Where we are and where we have been:
No we were not transported to the Middle East â€“ no magic carpet (can you just imagine a magic carpet big enough to transport our rig) â€“ just a side trip down a local highway to a PA state park.
We were jacks up and away bright and early Sunday morning in order to be out long before people started arriving for church services.Â We back tracked into Pennsylvania and just happened to notice a sign for a state park and decided to check it out.
The Promised Landâ€™s name it turns out is the Shaker immigrantsâ€™ ironic commentary on the place.Â They had been dazzled by promotional promises of the supposed wonders of the land they were buying.Â The name reflected their disappointment after arrival.Â One source said that they didn’t end up staying on the land, but sold it for logging soon after arriving.
From a visitorâ€™s view it would be a mystery why they would be disappointed with lakes and forest abounding, until you understand that farmers faced many obstacles in the land.Â This â€œPromised Landâ€ sits on a plateau in the Pocono Mountains and is very rocky with shallow soil andÂ lots of bogs.
The approximately 3,000 acre park is surrounded byÂ Delaware State Forest.Â It attracts a variety of wild life.Â We saw a black bear cub wandering the woods (unfortunately out of camera range), a small garter snake, rabbits, geese and some beautiful song birds.
There are two lakes in the park, our campground was on what is known as the lower lake.
We had a nice spot with lots of trees, and once the weekenders left it was extremely quiet. No phone service, no internet, just us and some good books and scenery.Â Sunday afternoon we explored around the camp.Â Heidi flushed out a small grass snake, but had enough sense to jump back from it, even though she continued to watch for it long after it disappeared into the thicket.
On our second afternoon we piled in the truck and drove out Bear Wallow Road to the wild life observation platform.Â The short walk down to the platform gave a view of the lake and supposedly a bald eagle nesting area.
Alas the eagles were not in attendance. Bald eagles are believed to mate for life and constructs an enormous stick nest high above the ground, commonly near the ocean or a lake. There was a simulated eagleâ€™s nest laid out on the ground near the viewing area.Â The size of the nest can be humongous.Â The largest bald eagle nest on record was 9.5 ft wide and 20 ft high and weighed more than two tons.
The larger lake (Upper Lake?) offered a great picnic area and swimming, and enough cell signal to make a few phone calls.Â We chuckled as we watched a fellow dumping the remains of his charcoal grill ashes.Â He dropped the contents on the ground next to a large trash container then proceeded to use tongs to pick up the remaining still white hot briquettes one by one and drop them into the trash — surprise, surprise they started a fire.Â The can was smoldering as he walked off â€“ we left before there was more than smoke.
Our plans for Pennsylvania travel changed after researching the activities in Hershey.Â It seems that the tours and activities are geared only toward children and since what I had thought was a plant tour turned out to be a fifteen minute ride that simulates the beginning to end process of a chocolate bar, we decided it was not for us.Â We spent a very rainy Tuesday in the Promised Land and rethought our itinerary.