We’ll Meet in the Middle (cross that Ole PA line)

I now live close enough to Pittsburgh to meet up with my nephew, Izzy, for get togethers! and so that is just what I did! He started driving my way and I started driving his…we met in the middle at Ohiopyle State Park!

Ohiopyle is about seven miles off of Route 40 West in Pennsylvania. One could build an entire vacation around this park…go camping, rafting, hiking, biking on the GAP trail that runs from Cumberland, Maryland to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, see lots of waterfalls, and even visit Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fallingwater! OH…and I didn’t even mention the cute town with many fun shops!

Izzy and I met up to hike and journal. It was a great day for that with warm, but not hot temperatures, a steady breeze, and sunshine! First things first…bathrooms! Yes, they were open in the Visitor Center! Score for us!

We snapped a really bad pic at the Visitor Center (which was immediately deleted from my phone once I became aware of just how bad it was) then headed to the north end of town to pick up the GAP Trail. We took a much better pic along the way. 😀 We had a small goal…walk down the GAP Trail, skirt down the west side of the river on the Gorge Trail, stop for food and journaling at Cucumber Falls, then return to the cars along the Meadow Run trail. If time we were going to also check out the natural water slides. Maybe 4-ish miles. Lots of time to lollygag the day away!

Thank goodness because lollygag we did! There were so many wildflowers blooming along the Gorge Trail that we were literally stopping every few minutes to take it all in! I have never seen such a wide variety of wildflowers. Gorgeous! Thank you, Mother Earth! Well done!

When we finally made it around to Cucumber Falls we were ready to sit, eat, and journal. A nice couple of rocks awaited us away from the mob collected up near the falls. Damp sandy soil surrounded our rocks. Putting my rain poncho on the ground in front of me, I kicked off my shoes and got comfy. I brought out my journal, my colored pencils, and let myself drift off into…that place. That place we all go when we stare up into the trees or up into the night sky or waves crashing onto a beach…yes, that place.

Izzy and I talked about ancestors and ancestral healing…yeah, we were in it to win it today let me tell you! 😀 We shared weird dreams we had experienced, thoughts on all kinds of topics that I don’t really talk much about to anyone else! 😀 😀 😀 When he pulled out his little tarot cards…I was like “Yeah, pass them over”. 😀

There is always someone in the family that you click with on a different level than everyone else in your family. Izzy is that person for me. He says whatever is on his mind, holds no judgement whatsoever, and is able to converse on anything that comes up. Oh, and he has a Master’s in Geology and was able to school me on all the cool limestone formations along our hike.

Here is to family! Here is to vaccinations that allow me to see family again! Here is to family who live relatively close! Here is to family who will come hike with me!

Grab someone you haven’t hung out with since pre-COVID and Hike On!

A Little Walk Here, A Little Walk There

I live in a wonderful place with a lot of close by opportunities to get out for a short walk now and then.  I am not pushing my COVID-19 boundaries…rather not get into trouble with the Hoganmeister…Governor Hogan…or get anyone sick or get sick myself.

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Spring awakes

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Social Distancing

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All alone at Chimney Rocks

However, I know how to pick place and time for solitude on the trail.  That is one of the benefits to being a regular hiker, I know where the secret places are and/or the times when everyone else stays home.

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Only one in the Gorge at Rocky Gap

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Solo lunch by the Lake

Occasionally, I have taken Sidekick Pauli and she is loving it!  She is going to be 13 on May 10, is covered with lumps, and is graying around her muzzle, but she still enjoys a mile or so on a trail. 🙂  Especially when wildflowers are beginning to bloom!  We took this micro jaunt along the C&O Canal in western Maryland…not a soul in sight.

I am fortunate to have outdoor resources so near to my house.  I can get there and back without stopping for gas, to go to the bathroom, or anything else.  Added benefit is that I am reconnecting with solo hiking.  I definitely miss hiking with my Trail Dames right now, but once this is all over, we will hike again.

In between the outdoor jaunts I am on lock down with almost everyone else.  I am a teacher and the show must go on…but it has not been an easy transition to online instruction for me or my college students.  I am sure it has been an interesting transition for you as well.

If you are a healthcare worker, a bus driver, a grocery store employee, or any other occupation deemed essential…I salute and thank you.  You all are getting all the rest of us though this pandemic and your sacrifice is immeasurable.

Be safe and Hike on responsibly!