Arriving In Babcock State Park

When I say the name Babcock State Park, you may have no clue what I am talking about. However, if you see a picture of the Glade Creek Grist Mill, you may notice memories flooding back into your brain, or at least a sense of deja vu. This mill is a famous aesthetic spot, especially when the leaves begin to change colors in autumn. Before making my own memories here, I actually completed a puzzle featuring the mill in fourth grade, unknowingly putting together a place that I would someday get to see with my own eyes.

Glade Creek Grist Mill

It was a crisp, blue-sky day when we arrived in Babcock State Park. I was really hoping I might be able to get my drone out of its case for the first time on the road trip, since national parks don’t allow them and these were the only places we’d been hitting up thus far. Spotting a sign that specifically mentioned the word drone was not a good start. However, as I walked closer I realized the park had allotted certain times where you were allowed to fly drones at the mill.

Drones are only permitted for recreational use from 1:00PM-3:00PM.

I pulled the phone out of my back pocket, checking the time. The numbers 1:03PM flashed back at me. I love it when fate aligns itself.

I started my drone up and soaked in the views from above. The grist mill was a withering brown color, sitting peacefully beside a trickling stream. I flew under the bridge and up the various stones jutting out of the crystal water. Leaves fluttered peacefully, departing from their summer home with all types of tans—Scarlet, honey and tangerine—reconvening with the river and riding their way through the scenic park. 

Battle of the Drones

As the low hum of the camera got louder, I looked closely above. My drone didn’t seem to be alone in the air anymore, as its twin flew next to it. I looked around me, trying to locate any other passerby’s with a remote—no luck. I decided to retreat from my perch on this side of the river and flew to the pool below to give the other flyer some space. Where the river began to bend, the sides of the stream opened up, forming a sort of pond. Despite the water’s commotion from the movement above, it was completely still here. However, I still wasn’t alone.

The other drone had followed me down here, as if it was chasing me. It sat five feet to the left, not moving. At this point, I was getting annoyed. It had to be their first time flying. They were not taking any photos or videos and, even worse, they were disrupting all of mine. It was safe to say I was upset. I battled with them for about ten more minutes before deciding I needed to get the flying hazard out of the sky before I filmed the other drone’s last day of flight.

Hiking in Babcock State Park

There was a trailhead right behind the Glade Creek Grist Mill that boasted of panoramic views after a short hike. We bit. Starting the climb through the colorful woods, we trekked across overgrown roots and low hanging branches. It was a bit rocky, so I needed to watch my step, but the forest was a beautiful place and I didn’t want to spend all of my time checking out clumps of dirt, so my eyes began to wander.

Leaves littered the floor as squirrels tussled it out above. The birds sang back and forth, as if they were sounding the doorbell to their home for us to enter. Looking back at the trail, I realized my foot was a mere four inches from stomping onto a hissing black coil of a snake.

“Oh my god,” I jumped backwards into the upcoming hiker, “Snake,” I stated pointed ahead at the trail blocker.

Battling the Trail-Blocker

He did not seem to want to move and I was not about to risk going any closer to pass him, unsure of what beef he held against previous hikers. The other hiker threw a pinecone ahead and it was a miss. He tried again, met with….another miss. The third shot tapped the snake, who acted as if it never happened. He was not about to give up his position. I decided I needed to move him myself. 

The Unidentified Snake

Going a bit off of the path, I found a stick big enough to keep some distance between the two of us strangers. I prodded it forward, gliding it across the dirt behind the slithering presence, slowly inching him off the trail and into the forest. This time, he seemed to get the hint.

He began to slip slowly, but surely into the darkness of the bushes, heading uphill. I knew which direction he was headed, but lost sight of him, which was a bit nerve-wracking. Nonetheless, the path was cleared, so I slowly stepped forward, passing his troll bridge. I made it by without getting any creatures’ teeth sunk into me, which I counted as a win. However, no more enjoying the forest. Now, I really needed to watch where I was stepping.

Panoramic Views Who?

We came upon some thin boulders and approached a sort of rock house. Through the small doorway into the tunnel was a ladder leading through a hole in the stone roof, marking a continuation of the trail. I don’t know about you, but this seemed like the perfect place for a snake to make a home and drop down from the rafters onto any suspecting trespassers who dared to face the darkness.

Maybe I was just paranoid. Either way, I let my phone do a bit of a routine check first. Flicking on the flashlight, I lit up the dark corners and various crevices in the walls. The area seemed to clear the check, but I hurried through the dungeon with a kick in my step, you know, just in case. 

We were now at the top of the hill, where the so-called panoramic views were nowhere to be found. Though this was a disappointing realization, I’d been spoiled with daily jaw-dropping scenery for the past week, and there were many more landmarks to be seen. With shoulders slumped, we made our way back down the hill, through the treacherous dungeon and past the troll bridge. I suppose situations like this is how the phrase, “It’s about the journey, not the destination,” was born. And for that, I had a snake to thank.

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