The next day we did the one part of our trip Chris had arranged just for me. We toured one of the most famous Frank Lloyd Wright houses ever built: Fallingwater! The home is amazing; it’s actually built right over a waterfall!
Photograph © Holly Bowne. Used with permission of Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.
When our kids were in elementary school, I volunteered as an art presenter and taught a lesson on Frank Lloyd Wright’s work, so I was especially geeked to tour the place. On our way there, I handed each of the boys a handy two-page fact sheet I’d created, complete with pictures, to help them fully appreciate what they were about to see.
Daron politely took his packet and began reading. Joshua groaned, “Not again, mom!”
(Yeah, yeah. So I’d done the same thing when we had our European Vacation Adventure in Rome.)
“Don’t you want to understand what you’re looking at?” I said.
“Daron is reading it!”
*Another Dramatic Sigh*
“Look, I know you only pretended to read the last packet I gave you, so I’m quizzing you this time.”
We arrived and took the tour. Even though it was raining, it was so cool. You could hear the soothing rush of the waterfall throughout the house.
“Is that…hail?” I said, as little white balls bounced on the ground and pinged off my cheeks.
Well, at least I was dressed for the chilly 30° temps we were experiencing; I just kept my face down, trying to appreciate the natural beauty, until…
“Is this what you thought hiking would be like?” Chris asked Daron who had confessed earlier that he’d never been hiking before.
“It’s great!” he responded.
(Pay attention, because here comes the critical part) “Is this as rough a trail as you were expecting?”
“Actually, I thought it would be rougher.”
At this point, Chris guided us all off the trail and down the edge of the super steep gorge. After hiking down and sideways for a while (really awkward, by the way), what goes down must eventually come back up. So we started making our way up the steep ravine.
Now I exercise regularly, but I admit… I. WAS. DYING! I had to stop continually to catch my breath and get my heartbeat back into a normal range. By the time we reached the top, I was soaked with sweat which was trapped inside my hiking-for-30-degree-weather gear. By the end of the day, I was exhausted. I was not having fun. And I freely shared these thoughts with my fellow hikers. I knew I should really give myself an attitude adjustment.
Unfortunately, day three arrived…
It was our last day and time for our return trip home (Yeah!). On the way, Chris drove us through an area of West Virginia he’d in lived as a boy for our final hiking adventure. We stopped at Tomlinson State Park where it had been in the low 40s and pouring rain the entire morning (of course). It was still drizzling as we climbed from the car.
Standing in the middle of a rain-soaked path, Chris asked, “Which way?”
“It doesn’t matter,” I said, rain dripping from my eyelashes and chin. “As long as we do NOT do what we did yesterday.”
The boys chose a direction and we headed out. Although the trees were bare, it was sort of pretty and there were some beautiful views.
Then…they did it again.
As if I’d never spoken, Chris asked, “Is this a challenging enough trail for you guys?”
Now I ask you, is that really a question to ask two teenage boys?
Off the trail we went. AGAIN. Hiking down and sideways along an even steeper ravine than the day before. We stumbled over tree roots and rocks and clambered behind waterfalls. It was rougher going because of all the rain, and every one of us (except Chris) fell at least once so that our backsides and legs were covered in mud. (Please note: we still had the four-hour ride home ahead of us.) Sharp brambles smacked at our faces and Chris actually had his knife out, hacking a trail for us through the bush like he was Indiana Jones or Crocodile Dundee or something. And to top it off, three out of four of us definitely heard bear-sounding snorts coming from surrounding caves. I am NOT making this up!
Then, it got worse…
Tune in next week for the conclusion of Spring Break Adventure!
All Photographs © Holly & Chris Bowne