hiking, biking and rafting – oh my!

I am typing today from my son’s apartment.  He is working and his fiance is at a bridal shower for her cousin.  Hubby is at a friends house, working on making the drawers for our hall closet, the one we use for a pantry.  So, it’s just me and Binx, Billy and Renee’s kitty.  I must tell you it is a bit strange, being in my son’s place.  Doing laundry, no less!  How’s that for a switch?  Anyway, I am saving our Lancaster stuff for the next post, this one will be about finishing up our time in Pittsburgh!  But, before I go, just a pic of Binx – he is a cutie!

image

While in Pittsburgh, we spent some time at Dereks place.  He has a very nice condo and lives with his kitty, Beat.  As in music.  A bit of an odd name for a kitty, but original, and I like it.  Beat is very shy around strangers, and does not like to be touched by people she doesn’t know.

Beat and Derek

Beat and Derek

Beat all by herself, I was surprised she let me get this close for the pic

Beat all by herself, I was surprised she let me get this close for the pic

full moon, from Dereks balcony

full moon, from Dereks balcony

Bill really likes to hike.  I like the idea of hiking, being out in nature, getting exercise, but to me, it becomes boring after awhile.  Just walking around in trees.  I don’t mind it as much if there is some type of reward for the hike, like some awesome views or something.  So, it is a bit of a challenge for Bill to find somewhere nearby that I wouldn’t mind hiking.  He found a park not far from the CG called Harrison Hills, in Natrona Heights, the next town over from where we were.  We took the Scout Trail, which circled the park and was a total of about 5 miles.  There was a fair amount of mud on the hike, as I have mentioned before, there was a LOT of rain!  But, there was a view at the top, so it was all good!

map pf the park

map pf the park, the trail we took is the one marked in red

small creek running through

small creek running through

this bridge was an Eagle Scout project - very nice!

this bridge was an Eagle Scout project – very nice!

this guy actually rode all the way up this hill! Bill used an app on his phone, it was about a 55 degree angle UP!

this guy actually rode all the way up this hill! Bill used an app on his phone, it was about a 55 degree angle UP!

the reward - a view of the Allegheny River and town of Natrona Heights

the reward – a view of the Allegheny River and town of Natrona Heights

the park also had a really nice playground for kids - mine would have loved it in their younger days!

the park also had a really nice playground for kids – mine would have loved it in their younger days!

We had enjoyed our bike ride so much last time, we decided to do it again!  This time the weather wasn’t as cooperative, unfortunately!  It was fine initially, but we ended up having to hang out under an awning of a doctors office building, waiting for the heaviest part of the rain to stop before heading back to the car.

view of the river

view of the river

slag pot

slag pot

in case you don' t know what a slag pot is - I didn't

in case you don’ t know what a slag pot is – I didn’t

some sights along the way

Bill almost wanted to stop at the Beer Garden – part of the Hofbrauhaus in South Side, Pittsburgh

The Stacks, part of US Steels Homestead Works, it pays homage to the former steel mill

The Stacks, part of US Steels Homestead Works, it pays homage to the former steel mill

marina

marina

I had mentioned last time that Billy and Renee were coming up to Pittsburgh for 4th of July weekend.  I had wanted something fun for all of us to do together.  I made a few suggestions and learned that Renee had never been whitewater rafting and it was a bucket list item for her!  So, I checked into a few different outfitters and decided on Whitewater Adventures, which is in Ohiopyle, PA.  Actually they all are there, but this one had the best reviews.  Some of the outfitters gave a choice if you wanted a “guide escorted” trip, which meant the guides were in kayaks, not in your boat with you, or you could pay (a lot) extra for a guide in your boat.  Whitewater Adventures also offered both these options, but they also had a policy that if the water levels were high (over 4′) then for no additional charge, there was a guide in every boat.  I liked the sound of that since the water levels were VERY high – more than 3X normal!  I booked it and hoped for a nice warm sunny day.  This was especially important since the water temp was 58 degrees!  That’s cold!  Of course, we had the option of renting wet-suits, but who really WANTS to wear that?  Not me!

checking in

checking in

Michelle still gets uncooperative about getting her pic taken sometimes

Michelle still gets uncooperative about getting her pic taken sometimes

It was still fairly cloudy when we arrived and got into our gear, lifevests and helmets.

here we are, waiting our turn to go down to the put-in area!

here we are, waiting our turn to go down to the put-in area!

