A Breath of Fresh Air

 I think the reason it has taken me so long to write this is it's hard to find the right words for exactly how great these four days were. I'm lucky enough to have a tight-knit group of college friends, but coordinating schedules for reunions has gotten more and more difficult over the years. Nonetheless, when our friend Melissa suggested we make use of her family's house in the Poconos, we instantly had our hearts set on a weekend of hiking, grilling, and good company. So our plans for July 4th had been in the works for a while, with the anticipation to match.

The house itself read a bit like a storybook. Not extravagant by any means, it suited our purposes in every way. Settled in a cul-de-sac and nestled between trees, it felt as if we had our very own woodland escape, carved out from the chaos of life. Hammocks were promptly hung in the front yard, while I strung handmade paper bunting and outdoor bulb lights on the porch for some festive decoration.

The interior was complete with rustic, retro decor. It was the perfect backdrop for the family style breakfasts we made in the morning and the old-fashioned cocktails we learned to make at night. But it was clear that this place had character when Meliss explained that her family visited whenever the mood struck—there was no set schedule for visits. The block calendar on the bookshelf reflected exactly that, as she changed it to today's date to reflect our arrival. Yes, this place was spilling with warmth and charm.

Our days were filled with fresh air and hiking as all ten of us set out to explore what the Delaware Water Gap had to offer. Our first hike brought us to Adams Creek, where we wound our way along, crossing the creek where the trail dictated. We eventually reached two impressive waterfalls where we swam, relaxed, and chatted. A few of the more adventurous folks explored the heights beyond the falls, or jumped into the pool of water at its base.

Day two brought us to Hornbeck's Creek (also known as Indian Ladder Falls) which was similar, but an arguably more impressive hike. The trail followed a ridge along the creek, where we happened upon waterfall after waterfall, each different in its own right. We finally stopped at a swimming hole at the base of a waterfall and called it home for the next few hours. The boys were particularly thrilled with the rope swing, where they flung themselves into the water time after time (us girls eventually joining in on the fun). The rocks' warmth were perfect for sunbathing and the waterfall was gentle enough to swim right up and perch yourself under it.

Satisfied and exhausted we'd retreat to the porch back at the house to recap the day's events. No day was complete without late-night grilling, s'mores, and sparklers. The trip was a much needed dose of friends and fresh air—truly wonderful in its simplicity. 

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Photography by Amanda Dennelly.