My grandparents used to take my mom and uncle to Nelson Ledges in the fall when they were young. My mom carried on that tradition with my brothers and me, every fall if possible. We typically started our day in the picnic area, enjoyed a lunch together, and tossed around a football or frisbee in the open field for a bit. Afterward, we all hit the outhouses and then walked across the street from the picnic area to the ledges. Degree of hiking difficulty here is determined by the group. Hikers could casually stroll above or around the ledges, or could opt for more demanding descents, climbs, and crevasses through which to crawl. We usually elected for anything that would challenge us or that looked like it had not been explored before. If I made it through the Devil’s Icebox without losing my footing – which meant drenching my foot in the cold, orange, mineral-deposited water – then the day was a success.
November ’07 we introduced the state park to the next generation’s boys – four of my nephews. This month’s masthead is a photo of Brian and the three youngest nephews heading in to the hiking area.
My brother, Tod, explained this sign best as “where your pee would go if you #1’d right here.”
It is customary for our family to stand on this balcony and recite, “Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou, Romeo?…” Thanks to Brady, it looks like licking the balcony may become a new tradition as well.
Being silly, I had captioned the photo of Tod, Cliff, and me as “Siblings in love” in a family album. When my mom was showing the album to my nephews, she asked if they knew what ‘siblings’ were? Evan, seven years old at the time, said, “Yeah.” “What are siblings?” He explained matter-of-factly, “People in love.”
At the end of the day, my mom rode home with Tod and his two boys. Nate, five years old then, must have been observant of the chatting and laughing that my mom and I did throughout the day, and then saw the hug and kiss we exchanged as I headed back home to Pennsylvania. In the car he asked, “Granny Joanney, how do you know Aunt Michelle so well?”
Must be all those trips to Nelson Ledges.