Renee - our newbie!

Renee – our newbie!  She was not happy with how tight the life vests needed to be, but after it was explained that’s how they get you out of the water, should you go in, she agreed it was better snug.

finally out on the water!

finally out on the water!  And – the sun was finally coming out also!  Great timing!

Derek - he has ONLY rafting his section of this river, it was the first time for the rest of us

Derek – he has ONLY rafted this section of this river, it was the first time for the rest of us

Billy - ready to get wet!

Billy -all wet!

Michelle opted to wear contacts, which was a great idea, Billy and my glasses ended up foggy and very wet at times - making it hard to see!

Michelle opted to wear contacts, which was a great idea, Billy and my glasses ended up foggy and very wet at times – making it hard to see!

ME!

ME!

We had a really great trip on the Youghiogheny River!  Our guide, Liz, was very good – kept us safe and no one went in the water!  Derek almost did at one point, but he has both his feet locked in and was able to pull himself back up with only a shoulder kissing the river.

The featured pic today was one taken by Whitewater Adventures from the side of the river as we went down.  Here are a few more:

image

image

image

After we got back and changed into our dry clothes, we drove down into Ohiopyle.  We were all very hungry!  Derek suggested a BBQ place he had eaten at many times, so we headed there!  It was VERY good!  We also walked around a bit, and then had some ice cream!  Ohiopyle is a very cute little town, reminded me of the towns we spent time in when we were in NC.

Welcome!

Welcome!

Smokehouse BBQ

Smokehouse BBQ

General Store

General Store – too many ice cream flavors to choose from!  Wait – did I say too many ice cream flavors?  What?!

main store for Whitewater Adventures - had to at least check out the t-shirts!

main store for Whitewater Adventures – had to at least check out the t-shirts!

We walked down to look at the river - the put in was on the left

We walked down to look at the river. The put-in is just around the bend on the left

my black and white for this post:

looking up-river - wouldn't want to go down THAT!

looking up-river – wouldn’t want to go down THAT!

Sunday, the kids all came up to the CG and Bill and I made our famous baby back ribs!  They were much thicker than the ones we usually get – so we cooked them a lot longer – about 6 hours at 225 degrees!  Then Bill finished them on the grill – YUMMY!

Derek and Renee at the far end of the table - do you see what's up front? RIBS!

Derek and Renee at the far end of the table – do you see what’s up front? RIBS!

Michelle and Raskal

Michelle and Raskal

perfect smore!

perfect smore!

great pic of all of us, thanks to our neighbor!

great pic of all of us, thanks to our neighbor!

Since Michelle had to work the next day, Billy and Renee stayed overnight with us and left out the next morning.

Our boy and his dog - like old times

Our boy and his dog – like old times

So that wraps up our time in Pittsburgh.  We left that Wednesday and headed east, it took us about 5 hours to get to Lancaster, where we got all set up at Circle M, a Thousand Trails CG.  I’ll tell you all about it next time!

4 thoughts on “hiking, biking and rafting – oh my!

  1. Thank you for sharing all the happy times, the adventurous times, and the “real nature” you get to enjoy. You, Bill and your family look great. What a blessing this FT RVing is for you and Bill. Memories to last a life time, and all the cyber help to record it all, that so many before us never had during their adventures.
    Morris and I so enjoy following your journey with you. Looking forward to seeing you again one day at some CG here in the northeast. Hugs to you, Bill and the furry children too.

    1. So nice to hear from you, Elizabeth-Anne! We are having some really great times – especially now with the kids! We are in Lancaster now and will down the Jersey shore for a good chunk of August – then down in DE to see my sister after Labor Day – no exact dates yet. I can let you know. Hugs to you and Morris and Omega!

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