DAY 1: The Drive

I went to Ohiopyle, PA for a 3 night camping trip with Open Air Wilmington Meet-Up group.
The drive was about 4.5 hours long, and we departed from my house around 9am. The rest stop at Sideling Hill was awesome. My favorite rest stop yet!  Perfect place for grabbing 3 geocaches while marveling at the view and stretching the legs. I highly recommend it if you are driving through this way.
We stayed in Scarlett Knobb Campground (privately owned), which was pretty terrible. The facilities are horrible. I peeked in to the shower and bathrooms and was so disgusted, I wish I could erase those images from my head. Plus, they were located at the front of the campground, which is a long distance away from your campsite. So even if they were clean, they are still inconveniently located. Also note that you are at least 2 miles outside Ohiopyle, so you are not exactly in the park, but close enough to it.  So if you go here, just be prepared for a rustic campground. Bring your own water as there is no tap. It was also pretty empty. We only saw 2 other camp sites occupied. Roads are rough and not maintained.  The only positive was that the campground was situated right in the middle of the woods.  About as close to nature as you can get. And since it appears that not many people come here, the campground and campsites are pretty much unspoiled.

Gourmet dinner

I enjoy cooking so it was really neat experience to be able to cook over a “real fire”.  I brought my marinated chicken from home, which had been marinating in a ziplock bag overnight and was ready to go.  Laid the pieces over the fire and basted with reserved marinade.

I paired the chicken with Near East Tabouleh Wheat Salad Mix. Just add boiling water to the bulgur wheat.  While that’s “cooking”, I chopped the tomatoes right there on site, and when all was ready, mixed everything together and added in olive oil and lemon juice. Voila! One complete delicious meal done. These are the luxuries one can enjoy with car camping.

Of course, for dessert, and every single night thereafter, we all had s’mores.

The BEST Chicken Marinade

This is the marinated chicken recipe that I used courtesy of Mom on TimeOut.  I cut the recipe in half and used skinless chicken drumsticks and skinless chicken thighs. Put everything in a ziplock bag, and reserved some marinade on the side for basting. It was incredible.


  • ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar (or other vinegar)
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • ⅛ cup lemon juice
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 2 tbsp Dijon or Spicy Brown mustard
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 6 chicken breast or 3.5 lb chicken

DAY 2: Hiking & Rafting

The day started with an 8 mile out and back hike on the Great Gorge Trail. We drove to the Cucumber Run Picnic Area where the trailhead was located, and started there. At the end of the Great Gorge Trail, we added on the Sproul Trail which is a XC skiing route. Big mistake – very overgrown grasses and definitely not hiking. More like tramping. So lesson learned – stay off the XC trails unless, you know, you’re actually on skis. The Great Gorge Trail was enjoyable enough, though forgettable.

Later in the afternoon we went white water rafting down the lower Youghiogheny River which was one of my favorite parts of the trip. This was a 7.5 mile run in Class III – IV rapids. We went with Laurel Highlands and did the Express Tour. Really fun, I highly recommend them.  Our guide was super knowledgeable and kept everyone laughing. Plus, there was hardly any work involved in any actual paddling. Just a few strokes here and there. You were mostly taking in the scenery and getting splashed with water. Super fun, my first time white water rafting.

Getting outfitted for the trip

You can’t tell in this pic, but I’m actually blazing mad since we arrived late to the tour due to miscommunicated directions from within our group (not Laurel Highlanders fault).  However, I only missed the safety briefing, so I was alright, and felt immensely better once the rafting started.

Checking out the natural waterslides


DAY 4: FallingWater & Homeward Bound

Packed up camp, and then did a short little 2 mile group hike down the GAP (their choice not mine, haha) for our last group bonding time, then we parted ways. I got some frozen yogurt for the second day in a row (this is shocking for me) and toured the Visitor’s Center.  The Visitor’s Center is very well-done inside and I even enjoyed a session about butterflies.  This was all to kill time before our reservation to tour FallingWater.


Fallingwater is a house built between 1936 and 1939 over a waterfall. Frank Lloyd Wright designed the house for his clients, the Kaufmann family.

Touring FallingWater was such an awesome experience. The tour is comprehensive, and the house is just impressive. Really good way to close out the trip. I highly recommend stopping here on your way home. Plus, the cafe is incredibly delicious.