Sunday, April 16, 2017

>> Hawk Mountain Sunrise Hike 2017

 Every year for the past four (five?) Easter Sundays, we have climbed up to the North Lookout at Hawk Mountain and watched the sunrise over the hills. I know this tradition may not last forever, but right now I'm grateful to start off this day with a beautiful view, good friends, and doughnuts. 

 The sun peaking up into the valley.

 ^^ A rare photo of the three of us together that's not a selfie.
I'm thankful for traditions that give me a reason to get some fresh air, glorious views from a mountain, and the company of wonderful friends.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

>> Neversink Mountain

Neversink Mountain is a series of trails on the ridge between the city of Reading and the Schuylkill river in Berks County, SE PA. Despite the fact that the trails can be accessed from the city, we've never ran into more than a handful of people on a hike, if anyone. The trails intersect so that you can do a short, easier 1-mile hike, connect trails for a hike that's over 9 miles, or do something in between. Points of interest include the iconic "Witch's Hat" that can be seen from some parts of Reading. This old structure was built over a hundred years ago in 1892, when the mountain was used as a haven for Tuberculosis patients. Ruins of the old buildings can still be found on the west side of the mountain for those willing to explore some less-than-beaten paths. For more information, visit the Berks Nature website for maps & trail information! 

Friday, April 7, 2017

>> Maine 2016

In the summer of 2016 I had the joy of traveling to one of my favorite places in the world - Maine. We spent four nights camping under the stars in Acadia, hiking & kayaking during the day and watching the stars at night. We then spent a few days on Vinalhaven, an island off the coast of Rockland, accessible only by boat/ferry. We stayed in a friend's family home by the water and had a blast. 

Making friends with the seals!


Friday, May 6, 2016

>> The Adventure That Begins The Best Adventure..

For weeks leading up to my birthday, Mike bragged about the birthday gift he got for me. Historically, Mike has given me a few.. odd gifts (this includes stuffed frogs of various sizes), so I was pretty excited to see what he thought was so good. He showed up on my birthday with a gift bag containing another stuffed frog (I don't really like stuffed frogs) and a coloring book. Uhm.. awesome! This is great! Thanks honey!
I skimmed through the book, hoping to find some sort of clue while simultaneously wondering if this was a weird gag gift. I looked through the coloring book.. nothing. He told me to look through it again (because I'm apparently blind) and behold! Tickets! To what? A hot air balloon ride at sunrise the following morning...
 ..and so our adventure began on the chilly 32 degree morning of March 26, at 6:30 in the morning. 

 We took off close to home at the local Pottstown Airport. 

 We floated over Pottstown as I pointed out my old stomping grounds (my community college is the large building at the bottom of the photo above) and we watched the world wake up.

 The Schuylkill river and route 422. 

 The sun slowly came out from behinds clouds for a lovely sunrise.

 4,000+ feet in the air

 Pennsylvania is beautiful from above.
 I enjoyed seeing place we love from high above. In the photo above is Hopewell Furnace & Lake, part of French Creek State Park. We love kayaking and hiking around this lake!

 The moon joined us too.

The Limerick generating station.. aka the cloud maker. :) 
 I loved watching the rolling hills & farmland, Pennsylvania is so beautiful.

 Slowly but surely we started floating down..

 We came closer and closer to the woods and startled a herd of deer.. they had no idea where to go!

 We floated down into this valley, using the trees to slow down our balloon (kind of awesome but a bit scary too). We ended up landing on an old beautiful estate.

 I'm probably biased, but I thought our balloon was the prettiest. ;)

 After we landed, I hoped out to take photos and Mike soon came to join me after they got the balloon settled.

 He asked another couple to take our picture with the balloon, after all, the background and balloon were gorgeous! It was perfect! A crisp dewy morning, a colorful balloon and empty fields. It was lovely. And then..
 .. this happened. He pulled a black box out of his pocket and got down on one knee. He asked me to marry him. I said yes. 
 ..and then I kissed him because I didn't care who was watching and because he was my fiancĂ© now. 

 So that's the story of how I came to acquire this lovely ring on my finger. I'm pretty smitten with it. Bonus - I really really like the man who gave it to me too.. but that's a whole different story. ;) We then went happily home to tell our family & friends the news and we've been enjoying dreaming up wedding plans (even though we still don't have a date) ever since. We are looking forward to a life-time of adventures in marriage! 

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