Color Run – Allentown

The Color Run is advertised as the happiest 5k on the planet – but this morning it seemed like it was also the coldest.  It was a chilly 35 degrees when we arrived to sign in.  There was hardly ANYONE there, which really surprised me because when I did the Color Run in Hershey earlier this year it was so packed they had to have 2 dates.  As the time went on though, more people came, but it still wasn’t near the amount of people as the prior run.

We got our packets, put our crisp new white t-shirts on, and got in line.  We were pretty close to the front so we were one of the 1st waves to go.

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Maize Quest Corn Maze

Friday night we decided to check out Maize Quest Corn Maze (cute play on words, don’t you think?) which is in New Park, PA.  I had never done a corn maze before – by the time we got out there, it was dark.  We brought flashlights because Friday and Saturday they have Flashlight Night so you can do the maze in the dark.  The maze is 10 acres and the theme changes every year – this year the theme was Amazon Adventure.  You can download an app that tracks where you are so you don’t get completely lost – and yes we did refer to it several times!  🙂  They give you a flag when you start so if you are really lost and need help getting out you just wave it overhead and they will come and get you.

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St Peter’s Village

JoJo and I decided to check out St Peter’s Village today.  Every time I think of St Peter’s Village I think of the time my best friend, Jen, took me there YEARS ago (it was actually the only other time I had been there).  We were hiking around and I kept feeling like there was something on my head.  I had the front part of my hair pulled back in a clip and I just kept feeling a lump where the clip was.  I kept asking Jen if she saw anything and every time she would say no.  When we were done hiking and got back in the car I looked in the rearview mirror and I see these tiny arms and legs frantically moving around and peaking out from my hair – tiny little buggy legs.  LOL!  It was like it was saying, “HELP ME!!!”  Of course I did the only rational thing I could think of – jump out of the car and start screaming.  haha.  I may like nature, but NO ONE said I have to like bugs!  So Jen comes running over and helps me get the bug, which turned out to be some kind of beetle, untangled from my hair.  Poor little guy!  I will NEVER forget seeing those little legs waving for help!

ANYWAY, we drove over and I couldn’t remember where you park – I saw a lot of parking areas but I didn’t see any trails so we kept driving around.  Finally, I decided to check out the lot that had big boulders sort of framing it.  I got out and saw a trail next to a sign that said the lot closes at dark.  Jo and I set off for some exploring!

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Ridley Creek State Park

It was a beautiful day so I decide to go hiking – JoJo and I headed over to Ridley Creek State Park in south eastern PA.  I have only hiked there one other time YEARS ago.  There is a beautiful mansion that has been converted into the park office.  I figured today was a perfect day to check out the mansion and the trails again.

We got there a lot later than expected due to a TON of construction on some of the roads to the park.  I was trying to listen to my audiobook (The Martian) but couldn’t really hear it because the GPS would cut it off to tell me directions – so sadly I couldn’t finish my book – oh well!

We stopped to check out the mansion/park office first.  It was as lovely as I remembered it!  The stone walls around the yard which contained formal gardens and fountains were amazing to look at!  I can’t even imagine that people used to live in such a lovely place!

Just beautiful!

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Backpacking Blunders (part 3)

When you are taking someone backpacking for the first time, you want their experience to be pleasant so that they will want to go again.  When I took my friend Laura on her first backpacking trip, it was ANYTHING but pleasant….

I used my Backpacking Pennsylvania book to pick out an easy trail – I decided on the Pinchot Trail in Lackawana State Forest.  In the book it was listed as a 24 mile loop hike that is typically done in 2 days.  The loop also has a section of trail that goes through the middle in case you need/want to cut your trip short.

We set out in September of 2010 with my trusty side kick at the time Kira.  Kira was an adorable dog I adopted from the pound in 2001, she had a few emotional issues as she was abused before I got her, but as long as you played by her rules, she was perfectly fine – more about this later.

signing the trail register

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Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail

Every year I organize a bike trip to Jim Thorpe, PA.  This year we had 15 people join the fun!  We catch a shuttle from Jim Thorpe and ride it to White Haven where we jump on our bikes and have a pleasant 25 mile ride on the Lehigh Gorge Rail Trail back to our cars in Jim Thorpe.  This year the leaves were just starting to turn and there was a slight chill in the air – it was beautiful and PERFECT weather for a bike ride.

