Although you don’t NEED an excuse to head outside and take a hike, I appreciate that the #OPTOUTSIDE tradition continues. It gives me a set date that I know I will be able to do something fun with my nephews while one sister goes Black Friday shopping and the other works.
I was undecided what I wanted to do for my birthday weekend this year. The weather hasn’t been the greatest lately so that took out camping. I really wanted to go see some waterfalls, but a lot of places I looked up were either closed for the season or the trails were washed out due to all the rain we have been having. Then something made me think about the bike train in Jim Thorpe. After a quick search, I found out it was the last weekend for the year. I gave Pocono Biking a call with serious doubts I would get any tickets. They are a company we have used NUMEROUS times before for the shuttle, but never had a chance to take the train. Either way, you park in Jim Thorpe and take the train (which runs about once a month spring – fall) or take a shuttle (which runs daily May – Oct and weekends only in April & November) to White Haven, PA. Then you hop on your bike and cycle about 25 miles along the Lehigh Gorge Trail back to Jim Thorpe.
To my surprise there were a fed tickets available for the train! I claimed tickets for as many family members as I could put in a car. Bikes, trains, and waterfalls – what better way to spend a day?!
There was a hurricane coming as Dad and I drove to our final highpoint of this epic road trip. We drove down the back country roads to beat it before the rain was expected to start at Driskill Mountain Louisiana. We figured I should have time to hike it and continue driving as far as we could for a bit. They were calling for flooding and crazy winds so I knew I had to hurry.
Dad and I arrived at Mount Magazine late in the afternoon. We were tired from driving so we decided to stay at the lodge there. It was one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen. It reminded me of the Trapp Family Lodge in Vermont, but more modern. After we checked in we decided we may as well hike to the highpoint to save us time in the morning because we had another long day of driving.
I was excited/nervous as Dad and I made our way to the trailhead for Black Mesa in Oklahoma. I figured the hike would be sort of like White Butte in North Dakota, only longer. I thought the hike started at Black Mesa State Park. We pulled in and asked a few people if the hike starts there and one man replied, “Well, you can start the hike here, but it’d take you a day or two!” before giving us directions to the spot a bit farther down the road where the trail ACTUALLY starts.
I was really excited about going to Mount Sunflower in Kansas. I love sunflowers and this state high point has a giant metal sunflower made out of rail road spikes. Unfortunately when Dad and I got there it was pretty foggy and misty so I didn’t have the picturesque blue sky with giant puffy clouds in the background for my pictures like I wanted, but it was still a cool little place to check out.
The next stop on our road trip across the US was the OZ Museum in Wamego, Kansas. Another little gem I found by googling i70 tourist attractions! Who doesn’t like The Wizard of OZ?