Pennsylvania and Family

First, I must apologize for the crazy delay on sharing our adventures. I (Katie) have been consumed by a project I am very excited about and will share with the world soon. Just know it is awesome, but time consuming. Anywho, here is what you came for…

We made it to the East Coast (finally) and with this feat we also made it to family. Katie’s sister and her partner, Josh, live near Allentown, Pennsylvania. This area is stunning and full of amazing outdoor adventures. We spent a glorious three weeks here and went on way too many adventures to share in one post, but we are so far behind we are sharing them all anyway! You ready?

Our first night in Pennsylvania was spent at a travel plaza parked amongst big rigs, with open windows, in 85+ degree heat. It wasn’t too terrible, the travel plaza had a chicken restaurant, which made Doug happy at dinner, and a Starbucks, which made everyone happy the next morning.

We arrived in Quakertown the following day and Katie’s sister, Heather, showed up right as we did. She couldn’t wait to see us, especially the kiddos. We spent three weeks at Quakerwoods Campground, where we had full hookups. The campground was quiet, but we actually didn’t spend much time there because we were out doing fun things or over at Heather’s house.

The first week

A birthday party!

Our youngest turned 3 in early July, but that didn’t stop his Aunt Heather from throwing him a little birthday celebration when we arrived in mid August! He had a blast and the balloons brought joy to the kiddos for the entire three weeks we were there!

Illick’s Mill Park

The following day while everyone else was busy working, Katie and the kids checked out a park in Bethlehem. There was a beautiful nature trail near a creek that we enjoyed. Plus, the park has delightful old rock walls, a dam, and some creek spots to wade into. It was a lovely place to visit for sure!

Neighborhood park

We also ventured to the park close to Heather’s house and found a tiny creek to explore. The kids floated their new boats, stacked rocks, and hunted for crawdads. Having Aunt Heather around to explore with and show their nature finds to really made them happy.

Colonial Industrial Quarter – Bethlehem

Heather and Josh, took us to explore Bethlehem’s old Colonial Industrial area. There was yet another creek, which the kiddos enjoyed, and lots of neat old buildings to look at. It was a neat place, but Katie probably enjoyed this stop (because of the history) a bit more than the kiddos.

The Poconos!

That’s right! We took a day trip up to the Poconos with Heather and Josh and hiked to three beautiful waterfalls! Our first stop was Luke’s Falls in Lehigh Gorge State Park. This hike was short and super easy. The waterfall was tiny and behind a bridge, but there was a neat rock structure next to it that we all enjoyed checking out.

Along the same trail was our second waterfall of the day, Buttermilk Falls. This was by far a superior waterfall and the number of people enjoying it was also much larger. But we got to experience the waterfall up close, explore the creek at the bottom, and enjoy our snacks while taking in its lovely view.

After the first hike we wanted lunch, so we found a random restaurant, ordered food to go, and ate picnic style in front of another nearby business with grass in front of it. It was weird, but Covid makes us enjoy things in new and strange ways.

The final waterfall of the day was Hawk Falls in Hickory Run State Park. This hike was a bit more difficult, but still easy. It was, however, a far more popular place to visit on a Saturday afternoon than the other two. This was easily the most popular trail we’ve hiked in a long while. We could not get close to the falls because of the crowds, but Katie and the five-year-old did sneak over and snap a photo together. We also found a nearby creek spot to let the kids play for a while before heading back to the car.

The second week

Doug took a week off of work so we could explore and visit with Heather and Josh a ton. So here is how that time was spent. Well, mostly. We are not sharing all of our culinary and beer adventures, but suffice it to say we all gained weight the three weeks we were in Pennsylvania.

South Mountain Preserve

We took a short hike along this trail Katie found on AllTrails. It was pretty and there were a lot of butterflies to see. We also used this trail to stop and nature journal. We found a perfect spot next to a hidden gnome.

RIP Slimer the Snail

We have no idea what happened, but somehow the five-year-old’s pet snail, Slimer, got his shell cracked and ended up dying. It was a hard couple of days, but we now have “pet worms” and a traveling worm compost.

Ringing Rocks County Park

This was one of the most memorable places we visited. At first, it didn’t seem like it was going to be that great. You walk the trail and all of the sudden you see the huge field of giant boulders and there are people everywhere with hammers banging on them. But it sounds delightful because so many of the rocks make chime sounds in differing pitches. But this was not our favorite part. This same park has an amazing waterfall that you can walk into and explore around, and a small pool of water to swim in too.

Pool Day

Heather’s friend and neighbor invited us to her parent’s home for some swimming fun! It was a blast, once we adjusted to the cool water temperatures.

Lost River Caverns

We also went to the local caverns and they were really cool. But, you know, because caverns are dark and such we did not take many pictures.

Nockamixon State Park

Heather and Katie took the kids on a trip to a local state park and hit up the beautiful waterfall. Josh and Doug stayed home and played video games and enjoyed a beer or three. The hikers enjoyed the short walk to the falls and found a lot of neat things along the way. The gamers also enjoyed themselves, though there are no pictures to prove it.

The third week

We had initially planned to travel to another part of Pennsylvania to see a bit more of the state while we were in the area, but instead decided to spend another week hanging out with Heather and Josh. We made the right choice.

Hemlock Point Trail – Green Lane Reservoir

Katie took the kiddos on an adventure along Hemlock Point Trail. The five-year-old swears he saw a blue heron, though no one else can confirm that, and there were a ton of butterflies. We also stumbled upon a stick play shelter, which the kids enjoyed exploring while we had our snack. We spent time here doing our nature journaling as well, which worked out better than anticipated.

Manderfield Woodland Preserve

On a whim Katie looked up another local trail and schlepped the children along with her to explore. It was gorgeous, but consistently uphill, so it tuckered the kids out quickly. At some point the five-year-old got angry and threw his glasses and the lens popped out and disappeared. There must have been a portal in the area that the lens flew into, because Katie and both kids looked for it for a solid 15 minutes (on a relatively clean black concrete path) and never found it. The good news for you (the reader) is you do not need to wait two and half weeks to know that he worked off the cost of his new glasses and got them in the mail at some point while we were in New York. And he treats the new glasses with a new found respect, which is an added bonus for us.

Trexler Nature Preserve

Heather and Katie took the kids on another adventure to another nature preserve. We found some cool covered bridges, a cold creek that was fun to explore, and that is about it. We had a great time though. The area was beautiful and we wished we’d had more time to explore it more thoroughly. Next time!

Our 9th Wedding Anniversary

The end of our time in Pennsylvania was essentially when we celebrated our 9th wedding anniversary and snapped the annual photo. Next year we celebrate 10 years married and 13 years together. So crazy how time flies!

Okay, so there was one more thing in Pennsylvania. Katie, Heather, and Josh took the kids on an adventure, but that didn’t go well at all. It was an utter disaster, but hey, the majority of the three weeks was amazing and full of successful adventures!

Oh, here are some random shots from the three weeks! Can’t forget these.

Stay tuned, I (Katie) promise to get our adventures in New York out very soon! I am writing for Run Wild My Child and Hike it Baby, while also working on my special project and raising our tiny humans through adventures across the country. I also am trying to read all the things. There just isn’t enough time y’all. Apparently sleep is important.

On the road: 13 months
Miles towing our home: 9,527
Campgrounds visited: 60
Breweries visited: 35
National Parks visited: 15/62
National Monuments/Seashores/Historic Sites/etc.: 5
State Parks visited: 11

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