A long, beautiful weekend

I don’t usually do “weekend wrap-up” style posts, but I ended up snapping lots of good photos this weekend and upon looking back through them, I realized it was a really good weekend.

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Saturday started off with a long run (about 30ish miles) on the Appalachian Trail with my training partner and dear friend, Anne. Our friend lives very close to the trail, so she dropped us off at Caledonia State Park and we ran back to her house. The weather was absolutely gorgeous. We couldn’t have asked for better. There were blue, blue skies and the temperature was perfect. The greens of the trees and ferns were vibrant. And the pink of the wild azaleas that Anne had so hoped to find were popping out like they had been photo-shopped into nature.

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We needed water about 10 miles in, so we stopped at this beautiful creek and refilled our hydration packs. There is nothing like fresh, cool water to get you back on the trail as if it was the first mile!

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We had done this section of trail a few times before. Every time I get to a particular spot, I pause. When my husband and I were adopting our son, we got a particularly bad phone call. Stupid me answered the phone on the trail. (Lesson learned: keep your phone on airplane mode if you want a peaceful run.) When I received that bad news back in 2011, I sat down on the rock on the left and cried. Hard. Anne sat with me while I sobbed. Thankfully things are different now.

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We soon hit the midpoint marker on the AT, which we hadn’t seen before. We typically take an awesome side trail and skip a few miles of the AT, but we were heading north this time, rather than our normal south, and weren’t confident we’d follow the side trail correctly.

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The run left me hungry . . . very, very hungry. S and I did something we almost never do. We went out to dinner. There is a great restaurant near us with a patio, and we already had a sitter, so we went there. I visited the ladies room shortly after we arrived and upon my return to the table, S told me that my dad just walked in! I found him sitting alone at the bar and invited him to join us. We had a really nice meal and a nice chat with Dad. Right as we were leaving a storm cloud moved in. Within a few minutes, I saw a rainbow – a very unusual sight around here.

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I woke up early on Sunday and got in a 5 mile run with Anne, her husband, and my friend Ethan. Ethan is very new to running, and I really enjoy getting to introduce him to the trails. He had done his first 5K the day before, and we had done a long run, so the 3 of us were moving pretty slowly. It was fine; it was a beautiful morning and we were all happy to be outside.

After the run, my little family headed out to a church camp in a neighboring town where my extended family got together for a reunion of sorts. A lot of my cousins were unable to make it, but we still had a great time. There was tons of food. I made a lentil-quinoa-arugula salad to share with the crowd.

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My 91 year old Gram continued to amaze us all. She is going so strong, and she loves life. She sat for a while, observing an intense game of corn-hole (bean bag toss) going on between my uncle, my brother and two cousins. As my husband moved to start another game of it, my Gram grabbed my cousin Rachael’s hand and said, “Alright, let’s go join S!” She held her own in a game with S, Rachael and another cousin. It was awesome.

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We ended the afternoon with s’mores, of course. Most of us did things the traditional way, but my cousin’s husband was pretty innovative. He roasted the marshmallow AND melted the chocolate at the same time. Genius, Dennis. Genius.

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After the picnic our friend Adam came over to visit. Adam lives in Florida and we don’t get to see him very often. He didn’t have a lot of time to spare, but we got to sit down to dinner outside with him. The men-folk had a pork tenderloin and I made some quinoa-veggie sushi. The rolls turned out well, but I need to tweak the filling a bit. I used mango, cucumber, carrot, spring onion and avocado. Mmmmmm……

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Monday brought with it more beautiful weather, and another long run. This time Anne, her husband, our friend Ashleigh and I hit up Swatara State Park. There is a 9ish mile loop trail we do up there, and it was so nice, we did it twice. It was quite warm by the last few miles, but we all survived.

I spent the afternoon just kind of lounging around. We were having some friends over for a cookout, so while prepping the kitchen I indulged in a Roquefort 10. Divine. I love me some Belgian beer.

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The cook-out was lovely and it was also capped off with s’mores. This time, though, my neighbor upped the ante. She saw something on Pinterest about dipping the marshmallows in Bailey’s Irish Cream. In the name of science, we decided we must test this idea to see if it had merit. She didn’t have Bailey’s, but she had an African liqueur that she and I adore called Amarula. We roasted marshmallows, dipped them in a bowl of Amarula and . . . oh. my. goodness. It was one of the best things. Ever. There are no pictures because we were waaaaaay to busy making and eating them.

All in all it was a great 3 days. We’ve had a good bit of rain since then, but that’s okay; I guess we were due after so many nice days.

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