Long Hunter State Park (Social Distancing Day 171)


We ventured out to Long Hunter State Park for the third time since pandemic life started. I love to get out and about early in the morning on a “normal” day but even more-so now that it’s summer (hello 90+ degree mid-day sun) AND I’m trying to avoid places that are too people-y.

M, standing just off the paved Couchville Lake Trailhead path.

M and I picked up breakfast from East Park Donuts & Coffee and ate in the car on the short (30-ish minutes) drive to Mt. Juliet. EPD&C has become a real pandemic go-to for us because I can order in the app either well in advance or just 15-20 minutes before picking up, wait in the car until I get the text message that our order is ready, pop on my mask and do a quick in-and-out to the bar right next to the entrance to get my order and hop back in the car. I also love that I can grab an oatmeal (+ peanut butter, banana and brown sugar = perfection) and M can have a bacon, egg + cheese bowl if we’re just too donut-ed out. Basically, don’t sleep on the not-donut offerings at EPD&C!

At Long Hunter we’ve only ever gone to the Couchville Lake recreational area. There’s a large parking lot with ample space, a lake with small fishing piers scattered along the path and a paved path that follows along the lakeshore.

Today we traveled the furthest we’ve been – 0.5 miles out and then back (we’re very slow walkers – especially when I am having to drag a scooter behind me that M refuses to ride), starting counterclockwise (or southeast) on the Couchville Lake Trailhead.

Mama deer + two fawns, grazing outside the Couchville Lake Recreational Area.
At the very end of this wooded path, in the distance, is one of the two grown deer we spotted from the paved trail.

We saw the most wildlife + fungi we’ve seen on our three trips – 3 deer (a mama and two babes) on the way in to the park and then 2 deer (both adults) in the woods along the trail, squirrels, lots of moths (or maybe small butterflies?) and one very, very fat and very, very stationary (maybe dead?) bright green caterpillar.

We love to scramble the rocks along the trail and for the first time made it to the drainage ditch/creek where we took some time to peel our shoes and socks off and splash around in the cool and clear water.

On our last trip we explored the Reading Ranger Story Trail but it was incomplete as it was still under construction. A quick peek today shows that it’s done so I think we’ll plan for a revisit on our next trip to LHSP.

A note on people + timing: We got to LHSP around 8:30 a.m. and didn’t encounter many people on the trail for the first 1-1.5 hours. By 10 a.m. there were more walkers + runners, making it difficult *for me* to feel comfortable and distanced enough so we pulled out our masks for the walk back to the car. Of the maybe 2 dozen people we crossed paths with, one runner was wearing a mask and one carrying a fishing pole and tackle box let us know he was stepping off the paved path to wait in the grass to give us enough space to pass comfortably, which was very kind.

Slim + Husky’s Build Your Own (Slim): Classic Sauce O.G. Red, Got 5 House & Fresh Mozzarella Cheese, black olives, mushrooms, red onions, pineapples and honey/sriracha/mayo drizzle.

Today was grocery delivery order day which always means it’s a good excuse for pizza. Enter Slim + Husky’s. Kiddo got a BYO Slim perfect for 3.5 year old taste buds: Classic Sauce O.G. Red and Got 5 House & Fresh Mozzarella Cheese. I was moved by random cravings and ordered a BYO Slim with the same sauce + cheese as M, added mushrooms, black olives, red onions and pineapple with the honey/sriracha/mayo drizzle on the side. And you can’t order from S+H without snagging a few rolls for tomorrow’s breakfast. We have some Halle Berrys (lemon/blueberry) and OG House rolls waiting to be warmed up and shoved in our hungry mouth holes in the morning.

Slim + Husky’s Cinnamon Rolls: (L) Halle Berry (blueberry sauce + lemon glaze); (R) OG S&H Rolls (brown sugar sauce + cream cheese)

Oftentimes my time in the car is the only time I’m alone. And given the state of, well, *gestures madly around me* when I see a Trump/Pence sign in someone’s yard or business window or truck bumper I see it as an opportunity to therapeutically deal with my rage by yelling very loud and very angry things.

This isn’t something I do when M is in the car with me so I’ve taken to just loudly pointing at the offender and yelling “NO THANK YOU!”.

Today M piped up from the back seat in between bites of a sprinkle covered strawberry iced donut to ask “Mama, what are you talking to?”.

“Well, kiddo. When I see a sign that says Trump for President I say NO THANK YOU because Trump is not a good President. Trump is a bad, bad person.”

“Mama? I wish you could tell me why Trump is bad.”

“I actually can! We don’t want Trump to be President again because he is not kind to women and he is not kind to Black people. Trump did not do a good job taking care of everybody when coronavirus got here. He didn’t listen to the scientists and the doctors and he told everyone it was ok to go back to school and go back to shopping and not wear masks.”

“We wear masks, mama. We wear masks to keep us safe and to keep everybody else safe from coronavirus.”

“That’s right, bug. We believe scientists and doctors and we stay at home and if we can’t we always wear our masks.”

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