We headed straight to the park right after picking up Bảo from the Rutgers Alumni breakfast event. The GPS predicts around 3hrs45min to get there, but the last 45 miles or so we can travel at much higher speed than the said speed, so the total travel time was around 3hrs. We were able to make it there before the ranger office close, so we picked up the keys and drove to the lodge. It's a nice and neat lodge. It has total of 4 bedrooms, each bedroom is equipped with 4 bunk beds, so it can accommodate up to 15 people (there is one room which only has 3 instead of 4 beds). We settled in quickly and drove out to the Goodwin lake. The lake facility was closed but we can check out the beach & lake. It was kind of empty this time of year, and we did not mind that at all. We pretty much had the lakes all to ourselves. I also drove to the boat docks, visited the Conference area, and hiked a bit on the Otter Trail. It was great that we got there early, and able to enjoy the place while the sun is still out.

Headed back to the lodge, we relax a bit before starting the dinner. The bathroom is a bit different! It's setup as a common bathroom, which has two private toilets, open sinks and two shower heads inside an enclosed area. Soaps & shampoos were provided.

We brought all the foods & ingredients, and the kitchen has all the pots & pans we need so the cooking was easy. The Steak au Poivre came out perfect, I noticed that if I put out the cognac a bit early, then the flavor of the cognac still linger in the sauce, making it more prevalent. With the vegetables & rice cooked in the microwave, we have all the cooking done in less than 45min. After dinner, I & Thuỵ went out to the back, tried to start a fire in the fire pit. Previous renters left us enough of logs, also falling branches are available. I did not bring the matches so we have to start a fire in the kitchen, and brought it out to the fire pit. We gather all the papers as kindling but after several trips of carrying fire on the baking tray from the kitchen, we could not get the fire going; until Thuỵ has the idea of using the dried leaves, and that worked beautifully. We had roaring fire in the fire pit, and shared ghost stories. I did not prepare so I had to rehash the old ghost story, which I believe Bảo & Thuỵ both recognized. The temperature drops a bit that night, but still pleasant with a thin jacket & fire going. It was around 11pm that we decided to turned in, for a big day ahead.

We tried to train Huan to sleep alone in his bunk bed, which was much harder than I anticipated, so both Huan & I were pretty much staying up almost the whole night. Around 5am, that was when Huan started to fall sleep, and I could not so I decided to wake up to make coffee, which was around 6am. I drank the coffee on the deck, looking out the woods in the back of lodge, everything was so still, quiet and sun light just peeked through the trees. I grabbed the camera & walked out to the lake. There was a thin fog over the water that morning, and the whole picture was just like a painting. Walking a long the shore, I took bunch of pictures and hiked to other cabins area. There were two cabins situated facing out to the lake, perfect location. Headed back to the lodge around 8am, and rest of the gang were still sleeping. I made myself another cup of coffee and enjoying review the pictures I just took on the deck. I wish they have wireless internet, but I guess ... that's just too much to ask.

After breakfast, we drove out to the ranger office and rent boat & canoes. For an hour of fun, we canoeing around the lake. I let Huong row, and just leaned back look up the sky & enjoy the scenery. The canoeing gently glides on the water, so quiet, we had the whole lake to ourselves. At that time, I just don't want to do anything, just want to sit back & take it all in. Quite enjoyable. Next time, perhaps we will bring our own canoes, and even fishing poles to see what we can catch.

We returned the boat & canoes and headed out to see the High Bridge. It's a tallest bridge in the area, and has a history to go along. During the civil war, the battle of High Bridge happened there, and both sides, each had tried to destroy the bridge. A section of the bridge was burned but the rest remains until today. We drove out to the closest point, and walk the rest to the bridge. The hike is about a mile, and easy walk. I thought that we can ... actually walk on the bridge, but the whole structure is being fenced up. We can only look & take pictures behind the 10 high chain link fence.

I forgot to send email to colleagues for the Monday day off, so we decided to eat out & chose a place which has free internet. The restaurant is called Country Cookin, and the foods are not bad at all. All side dishes are buffet setting, so we tried almost every side dishes they have to offer. Not a bad deal at all, and it's highly recommended.

The rain started when we finished the early dinner at Country Cookin, so we had to stay in and kept ourselves entertained with the Monopoly game. I managed to have houses on Park Place & Broadway Ave, and once that happened, it was an easy win. No one can afford a rent of thousand of dollar when landed on my property.

It rained through out the night, and morning of the next day when we drove back home. I really like the place, and can only imagine of how beautiful the place is going to be during the Autumn, the leaves are turning and reflection of colors on the lake. I don't mind to go back there at all.

Twin Lakes