I’m sure you have heard about the #optoutside movement that REI started this year – instead of spending your day inside, fighting crowds during Black Friday, REI urged people to spend their day outside enjoying nature instead.  Here in PA I couldn’t have asked for a better day – it was actually in the 60’s with zero chance of rain – who WOULDN’T want to be outside on a day like that??  PERFECT hiking weather!!

I asked my sister if I could take my nephew on a hike and my Mom decided to join me as well!  We decided to check out some trails that we haven’t done in a long time – the first was on Pumping Station Rd.  We parked and walked about a mile round trip along the road, but could never find where the trail went into the woods – it was strange!  We did see a crazy looking boulder that looked like a giant whale which was hard to get a picture of because of the brush in front of it.  It seemed like everything had private property signs posted so we went back to the car to try to find some other nearby trails.

Branch Manager and Assistant Branch Manager

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So you may know that REI has an incredible return policy – they will basically take ANYTHING back as long as you have proof of purchase, the item is in fairly decent condition and it’s within a year since you bought it.

In July I bought a new pair of Merrell hiking boots online because my Keens were pretty worn out.  I wore them on a few day hikes and the 30 mile backpacking trip on the Old Loggers Path.  The shoes seemed a bit narrow (I do not have wide feet so this seemed strange) but I figured they would stretch out after I broke them in a bit.  Well they didn’t – after my trip on the Old Loggers Path, I NEVER had so many blisters on my feet in my life.  It was awful – the entire inner sides of BOTH of my feet had massive blisters on them – from the tips of my big toes to my heel.  It was nuts – and painful — and coincidentally how I decided on the name of my blog – I said to my family when I was done with the hike “I have never had so many blisters and bug bites in my life!”  Then I thought – ‘Hmmm…that’s kinda catchy….sorta gross, but catchy!’ and TA DA!  My blog was born!

Just because you buy the same brand of shoes as Bear Grylls, DOES NOT make you Bear Grylls :/

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Survivor – Lycoming County

I am a HUGE Survivor fan so when a friend (Sara) invited me up to her cabin to have a survivor weekend I didn’t hesitate to say yes.  Her family was also really into Survivor and believe me they went ALL OUT for this weekend.  She told me that her parents set up actual homemade games inspired by the show with tribes, immunity idols, eliminations and all.

I drove up with Sara and a few other friends.  Let me tell you, her lovely parents spent so much time and energy into making this weekend as authentic as possible for us – her mom even carved the immunity idol herself – making a bear out of a log with a CHAINSAW!!  It was awesome!  Oh and Sara made fake immunity idols for us before we got up there – we never did get to play them – LOL!

SHH! we made fake hidden immunity idols!!

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Food Allergies and the Backcountry

I have some pretty weird food allergies – carrots and watermelon (actually I’m pretty sure all melons – I don’t really care for them anyway, but I do have a reaction whenever they are mixed into fruit salad.)  I just avoid these foods at all costs, especially carrots as they make my throat swell up if I eat enough of them.  You never realize how much a particular ingredient is used until you become allergic and have to check EVERYTHING.  Carrots are used as a filler in A LOT of different foods – so I just check the ingredients of anything new I try.  Try being a vegetarian and going to salad bars, then seeing they use pre packaged mixes that already have carrots in them.  They are in a lot of vegetarian foods, some drinks listed as FRUIT juice, and they even use carrots in some energy gels – I’m telling you they show up in the weirdest places!

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MS 150 – City to Shore (part 1)

Well I did it!  I signed up again for the MS 150 City to Shore.  I have done this ride twice before – well let me rephrase that, I have attempted this ride twice before and completed it once.  The MS 150 is an epic charity bike ride which benefits Multiple Sclerosis – it starts in Cherry Hill, NJ and goes all the way to Ocean City, NJ.  There are literally THOUSANDS of people that come to ride this event of all different abilities – it is quite overwhelming to see!  Of course, you don’t have to ride the whole 150 (if you do, that’s split up into a 2 day event.).  There is also the 100 mile century ride, the 75 mile ride which is the ride I sign up for (which is listed as 80 miles this year), a 45 mile and a 25 mile – so there is something for everyone!  There are also MS cycling events a lot of different states across the US.

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Biking to Work – it’s WORTH IT!

I LOVE riding my bike so I’ll take any excuse I can to sneak in a ride!  If you have been reading my blog for a while you know I started biking to the grocery store.  I have been biking to work for a few years now – not every day, sometimes I wake up too late or the weather is bad, or I’m feeling lazy 🙂 but the days where it works out just seems to start my day off right!

you don't get to enjoy views like this when you drive!
you don’t get to enjoy views like this when you drive!

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Assateague Island

Chances are when you were younger you had to read Misty of Chincoteague in school.  This is the story about a wild pony from Assateague Island that was bought on Pony Penning day – a yearly roundup of the horses on Assateague by the Saltwater Cowboys where the horses swim across the bay onto Chincoteague Island and sold at auction.  When I found out Assateague and Chincoteague were real places, the childhood girl inside me would not be happy until I visited!  🙂

It wasn’t until a few years ago I actually got to go to Assateague Island, which is split up into sections.  Assateague is one long skinny island – Assateague State Park and Assateague National Seashore are on the Maryland side and the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge is on the southern Virginia part of the island.  There is no road that goes the length of the entire island, but you can access both sides by bridges.  I have only ever been to the Maryland side which offers various forms of camping, kayak and canoe rentals, hiking and biking trails, beaches, bays and WILD PONIES!!  What’s not to love?  Well if you go in the summer, be prepared for a TON of bugs – all of the biting variety for one.  I’m not kidding, the first time I was there I hiked the “Life of the Forest Trail” and literally RAN through it because if I would stop I was immediately swarmed by mosquitos and horse flies – it was unreal!  But NOTHING was gonna stop me from seeing those wild ponies!  🙂

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