We were busy at the group cabins, finishing up some minor painting in last year’s Appamattuck cabin site, when we got a phone call. “What are you doing?” Mark, one of the other hosts in the campground wasn’t asking us about our current project, but how we planned to weather Isaias now that the campground was closed. Closed? Were we planning on staying? Nothing in the forecast that morning had alarmed us, but the high winds in the forecast had prompted the closure. The hosts were allowed to stay and 3 of the four of us decided to do that. So, we had the rare privilege of having the campground basically all to ourselves. It was eerie and wonderful at the same time.
A couple of weeks later, the story was much different. Daily forecasts of heavy rain storms in isolated areas were becoming the norm. For the most part, they never materialized, or showered quickly and moved on. So, we were all caught by surprise when the torrential rain started early Saturday morning and didn’t ease up until Saturday afternoon. Although we were blissfully unaware in the campground, the rest of the park staff was scrambling.
Fortunately, the group cabins were undamaged by the storms. Although our route to get to them changed pretty dramatically. The Monday after the storm, we made our way down East State Park road, avoiding its new sinkhole. However, on our return, our way was blocked by plastic fencing and a locked gate, for which we had no key. A call to the park ranger gave us another way out using fire roads. A little bit bumpier, but our golf cart was easily able to make the trip.
Our work on the Group Cabins took two forms: physical work on the buildings in Appamattuck and Chickahominy, and planning for this year’s Cabin Work Week and other volunteer work on the cabins. Appamattuck was the focus of last year’s work. There wasn’t too much to do. The repairs made with new pressure-treated wood needed to be primed and painted. And all of the decks needed to be stained, especially the cabin nearest the lodge that had its boards replaced at the end of the season and the nurse’s cabin near the Dining hall. We power washed all of the decks and the shower house in preparations for staining and painting. We managed to finish priming and painting all the cabins and lodge and moved on to staining the decks, starting with the new deck on cabin 1.
We were thrilled to get a visit from Adam and Jayden. We had a belated birthday celebration (with our first take-out in 5 months – pizza!), and on their return visit, Jayden learned to ride the minibots with grandpa. A week later, Bonnie and Troy and the kids arrived for a visit as well. Social distancing makes it a little hard, but it’s still great to see them and know they are well.
And our days are not only work. In addition to evening walks, we’ve taken some hikes through the park. Cathy has been collecting pictures of mushrooms of every color, which are thriving after all the rain.