The train station in Jim Thorpe

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Another use for JoJo’s DoggyRide!

So last year I bought a DoggyRide for JoJo – for those of you unfamiliar with what that is, it is one of those carts that attaches to your bike that you put a kid in, only this is for dogs.  There are multiple openings that she can stick her head out, or I can zip the whole thing up and she just lays down and enjoys the ride.  There is a strap with a clasp inside that I attach to her harness which is supposed to prevent her from jumping out, although she did jump out the 1st time I took her on a ride.  Sure, she looks cute in it, but what ELSE can I use it for?

JoJo is ready to go!

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Backpacking Blunders (part 2)

Back in 2008, after I saved up and bough some decent gear, I talked my best friend Jen into coming on a backpacking trip with me.

The pack I eventually ended up buying was an Osprey Ariel 75 – since my previous pack seemed to small to carry everything I would need, I was unsure about what size to get so naturally I bought the absolute biggest bag I could find – I figured it would be good to have the extra room and it had a ton of compression straps so that if I didn’t fill it up it wouldn’t be a big deal.  Unfortunately what they say is true about packs – if you have the space, you will find something to fill it up with – and boy did I ever.  Since this was my 1st backpacking trip I wasn’t sure what I would need – so I brought EVERYTHING, literally!  We planned on making it a 3 day/ 2 night trip so I brought a change of clothes for each day plus an extra pair and clothes to sleep in- all were cotton as I didn’t have any moisture wicking clothes.  I brought tons of extra batteries as that is what I read online, even though all my gear was new, my pocket rocket backpacking stove to cook food with and 2 fuel canisters as again I read you should bring a spare in case you ran out.  I hate to admit I even brought makeup, a razor, 2 books, a deck of cards, a mug, headlamp, flashlight, AND lantern, a pillow, plus the tent, food, and my sleeping bag – my pack easily weighed 55lbs – if not more.  It was packed to the BRIM with things – more than I would need for a WEEK on the trail, but again we had no idea and wanted to be prepared.  Jen ended up using the LL BEAN pack that I bought as that was the only spare I had.

If you look really closely I think you can see the kitchen sink I packed peaking out – HOW DID I CARRY THIS???

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Backpacking Blunders (part 1)

So since there is going to be a tropical storm this weekend and our plans were cancelled, I decided I am going to write a short series about some backpacking trips that didn’t go as expected.  There has been some VERY interesting mishaps I felt I’d share!

I guess I should start with when I 1st tried to get into backpacking.  I’m not sure where I first got the idea to go, but I remember becoming obsessed with it about 10 years ago around about the time I got into hiking – the idea that you could CARRY everything you need to survive a night in the woods was fascinating to me.

I went from a kid who HATED hiking (I would complain and cry the ENTIRE TIME – why can’t I go home and read my book??) to an adult who couldn’t get enough of being outside.  I have no idea what happened, but I took every chance I could to go exploring.  I CLEARLY remember being a kid and my parents would take me out in my sweatpants with the elastic cuff at the bottom that were about 5″ too short, Keds canvas sneakers, and turtleneck – I would be sweltering to DEATH and they want me to hike up some dumb hill? For what?  Hiking to me when I was a kid equaled guaranteed sunburn, bug bites, and poison ivy – and heaven forbid if you got all of these things at the same time – TORTURE!!!  The ONLY thing I liked then about being outside was being able to see frogs.  I remember standing by a tiny stream of water and seeing a few hopping around and my dad telling me that it’s rare to see frogs because of pollution and stuff – and this was in the 80s!

I spent about an hour and a half searching for this picture – I vividly remember this day:

hiking - kids
looking for frogs and wanting to go home to read my book – my sisters and I (I am the in the white shirt)

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