Tag Archives: autumn

H is for Hiking Adventures


What a weekend it’s been!!!  Sandy’s coming, the Steelers are winning, and there’s a Friends marathon on television!  Can life get any better?

First thing’s first: officially survived my first Bruce Springsteen concert last night!

Consol Energy Center, Pittsburgh PA 10-27-12

Cannot believe it took me so long to finally see the man in concert, but it was worth it.  Even though we were stuck towards the back (I’m not shelling out $250 a seat, even for the Boss) this place was rocking.  It was funny, because at 26 years old I was definitely on the younger end of the age spectrum, completely the opposite from, say a Justin Bieber concert.  Most of my concert mates were well into their forties and beyond, and you could tell they have been Bruce fans FOREVER.  Maybe I’m just an old soul, or maybe it was being raised by a New Jersey mother, but he’s always been one of my favorites.  And man can he rock!  3+ hours, non stop singing, crowd surfing, and completed rocking out.  The man’s in his 60s and he was tiring me out.  I can’t believe it!  I’m still in complete awe of what I witnessed last night.  That will definitely not be my last Bruce concert.

On a sad side note, being in CEC made me realize just how much I miss hockey.  All around me there were banners flying from the rafters, and I had a clear view of the beautiful 2009 Stanley Cup Champions banner from my seat.  NHL OWNERS AND PLAYERS, PLEASE STOP YOUR FIGHTING AND BRING HOCKEY BACK!!!  I MISS MY BOYS, AND THE STEELERS WILL NEVER BE AN ACCEPTABLE SUBSTITUTE FOR HOCKEY GAMES!!!!  It was the worst part of being back in CEC in over a year.  😦

But enough about the epic concert I went to last night, from the title of this post you are not here to hear about the wonders that are Bruce Springsteen (although, if you are, I’m willing to talk about the man all you want!!)  You’re here because this afternoon I went on my latest Alphabet Adventure: H is for Hiking Adventures!

Even though Sandy is coming to destroy us and all we have built, my brother Matt and I decided to hike up to the falls anyway, because it wasn’t raining yet (and the rain managed to hold off until we were done.)  It’s great we went, because we managed to get some amazing shots of the falls.

Since the weather was so bad (when you see 30 utility trucks driving down the PA Turnpike, you know some government official is taking this weather thing seriously), we were all alone to hike up the trail by ourselves.  What’s so funny about this place is, as I previously mentioned, it’s kind of in the middle of a whole bunch of conjunction in Beaver County.  It’s right off a highway, behind an Adult Bookstore, in front of a church, under a railroad track, next to a haunted motel, beside the Pennsylvania Turnpike.  (Look at all of those prepositions!!!)  It’s a diamond in the ruff in a less than savory part of town, and maybe that’s why I love it so much.  I love finding those hidden gems of beauty that the rest of the world seemingly overlooked and abandoned.

The water level was super low today, probably because we haven’t had a lot of rain recently (oh Sandy, you’re gonna be changing all that soon!!!) so Matt and I were able to walk right up to the falls.    It’s kind of a neat experience, because when the water level is low you can walk behind the falls and see life from behind the water, deep in the heart of an old quarry cave.  I love Pennsylvania because old mines and quarry fields help to add to the rustic beauty you sometimes find in places like this.

Afterwards we climbed up the falls to the top, where you can stand in the water right on the edge of the falls and look down to the water below.  It’s such a breathtaking sight to stand at the edge of a waterfall, look down, and notfall.  (It’s also very intimidating when you think you’re about to drop your phone 40 feet into the waters below.  Talk about a major heart attack at the edge of a cliff!!)

The edge of the falls

How can you stand in a spot like that, surrounded by such beauty, and hate anything about life??  What a calming and beautiful place!!

Afterwards, we climbed up to the old railroad bridge above the falls and started walking along the tracks to the abandoned hotel on the other side of the tracks.  Yes, I’m not making this up, 3 days before Halloween and we decide to go check out a sketchy haunted hotel.  It seriously looked like a fake movie set, and I was waiting for some chainsaw slashing maniac to come tearing out of the abandoned doorway and chase us down the railroad track until we fell off the bridge, careened over the falls, and met our cold and slippery death.  But, maybe that’s because I’ve been told I have a vivid imagination.  Or something like that 🙂

For real, though, the place was sketchy beyond belief.  If Matt hadn’t sworn he had been there before without dying, I’m not sure I would have ventured over to it.  But I guess I trust my brother more than a sane person should, because I had no problem diligently following him over the tracks and exploring the haunted hotel for awhile.  I guess my curiosity got the better of me.

