited to come back next niece, Jackie.  She was completely taken with the beauty and the area and can't wait to come back next year to do some "big kid" stuff with Uncle Dave and her cousin, Alex.  In particular,  I promised her a rafting trip on the lower Yough and she can't wait to experience the natural waterslide with her cousin, Alex.  She'll do great...and I can't wait to share these experiences with her.

Have a happy and safe Fourth of July holiday!  Be sure to spend it doing things you love with the people you love.

No camping trip is complete without ice cream!   My favorite ice cream in Ohiopyle is a the Falls Market.  Left to Right:  Sophie (front), Jackie, David, Robin, and Isaac Raymond. -- July 1, 2018

Life is a journey...not a destination.

Our camping trip to Ohiopyle with Jackie, Sophie, and Isaac wouldn't have been nearly as successful as it was if it wasn't for all the hard work and help that my amazing wife, Robin, gives me.  I love this lady! -- July 1, 2018

Here are the GARMIN maps and data from our "kid friendly" adventures in Ohiopyle State Park last week.  Happy exploring!

Interested in biking or hiking some of the trails featured in this post?  Check out the TRAIL MAPS and TRAIL HEADS tabs on the ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM website.

All of my posts are available at ALL TRAILS LEAD TO ICE CREAM and, if you get the chance, be sure to visit the good folks at YOUR TRUE NATUREPA PARKS and FORESTS FOUNDATION  and WHITE WATER ADVENTURES.