Friday, April 14, 2017

Ringing Rocks County Park

Last week was Spring Break, which meant a lot of Bike Tours.  For parents, Spring Break must be a nightmare.  Not only are your kids no longer absent from the home, they're also no longer someone else's daytime responsibility.  To make matters worse, the weather has finally shifted from unpredictably cold to manageably warm, meaning severe pangs of guilt for plopping the kid down in front of the TV all day.  As a bicycle tour guide, this means a steady flow of families seeking out a way to keep the kids educationally occupied while also managing to wear them out.  Long bicycle tours in historic cities are great for that.  You should take one sometime.

My only weekday sans-tour group was Thursday, allowing me to tag along with a friend of mine and her two kids for a different but similar sort of Spring Break day trip: day hiking + camping.  Hiking is a spectacular way to wear out children.  They get so excited to be permitted to run around swinging sticks and throwing rocks that they never catch on to the fact that it's all just a clever ruse to get them to put themselves to bed without a fuss.  I don't know, can you pick up that giant rock?  Only one way to find out!  Wow!  You did it!  But I bet you can't carry it all the way to the end of the trail...

So Thursday morning, with education and exhaustion in mind, we set out for Ringing Rocks County Park in Upper Black Eddy, an imaginary town in Bucks County (home to fabulous Ringing Rocks Jewelry).  What is/are Ringing Rocks?  Great question.  Ringing Rocks County Park is a small, 128-acre park that is home to a giant rock river unlike any other rock river that I know of, though my knowledge of rock rivers is fairly limited as I can only think of two local rivers of rocks: Hickory Run and Hawk Mountain.

Plenty of places for kids to hurt themselves.

Regardless of my limited rock river knowledge, I do know that Ringing Rocks is special.  Not so much in size or composition, but in that its rocks, when struck by a hammer, can produce chimes similar to that of a bell.  The other rock fields I know of definitely cannot do that.  Observe:

Now, only about a third of those rocks make sounds, and each of those rocks has its own pitch.  As far as I could tell, pitch was entirely unrelated to rock size, as smaller rocks sometimes possessed the deepest tones and vice versa.  And as far as scientists can tell, there's nothing special about these rocks, as they appear to be made up of the same iron and aluminum mixture as most of the rocks in the general area.  The do have a bit of a rusty color to them, though, so for the sake of a lack of empirical evidence, let's just say it's the iron that does it.  In any case, as it's impossible to tell which rocks will ring based solely on appearance, the only way to properly appreciate the park is to jump from boulder to boulder striking them with a hammer.  What kid wouldn't want to visit this park?  Not only do you get to run and climb over giant rocks, you get to hit them with hammers making different bell tones.

After taking a fair amount of swings, and the ten-year-old breaking a hammer, we made our way down the rocky path to a nameless offshoot of the Delaware River.  While only a shallow creek this early in the season, the giant boulders along the wide river bed let us know how powerfully the water could flow during the wet season.  Tired of the precarious boulder balancing act, especially with the added difficulty of maintaining rocky footing while holding hands with a five-year-old that wanted nothing more than to run off on her own even though she would most definitely face-plant if allowed to do so, we hopped off of the rocky path and out onto the slimy river bed.  From there it was onward and upward past a series of small water falls and flowing puddles until eventually we reached the big mama waterfall.

We maintained a positive waterfalls to human-falls ratio.  Not too shabby.

Not particularly spectacular in April, it was nice to be able to stroll around underneath it without worry of death.  If you'd like a more spectacular waterfall experience, I'd recommend Ricketts Glen.  Regardless of its magnificence, a waterfall was still a bonus after all the rock hammering.  Also, the top of the 30' waterfall is, for all I's and P's, the end of the loop that started at the ringing rocks.  Only a few miles in total, Ringing Rocks is an easy day for adults, but a real workout for the kiddos with all of the boulder scrambling and slime navigating.  I'd recommend Ringing Rocks to any parents in the Philly area with kids under 15.  There's even a nearby, family-friendly campground if you'd like to extend your vacation by a day so as to include a visit to nearby Nockamixon State Park.  Also, if you go on an April 13th of any year, all Wawa coffee is free (and there are more than a few Wawas on the way up), so like, maybe go then?

No comments:

Post a Comment