Long Weekend in Lykens Valley, PA

Sometimes you just need to get away. Escape to the mountains where the air is fresher and the days move slower. Where there is no wifi (true story) and where pies are abundant (thanks Grandma!).

After a long season of training and racing I took some time off to head over to Pennsylvania for a long weekend with my Grandparents, Nanny and Poppy. They live in an adorable pink house right next to a creek, nestled in a mountain valley. The drive is about 11 hours, but thankfully my Dad came with and did all the driving. Now, this may seem like I am the worst daughter ever, not helping out, but really he would rather have it this way, he cannot relax if anyone else is driving.

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We left Thursday morning and arrived just in time for dinner, which was chicken tortilla soup followed by a slice of homemade apple pie! This definitely hit the spot after a long day of traveling. The rest of the evening was spent catching up and watching the game.

One of my favorite parts about getting to see my Grandparents is just being able to hang out with them, talk, relax, and joke around. My Grandma, who we all call Nanny, is the nicest, hardest working, and most beautiful women I have ever met. I have always looked up to and admired her since I was little. She owns and runs her own flower shop single-handedly (with the help of my Grandpa who delivers the arrangements) out of her home. She has only recently semi-retired at the age of 84! She also makes the best pies, cakes, you name it and there is always an abundance at any family gathering. Most, if not all of our family’s recipes come from her.

An interesting fact, she still lives in the house she was born in. So this is the house my Dad was raised in, it has survived a lot, including a nasty flood when my Dad was younger. But it always looks fabulous! Nanny is an outstanding painter as well and she has her walls in her house to prove it. Yes, she has painted murals on her walls and they are all beautiful. On top of all this she is a blast to be around, we even did yoga on the beach together last summer!

Enough of me raving about how cool my Grandma is. Let’s get back to what a great weekend we had. Besides just hanging out with family and indulging on some sweet treats I was able to dive into my book and finish Gone Girl. Ah! So good, I love Gillian Flynn and her twisted mind. Of course, I now want to see the movie! I highly recommend this novel as well has Dark Places, another one of her books. Her writing style has a way of always keeping the reader on the edge of their seat.

Even though I was still recovering from the Chicago Marathon I had to take advantage of the weather and scenery while I had the chance. This meant I stayed active everyday.

Mid-morning on Friday my Dad and I took our bikes out for a spin. We rode a little over 30 miles from Lykens to Millersburg and back. The scenery was beautiful, with the mountains and fall foliage, and even though we took it at a pretty easy pace there were hills that killed my legs. This mid-west girl is not used to that!

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Once we were in Millersburg we stopped and sat next to the Susquehanna River for a little snack break. This ride was so enjoyable, as I learned more about my Dad and his childhood, like how he used to go to Millersburg and pick up the ladies!

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On Saturday my cousin Terry and I went on a hike in the mountains. Once we walked up the road to where the trails start we noticed that the trail we were going to follow along the creek was all grown over. However, we trudged along anyways, ducking under trees and finding our own way. It is still hunting season so we had to watch out for hunters. On top of hunters we had to watch out for bears, mountain lions, and coyotes! Fortunately, we didn’t run into any of these. Although I did want to see a bear. :) We did bump into two creepy guys talking about coyote tracks and one was carrying a big gun. Typical PA for you! Haha

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It was literally a breath of fresh air to get out and roam in the woods. I miss this and wish I lived closer to mountains. It was also fun catching up with my cousin. He is 28 and we don’t get to see each other too often since he also lives in PA.

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We hiked 5.5 miles and it took us around 2 hours and 45 minutes. Not too shabby. The rest of the day I took it easy and watched football, including the MSU game.

On our last day there my Dad, Terry, and I hiked up to Love Rock. It is a short hike up to the top, but the view is something special. I hadn’t been up there since I was little so I was really excited to make the trip and sit in the chairs made by the Native Americans! (really) We sat up there in silence for a while. The sun was shining and it was so peaceful. I just watched a bird float above the trees. Watching that bird got me thinking about how grateful I am to be alive and to have the freedom to pursue whatever dreams I want. We cannot take this life for granted.

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It was so sad leaving early Monday morning. The trip was filled with good times catching up with family, breathtaking views, relaxation, indulgent sweet treats, and lots of father-daughter bonding! I didn’t want to leave and I am already looking forward to when I get to go back (hopefully soon!).

 

 

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