June 24, 2018

Ricketts Glen State Park

I took off one day last week and headed out to Ricketts Glen State Park. It was about a two hour drive, out past Wilkes-Barre. I had heard good things, and I decided to do the seven-mile lollipop loop, hiking through woods and past over twenty waterfalls.

I started at the Route 118 parking area. The hike starts out as a level walk through the woods along the stream. There are several crossings over cool little bridges, and the sound of the water flowing over the rocks was soothing. 

As you hit the first three waterfalls before Waters Meet, it starts to get steeper.

Then you arrive at Waters Meet, and you have to decide- do you go to the left around the loop, or do you go to the right. 50 Hikes in Eastern Pennsylvania had said to go to the left, and I am SO GLAD that's how I went. Here's the thing. When there are waterfalls, there are steep trails. Going to the left meant I was going uphill toward the beginning of my hike. I got through the worst of it, then I recovered along the flat Highland Trail through the woods. The second half of the hike, along the second stream, it was all downhill. So I went uphill when I had the most energy and cruised the rest of the way.

See those steps? Uphill like that. Lots like that. It's much better to do that in the beginning than the end. There are giant waterfalls and small waterfalls and multi-layer waterfalls.

The tallest one is called Ganoga Falls. It was a pretty popular rest stop.

A couple in their 70s was sitting on a log looking at the falls. They grabbed their walking sticks and got ready to leave, but the man took out his phone and insisted that the woman go stand in front of the falls so he could take a photo. I couldn't help think of me and Dave. He does that all the time to me! I hope we're still out having adventures when we're their age.

walking up alongside Ganoga Falls
Dave wasn't with me this time since he had to work, but I'll go back with him in the future. I really liked Oneida Falls.

Oneida Falls

I think this one was my favorite of the park. It's the one that made me wish I had my DSLR and tripod. I was almost at the top, near the flat trail through the woods that led to the second stream, so I sat on one of those flat rocks for a little water break and a rest before pressing on.

Bye, Oneida!
It's worth mentioning that you should bring water, even if you're just doing the shorter loop around the falls and not the full seven miles starting down at Route 118. However, I really recommend starting at the southern parking lot. If you start near the campgrounds in the north, you'll go downhill first and you'll have to come back uphill. Also, wear boots if you have them because some parts of the trail are wet and slippery. I didn't have a problem with sturdy hiking boots.

Yep, that's a fallen tree.

The trails are clearly marked and well maintained, which is always appreciated. I was surprised at how many people were there on a weekday. I got there in the morning and a handful of cars were in the lot. When I left in the afternoon, the lot was almost full- and it's big.

I can't say enough how much I enjoyed this hike. It was the best hike I've done in Pennsylvania. You're mostly walking along water, and the views are beautiful.

You stop a lot to look at waterfalls, so that helps with recovery from all the steep inclines.

I felt great when I was done. It was a fantastic day.

June 4, 2018

Washington Crossing State Park

We went to Washington Crossing State Park in New Jersey last weekend. It has miles of trails and some historical items in the visitor center. The exact location where the best Founding Father crossed the Delaware River isn't known, but the ranger said the marker was close.

I should note that I grew up right outside Philadelphia, where the Delaware is REALLY BIG. I live in the Lehigh Valley, where the Delaware is small. I call it the Baby Delaware. I went tubing down the Baby Delaware, and you could never do that in Philly. So the stories about Washington crossing the Delaware seemed more impressive when you think the river is enormous. The Delaware River where Washington crossed isn't much bigger than it is where I live. That being said, it's still an impressive feat to get all those men and the equipment across in the night without being found out. Go GW!

We rounded out the day walking along the river and the canal. It was a nice outing.

May 22, 2018

Wildwood Park

Dave and I went to Wildwood Park last weekend. Not to be confused with Wildwood, NJ, this place is a lake and a wildlife sanctuary with trails near Harrisburg, PA.

You kind of have to tune out the highway noise, but it was a really nice day. A large section is composed of wetlands, so we saw plenty of egrets. Yay! It also seemed overrun with red-winged blackbirds, which are always cool to see. Dave said they were the bison of Wildwood Park. (I kept being excited by bison when we were in Wyoming, but Dave got sick of them. That reminds me, I haven't blogged about Wyoming.)

One section had a ton of painted turtles and many camouflaged frogs. OH, and we also saw a yellow warbler, possibly a flycatcher, and a green heron in a nest. A nice birdwatcher pointed out the nesting heron to me. Very cool. All in all, I'd recommend the place.

March 16, 2018

Doctor Who: The Curse of Peladon

The Doctor and Jo take the TARDIS on a test run and end up on the planet Peladon. King Peladon (yes, the same name, not confusing at all) is petitioning the Galactic Federation for membership and the delegates are arriving. Also, someone is murdered and the high priest, Hepesh, is clearly evil, but the naive young king trusts him. The Doctor and Jo are mistaken for the Earth delegates, and he names her Princess Josephine of TARDIS.

Arcturus (head on a box), King Peladon, Jo, the Doctor, Alpha Centauri, and Hepesh

Oh, look, some Ice Warriors are here, too.

not so bad, really

They'll be convenient scapegoats for the clearly evil guy who doesn't want Peladon in the Galactic Federation. He has already been warning about the Beast of Peladon, Aggedor, coming to kill people. Yeah, that's enough of this. To be honest, I thought I remembered this story being better. I struggled to pay attention. I did like how the Ice Warrior had the Doctor's back. I hope The Sea Devils is fun like I remember.


Doctor: Third
Companions: Jo Grant
Episode: #61, "The Curse of Peladon," four parts
Adversary: Hepesh and Arcturus
Classic Lines: Jo, to the king: "I just don't understand you. I really don't. One minute you're condemning the Doctor to death, and the next minute you're proposing to me!"
Tuck This Away to Impress Your Friends: King Peladon is played by David Troughton, the son of Patrick Troughton, the 2nd Doctor.
Next Up: "The Sea Devils"

March 8, 2018

Philadelphia Flower Show 2018: The Wonders of Water

My mom and I made our annual trip to the Philadelphia Flower Show last weekend.

This year's theme was The Wonders of Water. There were a lot of waterfalls and lush greenery. I also saw quite a few fake birds.

It was a nice show and I had fun, but it wasn't one of my favorites. This shot from underneath the watershed exhibit turned out neat.

Here's what it looks like from the side.

In the competition section, there was a book. I always like those.

There was a cool book last year, too. Of course, my heart was taken by this entry.

Dogs rule.

February 28, 2018

Danish String Quartet

Dave and I went to see the Danish String Quartet last night at the Williams Center for the Arts at Lafayette College.

They were truly fantastic. The Bartok was intense, the Danish folk tunes were fun and beautiful, and the Beethoven was brilliant. This was Dave's first classical music concert. I was worried that he wouldn't enjoy it, but he clearly loved it. Often after concerts, the Williams Center has refreshments and you can meet the artists. I generally can't talk to strangers, but we ran into Frederik Oland on the way out and told him he was great.
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