CAMPING, RETRO AMUSEMENT PARKS, & BEARS (GREAT BIG MOTHER BEARS!)
|The Moose River - the children were making sounds similar to the mating cry of the moose in this pic|
Two nights of little sleep combined with long, fun filled active days, made the last stop on the return trip home a frustrating and loud affair.
Do not let this image convince you that the PUTP trip to Old Forge was a disaster. This image is more of a byproduct of two great days filled with memories. Let me tell the tale...
Old Forge, NY, is a tiny, touristy, village found nestled in the heart of the Adirondack Mountains. The draw to this place, for the PUTP at least, is the local water/amusement park (Enchanted Forest / Water Safari). Its location, only a three hour drive away, and the affordable (aka cheap) prices are what really seal the deal.
This year's trip was a spontaneous last minute decision. The last few times the family has visited Old Forge they stayed in the small cabins, however, since it was last minute there were only tent sites available. Being experienced tent campers this did not phase them at all...ah, how memories fade (an inside reference to the visit of 2007 where Matt, Jen, and baby Olivia abandoned the tent and slept in the car due to the bears).
|Classic Canadians playing hockey in the woods|
|Lake Serene - one example of the natural beauty found in the Adirondacks|
A quiet snuffling was heard outside. Matt spotted a tiny bear slowly making its way through the nearby campsites. Jen and Matt watched the dark shadow as it made its way closer to the tent. Matt told the bear to 'shoo'. This noise surprised the baby bear causing it to cry out and scramble up the nearest tree - which was directly overtop of the tent! Heavier stomps from a Mama bear came charging toward the tent. Loud, nervous sounding snorts and quiet growls came from Mama. She wanted to know why her baby was scared.
Inside the tent Matt and Jen were more than scared, they were terrified. This seemed liked like a worst-case scenario - what to do when you are between a Mother Bear and its crying cub!
In this case, putting a thin layer of nylon between yourself and the snorting bear, and remaining deathly quiet was the right answer.
After a minute or two (or what seemed like hours to Matt and Jen) the baby climbed down and the Mama bear calmed down. The continued their hunt for coolers and picnic baskets.
Inside the tent it took much longer to calm down. And, just as they thought all was ok they heard another loud snuffling noise - a second bear was cruising through their campsite. This one, after finding no garbage or coolers, made an attempt to open the van door. Apparently, the campground bears have learned that if they scratch their mighty claws down the side of vehicles the doors will sometimes open!
Sleep did not come that night.
The sun was out and the weather was hot - an ideal day to go to the water park!
Enchanted Forest Water Safari is a unique place. Half of the park is quaint little houses and statues depicting classic stories like The Three Bear or Hans and Gretel. They are retro, which is just a cool way of saying fifty years old, but, well taken care of.
|Paul Bunyan greets you as you enter the park - this is a must have photo!|
|The Paul Bunyan photo from 2007 - fun to compare the years|
|Elli posing on the Cinderella carriage|
The small size makes it easy to find parking. By this I mean only feet from the entrance (parking is free I might add). The park is busy, but never feels crowded. The small size is also a plus when you forget the sunscreen in the van - it only takes two to five minutes to make your way out to the parking lot and back. The small crowds make lines for rides either small or non-existent. Yet, for a small park there always seem to be enough to do. There is a tiny train to ride, a petting zoo, midway rides, and dozens of different water slides for all ages...and the PUTP wanted me to mention their all time favourite ride - BUMPER CARS!
Word of warning - with the small lines and the casual atmosphere some of the rides go longer than you'd expect. For eg, instead of a minute or two for the bumper cars, sometimes they go for five or more!
|The Enchanted Forest Express|
|The ol' Flivver ride|
|The petting zoo - this is not photoshop'd, Olivia really is petting a sheep|
|The family favourite - Bumper Cars|
As the family settled around another roaring campfire, finishing up the last s'more before heading off to bed, there was a kerfuffle from the neighboring campsite. As the family looked over, a large dark shadow quietly made its way through the trees - ♪ it was a bear...a great big mother of a bear...♪
Ignoring the yells from nearby campers the bear casually walked through campsite after campsite eventually circling back toward the PUTP's site. Closer and closer it came, until it was about ten feet away from the family, then a loud clap and yell made it rush off into the trees.
That night the tent was left vacant as the family piled into the van and slept...uncomfortably to say the least.
Waking early the family started another active day. The boys killed a couple of early morning hours by walking around the entire campground. Next, the family took to Lake Serene on a paddleboat and enjoyed a quick swim. Just after 11 they were packed up and driving down the busy main street in Old Forge. The village of Old Forge is lined with tourist shops selling wooden bear things, moose inspired signs, wind chimes...that kind of thing. It has an older feeling to it, I suppose since it was developed as a tourist destination fifty years ago, so there is no McDonald's or Starbucks, just small family run seasonal places. It is a nice change from many other tourist spots.
|Foot powered cruising on Lake Serene|
|Walt's on main street right next to the Olive oil store.|
|Fries with some strange gravy (sorry no cheese, that is a Canadian thing)|
|Kid's grilled cheese (at a reasonable $3) comes with potato chips!|
|Fun hot dog!|
|Ahh, the infamous Tuna Melt!|
|Sandwich covered in another kind of gravy...yum!|
|Bear proof garbage cans|
To sum it up - Great camping, awesome day at the water park, yummy tuna melts, and TWO bear stories. This is a trip that will be remember for a lifetime!
**We will try to forget the two sleepless night, combined with action filled days, causing the ride home to be filled with grumpy kids (and parents) making grumpy noises**