The Hike That Wasn’t

Compared to my usual, I have not had much time for exploring the great outdoors of my new home state. So when both Brian & I had a Sunday free we took advantage of the nice weather and headed out for a hike.

Having had good beginners luck with different hiking books in various states, I had picked up 60 Hikes Within 60 Miles: Albuquerque not long after we rolled into town. The hikes have never really been described well in the book & I have been grateful that the hikes I’ve done in it so far have been urban enough that I didn’t mind getting a little lost. However, Brian & I drove about 45 minutes out of the city for this hike and it wasn’t until we had had enough that we finally found the actual ‘trail’ we were supposed to be on. Overall, we still accomplished 3 miles of… – let’s call it a walkabout – and Kratos got to stretch his legs.DSC_8537
Needless to say, I’m taking a bike ride to Barnes & Noble’s at some point today to check out other local guide books. If you’re from the Land of Enchantment & have any guide books or trails you recommend, please share them!Smile

Ray in PA

Ray in PA - 3Ray in PA - 7I’ve not even moved to my final destination in the southwest yet & I’ve got friends from Alaska already making a point to visit. Having the full luxury of retirement at his disposal, and needing to spend some time in PA anyways, I convinced Ray to meet me at my parents house in southwestern Pennsylvania.

We immediately hit the road for photo opps at some of my favorite local places.Ray in PA - 9Ray in PA - 8

It also just happened to be Ray’s birthday, so my mom whipped up a birthday cake for the occasion & a special dinner (that may or may not have coincidentally been my favorite meal).
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After dinner, and with daylight quickly fading, we hurriedly picked up my brother and headed off to Mt. Davis – the tallest point in Pennsylvania. We arrived in the parking lot to find a man with the hood of his car popped scratching his head. My brother, knowing a bit about cars himself, stopped to help the guy out while Ray & I wandered off to snag a few quick photos and pick up a couple nearby geocaches. When we returned to the parking lot my brother was loading stuff from the stranded car into his. Turns out, it was going to need a tow back to New Jersey so my brother was kind enough to open his home up to a total stranger and his traveling companion: a full grown mastiff. (We grew up in a very small town in a more remote part of the state – getting a hotel for the guy wasn’t an option and getting him to one would mean driving a few hours round trip for us). This brought back strong memories to a time when I was stranded in the middle of nowhere Canada and a strangers kindness saved me from disaster. Or at least further disaster. So I wanted to take a paragraph and humble brag about my brother & him proving that there are still good people out there in the world. Also, what are the odds that there would be two serial killers in one car?Ray in PA - 14Ray in PA - 15
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Before Ray left on Sunday afternoon we biked a 15+ mile section of the Allegheny Passage in order to eat some ice cream cones and not feel quite as bad about it. Worth it. Thanks for stopping by Raymonzelle!  I look forward to adventuring with you again in the south west!
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National Zoo: Take Two!

I had the chance to head back to DC for a weekend with Brian, which also coincided with another trip to the National Zoo to spend some time with the pandas and other creatures there, which didn’t disappoint this time either. Hopefully I’ll be able to carve out some time for one or two more trips down here while I’m on the east coast.

Even the drive down doesn’t disappoint. I don’t know that I’ll ever tire of a good road trip.

Brian is a huge fan of scary movies (while I have cried during a sitting of the Blair Witch Project: 2) so we made a point to seek out the stairs from the classic scary picture The Exorcist.

Ferncliff Trail

Ferncliff Trail presides in Ohiopyle State Park near where I grew up in southwestern PA. My dad shocked me one morning by letting me in on the secret that he had never hiked the short two-mile loop so we set off for a quick morning hike along it’s dirt path. Kratos and I got to stretch our legs before another long car ride and Dad got to put another check mark on his bucket list.Ferncliff Trail - 11Ferncliff Trail - 10Ferncliff Trail - 9Ferncliff Trail - 5Ferncliff Trail - 7

Opening Day

My brother invited me to Opening Day for my nephews baseball season as it was a double header. I was already in PA visiting friends so it was a short trip in to Maryland for their first double header of the season. Although it was snowing, they pulled off wins for both games! Keep up the good work guys!
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Sashimi, Soy Sauce, & Tigers… Oh My!

