We arrived at Kumbrabow State Park Tuesday evening, after the park office was closed, but well before dark, That's ok, because there's a self-check-in. We were able to put money into a box and get ourselves registered, plus grab some firewood. There are 13 campsites, about half in the woods and half around a small clearing nearby. All of them have some access to the creek, but we picked one right on the creek, but also on the clearing side so that we'd have a good view of the stars, when they came out. We set up our tent, unpacked our food, and hauled water from one of the pumps nearby. These are old-fashioned mechanical pumps that you have to work at in order to get water out. But, the water is clean. The lady at the office told me that they have the pump water tested monthly, just ot make sure. Unfortunately, my evening was shortened a bit by me not feeling so good (not related to anything at the campsite), but it just meant that I slept well. I got up the next morning feeling much better. We had poptarts-breakfast of champions- and then went for a hike. We started on the Raven Rocks trail, thinking that it was short, so we'd be done quickly and then do one of the longer trails. Well, the first leg of the trail would have been easier in an elevator. It was steep. We made it up, realized we'd done like the first 10 meters of distance as the bird flies, but were already panting. The rest of the trail wasn't so steep, although it was definitely uphill, and we felt that. It was also a bit overgrown. At the time, I speculated that they just hadn't cleared the trail yet for the year, which we later found out ot be accurate. The real problem was that it wasn't marked at all. Sometimes we thought we might have veered off onto a goat /deer trail of some sort, but we were still on the path. Of course, the advantage is that we really felt like we were in nature. We couldn't see or hear any signs of civilization other than the path, which if you decide is a deer path, doesn't count. We didn't run into any other people. It was very easy to feel unplugged. We stopped at a viewpoint with a great view of trees. Civiliation just didn't seem to exist. We continued on the Rich Mountain fire trail, which was wide enough for a vehicle to come through, so we figured it would be easier to follow, even though it also wasn't marked. It was easier to follow, but also had yet to be maintained for the year. It was covered in tall grasses. Fortunately, we didn't find any ticks on our bodies afterwards. At one point, there was a lookout tower with a great view of the surrounding area. We pulled out our lunches and enjoyed the scenery. The wading through the underbrush, the uphill, and the heat (although it wasn't too bad) were taking a toll on us, so we decided to take a shorter path back. The Meatbox Run trail had been maintained for the season. It was extremely well-marked, was clear of underbrush, and still had great views. Also, from where we werre taking it, it was downhill. It may have been my favorite trail. All of the trails had good scenery, some wildlife, nice forest, and good air though. My legs may have been a little scraped up at the end, but I have to say that I really enjoyed the hiking.
When we finished hiking, we saw our first other human being since we set out hours before- a park ranger. After a brief chat about the condition of the trails, we went to the playground at the picnic area. It was completely empty, so we enjoyed the swings, seesaw, and other equipment without being bothered by crazy kids, but I imagine that this is a great place to take kids. The rest of the afternoon, we chilled, read, slept, and just generally appreciated the peace and tranquility. This evening, we not only got the fire started, but also got to enjoy it. We made smores, canned beans, canned mac-n-cheez, and took advantage of the serenity the fire provided. It wasn't a completely clear sky, but since we were in the middle of nowhere, whenever the clouds moved over a bit, we could see a ton of stars behind them.
Overall, I think this is a great place to go camping. The sites are rustic enough that you feel unplugged (no electricity, no automatically running water), but nice enough that you aren't stressed by "roughing it" (clean outhouses, pumped water, a fire pit already with a grill on it). if you really need some electricity and running water, you can always go to the office area where they have showers (quarter operated), flush toilets, lights, and you can buy ice from the office (when it's open). It was quiet for us, but we went in the middle of the week while school is still in session. It probably gets more traffic in the summer, but still might be small and out-of-the-way enough to maintain some of the sense of solitude.