This weekend’s been pretty epic, but I’m so happy I was able to head to Buttermilk Falls today with my brother.

The haunted hotel…BOO!

It was a great moment to  relax, explore, and just have a fun Sunday off.  And, bonus, as we headed back to the car the rain finally showed up.  Oh Sandy, I know you’re coming, but thank you for letting us hike in peace before the rains opened up.  Now let’s hope I have enough tuna in my cabinets to outlast any potential power outages.  Tuna, peanut butter, and lots of bananas!

Speaking of food, Halloween cupcakes are in the oven right now.  I’ll be putting some pictures up on my baking website soon, and you can click here to stop by and see them.  They will be frightfully SPOOK-tacular, and amazingly yummy!!  I can’t wait to decorate!!

See you soon for my next adventure!!!




C is for Corn Maze


Another Initech-free weekend.  You’ll never believe this, but I actually had the opportunity to accept another job offer this week and I turned them down.  I know, after all the complaining I do about Initech, you’d think I’d be willing to switch jobs for just about anything.  And I am; this just just happened to be in the 0.1% of things I do not want to do.  Ha.  So for now I’ll be staying at Initech, chasing my dreams from a distance.

It’s autumn, though!  Such a wonderful time of year!  Pumpkin, apples, spices, cider.  The crunching of leaves as you walk through your yard to retrieve your mail.  Dense fog cover in the morning, hillsides that display God’s full Creation in a blaze of color and movement, the smell of wood fires starting to burn.  And corn mazes!

As I told you in my previous post, the one and only “corn maze” I went to in my life was so lame a 6 year old could’ve figured it out.  I’m 26, so….I figured it out in about 15 seconds.  It was super lame, and I was super bummed I spent money trying to have fun at such a disappointing place.  I swore next year it would be different.

We headed up to Mercer PA for a Cool Springs Corn Maze.  The place was hopping: Mormons, youth groups, Brownies, Girl Scout Troops.  We might have been the only non-family, non-group affiliated people wandering around.  That’s kind of how we  roll, though.

The entrance to the maze is marked with a large painted cutout of a train, much like the Hogwarts Express.  If I had only brought my luggage cart, I would have charged full steam at the plywood.  Alas, I forgot it at home with my owl and cauldron.  But I’m going to be honest, I dunno why the entrance was marked that way.

Fun advice if you ever go to a corn maze: don’t let the 15 year old lead the group when she refuses to use the handy map they provided us.  Taylor lead us all over the place, up on trail and down another.  Heck, in some sections her and Matt created their own trails.  It makes it really challenging to know where you’re at when you’re stomping through corn stalks trying to “find another path to try”.  It was pretty bad.

We walked through all of this. Some of it several times…

Eventually, after emerging into a pumpkin patch and snatching a few pumpkins for the road (who has a pumpkin patch in a corn maze!?) we settled into our Dora-inspired roles wonderfully.  Erika was our French-speaking Dora, Matt was lame-o Diego, Taylor was Boots, and I was Map, since I actually started using the map.  We were very lost for awhile, which automatically meant we all had to suddenly pee, and then we found our trail and made it out to the end.

The end of the maze was a magical place full of pumpkin cannons, friendly goats, sewage slides, and free ice cream.   Oh, and enough John Deere equipment to have me slightly confused as to what state we actually were still in.  There was so much going on it actually took us awhile to get through everything.  Guess it’s a good thing we weren’t lost in the maze longer, we might have missed the free ice cream.  And who doesn’t love free ice cream?

In the end the day was about as silly as you can imagine.  A little bit Amish, a lot a bit red neck, and a whole lot of climbing through grained plants looking for an exit.  I’m not sure what human thought to originally cut paths through their corn crops and charge people a small admission to walk through it, but I must congratulate them, whoever they may be.  It was a ridiculously fun time, and really, that’s all I want from my weekends!

Off to bake some cupcakes!  Apple spice might be in the works today.  Or maybe some cinnamon crunch.  Hmm, the possibilities are quite endless.