Friday, July 18, 2014

Biggest threat to America

This has been a pretty big week in my life. First of all, Monday morning I handed in my final grad assignment for grad school and applied for graduation. I've been waiting four years for this moment (I theoretically could have taken less time but then my school district wouldn't have paid for it).

Second, today is our six year wedding anniversary!

I'll spare you the six reasons we are a perfect couple or my priceless advice on marriage after a whole SIX YEARS. Personally, considering marriage is a lifetime adventure, I feel the only people qualified to give advice have to be like maybe 30 years in or so.

Instead of gifts, we take a little baby mini vacation each year to celebrate (or at least we have so far... that could change soon). This year, I really wanted to go somewhere that was close and relaxing for a low key getaway/Babymoon, although my husband does not approve of that term. We rented a cabin in the Poconos.

Obviously, we used this opportunity to focus on activities that were not child friendly and exclusively fun for adults.

Roasting marshmallows (should have made s'mores, but there were a lot of good ice cream places around)
A giant maze
Mini-golf. One of us got a hole in one. One of us didn't. One of us owns their own golf clubs. One of us doesn't ever golf.
At least we can anticipate not mourning our old, mature adult life in the future.

We also did some hiking. However, we made a grave mistake. Two years ago, we went to the Smoky Mountains for our anniversary. The Smokies compared to the Poconos is kind of like the time we first went to Vegas, then later went to Atlantic City. It sets the bar a little too high.

The Smoky Mountains:



The Poconos:


Ok, they're both pretty, so let's look at some other comparisons.

Our first day in the Poconos, we went to Bushkill Falls to do a hike, on the recommendation of a local. When we arrived, we found out they charge you to hike the trails?! I'd never heard of such a thing. So we played in that maze (it took us ten minutes to find our way out - if we could have done it in 9 we would have earned a sticker) and left. We found a trail on our own, and it was free, dammit.

We quickly discovered why.

It appears that the entire trail was a fire road? At least that's all we saw.

The steep hill was also not what I'd expect from a mountain trail. I'm definitely not some crazy wilderness snob, but I've done a few trail runs in my day. We were just sort of hoping the trails would be, you know, trails. Like with dirt and stuff. Maybe you hear birds instead of traffic. Something like that.

Here's the Appalachian trail we hiked in the Smoky Mountains.


You see what I mean. A few challenges. Since that was a bit of a bust, the next day we decided to pay the fee to see Bushkill Falls. There were four options of trails, the longest claiming to be two miles. There were excessive warnings that it was for EXPERIENCED HIKERS ONLY.

Apparently when you pay to hike, they don't have cheap ass blazes on trees, they have colored squares nailed to trees. These are what you follow to make sure you aren't off course. We were very relieved for them. As you can see in the below pictures, it would be pretty easy to wander off the "trail".

SO CONFUSING. Which is the trail??
Eric did go rogue at one point.
There were also benches to rest on approximately every tenth of a mile. I'm not even kidding.

Bushkill Falls touts itself as "The Niagara of Pennsylvania". There were a bunch of waterfalls which were really pretty. I don't even know how many because you go up and down and see them from the top and the bottom and all different angels so I completely lost track of which was which.


The main falls

Another falls, no clue which one.

I just thought the way the light hit the water was cool here.
The Smokies only had one waterfall, although you could actually get in and swim up to it, which was pretty cool.
Another strange thing was that the red trail (the "hard" one) would frequently go in two different directions. Every other woods experience I've had, aside from the PHUNT 50k of course, would call one direction a different color trail. To see everything, you had to frequently double back, take other trails, and repeat sections, so it was definitely way more than two miles.

After awhile, we finally got to the hardcore section - no more wooden walkways or handrails, although the benches still continued.

"For hikers only"
We preserved and managed to see all the falls. Although Eric didn't count it as a workout, I was pretty exhausted by the end. Maybe I wouldn't have if I were a real #mamalete, but there were a ton of climbs and stairs and it was hard. I guess it was probably for the best that the Bushkill Falls trails weren't the most challenging. Plus, it was significantly cooler in Pennsylvania than Tennessee in July, which was a major bonus.

While the hiking was fun, the relaxing was my ultimate goal. Our cabin had a nice front porch, and I spent every morning living the dream.

Coffee, kindle, not 100% humidity, and peace and quiet.
When we first arrived, we mocked this sign at the entrance to the little villa of cabins.

Biggest threat to America.

As we were pulling out of the parking lot to do our hike, Eric suddenly yelled and I turned and saw a freaking BEAR like two feet from where I'd just been sitting on our porch.

We couldn't get our camera out in time, but here's Eric reenacting based on where the paw prints were

The best picture we could get - still pretty close (no zoom!)

That was pretty exciting.

Overall, although we scoffed a bit at the trails, we had a great time and enjoyed the trip. I'd recommend it, although I would warn anyone that we got barely any cell reception the whole time, and the place we stayed charged for wireless. If you want to go with your spouse, be prepared that talking and interacting with him will be your only entertainment the entire time.

It was pretty surreal to think that this is our last trip/anniversary as a twosome. We kept pointing out child friendly activities and talking about coming back to do them one day. It's really sinking in that we will be a family of 3 very, very soon!

Do you like hiking? On vacation? Normally I prefer trips that involve pool chairs and drinks with umbrellas, but without the drinks, hiking is a top choice.


  1. Looks fun! (I love the Smokies. There is no place like them. Did you know they are one of the oldest mountain ranges in the world, and at one point way back in the mists of time they were higher than the Himalayas?)

  2. We went hiking once on a trail that said it was "wheelchair/stroller accessible." Let me tell you, if you can push a stroller on it, it's not a real trail!

    I generally prefer my vacations to involve lots of laziness, but for weekend trips, I really like camping and hiking.

  3. Wait, you entertained yourself by talking to your husband? I avoid that at all costs. That's what we have cable for.

    The week before I gave birth we went hiking and afterwards we realize how stupid that was. Luckily it was a short trail and there was cell reception.

  4. Next time you want hiking and waterfalls in PA, try Ricketts Glen :)

  5. I found this post to be very confusing with the switching between the pregnant and non-pregnant photos :)

  6. All of your pictures mocking the signs cracked me up, I really enjoy mockery like that. If I'm on vacation I like to be as lazy as possible...but, I've got kids, and those two things don't really go together. Kids like to play and be entertained and fed, they are SO demanding.

  7. I just found this blog and I freaking love this post! You and your fella seem like a really funny couple that is well matched. And holy crap you were close to that bear!


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