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​Summer Day at Devil’s Den

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June 25, 2011 by wcobserver

Devil's Den Diary

By Emma Mann

The day for the store clerk at Devil’s Den begins at 8 a.m. As she clocks in, the smells of breakfast fill the air from the Ridge Runner Café. Now the peddle boats need unlocking. The walk down to the dock is very peaceful. She can hear birds singing from the trees, feel the gentle breeze of summer, and see squirrels playing along the walkways. The lake is undisturbed, looks like glass, reflecting the far shore. Beautiful. The first customers start arriving when the doors open, campers needing ice, or fresh faces needing some trail advice. Mornings pass in this manner, usually fairly relaxed until the lifeguards arrive.

Photo by Rebekah Mann - The pool and store at Devil’s Den State Park becomes a hub of activity during the summer. Lifeguards Riley Franklin (L-R), Justin Lewandowski, Emma Mann, Craig Brannan, and Casey McCarthy perform a number of duties beyond their poolside perches to help visitors enjoy all the park has to offer.

With the lifeguards come an unexplainable energy of playfulness and laughter. The clerk can only attribute it to all the vitamin D they absorb, or maybe it’s the fact they can jump into the cool pool water throughout the day. However, when the pool opens at noon, it is all business. She can see one lifeguard kneeling to put a Band-Aid on a scraped knee, another lifeguard whistling on the stand to prevent an accident, and another lifeguard smiling while telling a hiker about his favorite trail. What a great atmosphere in which to spend your day!

At 2:30 p.m. the lifeguards close the pool for lunch, and, by default, the store becomes very busy. Everyone is suddenly in the mood for ice cream. At this time, a passerby would see all of the big boulders that the Civil Conservation Corps placed around the Ridge Runner, covered with families eating snacks in their swimming suits, waiting to jump back in the pool. Finally, at 3 p.m. things once again become relaxing for the clerk, so she can straighten the Devil’s Den souvenirs such as shirts, mugs, and various other items.

The pool becomes shaded around 5:30 p.m. and the smell of campfires fill the air as people begin to settle in for the evening. At 6 p.m., when the pool closes, the clerk is left with the camaraderie of the lifeguards as they close down for the day. The store is peaceful and quiet once again until one last camper rushes in before 7 p.m. for one more bag of ice and a pack of marshmallows for s’mores.

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