Needing an excuse to go to Pittsburgh I called a friend up and asked her to try out a new (to me) sushi restaurant in the ‘Burgh. I’ve been dying to finally try out the sushi burritos I’ve been seeing trending all over social media. Sushi Fuku in Oakland was every bit as delicious as I had dreamed and after eating my body weight in salmon, avocado, and soy sauce I hugged my friend goodbye and headed to the Pittsburgh Zoo with camera in hand. My FitBit and I agreed that a few hours trekking around the zoo before sitting in the car for the three hour drive back to Columbus was much needed. Pittsburgh Zoo Walkthrough - 1Pittsburgh Zoo Walkthrough - 10Pittsburgh Zoo Walkthrough - 11Pittsburgh Zoo Walkthrough - 12Pittsburgh Zoo Walkthrough - 13Pittsburgh Zoo Walkthrough - 14Pittsburgh Zoo Walkthrough - 15Pittsburgh Zoo Walkthrough - 16Pittsburgh Zoo Walkthrough - 17Pittsburgh Zoo Walkthrough - 18Pittsburgh Zoo Walkthrough - 19Pittsburgh Zoo Walkthrough - 2Pittsburgh Zoo Walkthrough - 20Pittsburgh Zoo Walkthrough - 21Pittsburgh Zoo Walkthrough - 3Pittsburgh Zoo Walkthrough - 9Pittsburgh Zoo Walkthrough - 6Pittsburgh Zoo Walkthrough - 20Pittsburgh Zoo Walkthrough - 19Pittsburgh Zoo Walkthrough - 5Pittsburgh Zoo Walkthrough - 5 B&WPittsburgh Zoo Walkthrough - 18Pittsburgh Zoo Walkthrough - 17Pittsburgh Zoo Walkthrough - 4


I had just enough time to do some laundry when I returned to Ohio before we packed the Jeep back up and headed south. This time both my Seester & Karley were also packed into the Jeep with me as well.

Florida - 1Florida - 4Florida - 5Processed with VSCO with g3 presetMy niece has never seen the ocean before, so our first stop was straight to the beach to get our toes in the sand and spent as much time there as the weather would allow on our short trip.
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During the frequent periods of rain we headed off to see the rest of the sights of the area including the Blue Angels, Fort Pensacola, & more!
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Technically we’re spending the next few months doing our own thing, but unlike deployments of past we actually get to talk (& Facetime) on a daily basis and on visit in person every once in a while. This weekend both Brian & I had free so we met up in Washington DC for a weekend of sight seeing with my cousins who live nearby.

Brian wasn’t free from work until later so I dropped Kratos off with my dad & headed out to suburbia Virginia where I spent the better part of the weekend catching up with my cousin & her family (including new husband Craig and baby Talia, who I hadn’t had the pleasure of meeting yet since their arrival into our family – the kinds of things you miss when you live in Alaska). When he was able to meet up I skipped off to hang out with my main man, even stealing a few hours of alone time with him for a dinner and movie date.DC - 7DC - 9DC - 11DC - 12DC - 14DC - 17

Winter Cardinals

When I was a kid my dad built a small bird garden just outside the big picture windows of our living room. On any given day he could sit at those windows for hours watching the birds flit about. It wasn’t until much more recently that I began to appreciate the garden for everything it brought within a few feet of those windows.

My brother & his family now live in the house we grew up in (his kids are the 6th generation in our family to grow up on that land). On my most recent visit back to my childhood home I too took some time to appreciate the beauty of the birds who were hanging around around that day.
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Eastbound & Down

Our little family loaded up into two seperate cars we set our sights on the east coast. We took our time traveling across the country and did the trip in three days, taking time so show Brian some sights like Crazy Horse, Mount Rushmore, the Arch, & the Corn Palace. Traveling East - 1Traveling East - 2Traveling East - 4Traveling East - 7Traveling East - 9

Only a week after arriving here it was time for Brian & I to say goodbye to each other while we each complete this next leg of our journey apart from one another. See you soon babe.East Coast - 1East Coast - 2East Coast - 3East Coast - 10East Coast - 11East Coast - 13East Coast - 16East Coast - 19East Coast - 20East Coast - 21East Coast - 22East Coast - 23East Coast - 26Processed with VSCO with m5 presetProcessed with VSCO with f2 presetEast Coast - 29