Serenity Sometimes

Embracing the chaos one day at a time. A blog about my adventures in food, photography, fitness and fun.


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A Hike Amongst Waterfalls

This past Saturday I went hiking with a group of friends in Lehigh Gorge State Park, near Jim Thorpe, PA. We followed the Glen Onoko Falls trail to the top, and along the way enjoyed the sights, including numerous waterfalls, gorgeous plant life and rock formations, all culminating in a spectacular view of the valley below.

Warning at the start of the hike.

I think the sign is a little bit of an exaggeration. I had a great time trying to climb up and over rock formations but never once felt overwhelmed or overly exerted. I would not recommend wearing flip flops and stopping to smoke every 10 minutes, which I observed with some of the other hikers that day… FLIP FLOPS! Really? We did take a lot of breaks to stop and take pictures though, so maybe if I would have done it without stopping I would have been more fatigued.

One of the smaller “waterfalls” at the start of the hike

I love hiking and being in the woods. Even on a hot day, which this was, it stays cool and shaded underneath the trees.

So up and up we climbed until we came to our first substantial waterfall.

Do you see that rope hanging down the right side of the falls? That’s because there were some people rappelling!

This makes me want to learn how to rock climb. Granted, I have a crippling fear of heights, but that’s how we conquer our fears, right? Maybe I could try it first in a controlled environment like a rock climbing gym. Let’s put that on the bucket list.

Onward and upward to the next waterfall!

“Chameleon Falls”

I found a very cool looking, and also cool temperature spot underneath an overcrop of rock that was just spritzing water down over moss covered rocks. Underneath in the shade, a nice crop of ferns grew. I just love ferns.

Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought it was a good spot.

And here we have it, the view that you didn’t even know you’ve been waiting for!

Behind this overlook, there was water running over giant stones, and a shaded spot where you could sit and dip your hands and feet (and whatever else I guess) into the crystal clear water.

The next waterfall was fun. There was a path that led behind the falls so you could stand behind and feel the mist. I so wanted to go behind and take a picture looking out but it was slippery and wet and I only have one camera… my precious… and if anything happened to her I would cry many tears. But it would have been a cool shot.

I think my favorite picture might be this one I took of a fallen log left to grow moss, and bathe in the stream until it breaks apart and drifts down the mountain some day.

A wonderful day to be active, take pictures, enjoy nature and spend time with friends.

What are some of your favorite outdoor activities?

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The Open Road

Some Amish folks on their way home from church

One evening last year on a whim, in which there may or may not have been alcohol involved, my brother-in-law purchased a Groupon for his wife, my husband and myself to go on a scooter tour of Lancaster County covered bridges. We were originally scheduled to take the tour last fall, but it happened to be during hurricane Sandy. Needless to say it was cancelled, and this Sunday my husband, brother and sister-in-law and I finally cashed it in.

I seriously want a scooter now – How cute is this?

We had a surprisingly awesome time and the scooters were so much fun to drive. I totally want one now. I also had fun giving the signature “biker wave” to all the legit Harley people that passed us as we cruised the back country roads. I’m sure they were so jealous of how cool we looked.

Biker wave re-enactment

Biker wave re-enactment

The scenery was beautiful and it was a perfect, sunny day. We covered about 40 miles throughout the area and stopped at 3 of the only remaining covered bridges of Lancaster County.

Does this horse look pregnant or is it just me?

About half way through the tour, one of the guys in our group got a flat tire and I had to hop on the back of Brad’s scooter, since he had one of the only ones that rode two people. I was pretty bummed, but it ended up being hilarious. We had to go up this huge hill at literally 6 mph top speed. It was just like that scene from Dumb and Dumber. I think a horse and buggy passed us.

All in all it was a pretty great day. I will leave you with a few more pictures. Enjoy!


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Ridin’ Dirty

Nice view from one of the bike trails at Blue Marsh

Yesterday after work I came home with plans to go for a quick 45 minute run on my treadmill in the air conditioned comfort of my house. We are finally starting to get up in to what I consider to be summer temperatures – 90 degrees, humidity, etc. I am admittedly a total wuss when it comes to exercising in hot temperatures. I just hate it. I’m pretty sure my body doesn’t cool itself properly (i.e. sweat enough). Also, I should mention that nothing that my husband does is moderate. If we go for a run, he is running 2 miles ahead of me at 8 mph while I huff and puff trying and failing to keep up with him. Therefore, a bike ride is not just a lazy roll through the neighborhood, but a mountain trek through dense underbrush, over roots and rocks, up treacherous hills and down dangerously sloping trails. But, I’m always up for a challenge. And for the record, just because I’m up for it doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to whine incessantly about it while it’s happening. So there.

Bike Ride

So off we went into the wilderness. It was a great workout and I do love the feeling of riding through the forest, underneath the tall trees. Even though I had to stop and walk my bike up at least a dozen hills, Brad still tells me I did a great job. I didn’t fall once, although I would probably ride off the edge of a cliff with a death grip on my bike rather than falling off it, I am that scared to fall. I have some bruises and scrapes on my legs and I found a tick on me after our ride (EEK!) but other than that I am still in one piece.

Note to self: next time bring bug spray and cover myself in bubble wrap.


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Camera Candy

As a novice photographer, I am always looking for beautiful things to photograph that stay still long enough for me to figure out how to capture that beauty. Often times, flowers are my go to subjects.

They are colorful.

They live outside (hello, natural light).

They don’t move, save the occasional breeze or gust of wind.

And sometimes we even have surprise guest appearances!

Practicing with flowers is a great way to experiment with the settings on your camera. I find it to be a low stress way of shooting in Manual Mode.

Stress, you ask? Yeah that’s right – I can totally stress myself out trying to capture an action shot or a fleeting moment if I have to think what shutter speed will best capture a particular motion in a particular light, and oh my god what about ISO, and shit I forgot to change my white balance to cloudy, and before long I’m curled up in fetal position rocking back and forth and drooling.

So yeah, flowers relax me.