For my 50th birthday (well over a year ago), I asked my son, a then outdoor recreation major in college,  to take me on a challenging hike.  I wanted to do something with some level of  difficulty to commemorate reaching 50 years of age and being pretty happy about being at a good fitness level.

Well, as you know, the you-know-what hit the fan last year.  (For those who don’t know know,  my spleen was ruptured due to a surgical mistake and almost killed me.)  So today, after a year and a few months of healing, I was finally ready to take a hike!

We had an absolutely picture-perfect 80-degree day of sunshine with no humidity. We went to Glen Onoko Falls in Lehighton, being only 1 of 2 cars in the parking lot, and set off on our adventure.

Side note: I sure wish I hadn’t sucked down an entire iced coffee on the way there in the car.  I had to pee before we even started.  And this princess does NOT pee in the outdoors.

 

All fresh and ready to go!

 

And then we saw this:

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and this:

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. . . which I thought was very good advice.  And I thought “What the heck are we doing here”?

But we started up the trail, and I saw that it wasn’t so bad after all.

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But then this:

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Hmmm, another dire warning sign.  Well, I most certainly had appropriate hiking boots on, as evidenced in this photo of my lovely fashionable footwear. (I will admit that I chose my socks based on which better matched my outfit, and gave no thought to which would best protect my feet).

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We continued our hike.  Everything was so beautiful and green and the birds were chirping and the sun was shining – just a perfect day and a perfect location.

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Soon we hit our first of many waterfalls.  We stopped here for a little break and to enjoy the scenery.

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The trail became more and more of a challenge, with many sections requiring us to use our hands to climb up very steep rock trails.   Some parts of the trails were quite narrow with a sharp drop-off on one side, or were quite slippery, or both.  And then we found this:

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What the heck?

Finally a sign that reflected my own feelings:

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But we persevered.  And were rewarded with so much beauty.

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Because I was number 2 in the hiking order, I got a lot of pictures of my hubby’s backside (tee hee hee).

I TOLD you there was great scenery (wink wink 🙂 ).

 

I loved seeing the many cairns.  These are used as trail markers.

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But I wasn’t prepared for this:

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That’s a LOT of cairns.  It was so funny to see this cairn “village”.  🙂  Even my son, who has done SO much hiking in his young life (30 of the 46 peaks in the Adirondacks, mountains in NY and VT and Alaska, Lake Tahoe, the Catskills and even Mount Kilimanjaro!) said he’s never seen anything like this.  I was afraid this would be a boring hike for him, but he really enjoyed it and thought it was a really beautiful hike.

 

I think my hubby’s favorite part of the hike was the gorp.  He really loves this gorp that I make him for golf snacks.

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It was so wonderful to spend this special day with the two guys I love most in this world.

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But the really significant part is that this day that was supposed to have marked my half-century birthday, actually turned out to represent so much more.  In the past year, my son has completed his college degree in this outdoor recreation field that he loves so much, and is able to share his expertise with us.  Also in the past year, my hubby has retired, so was able to be with us today.  Lastly, I feel really grateful to just be alive and to not have missed out on this opportunity with my guys.

Thanks to my son and to my hubby for a really special day. <3

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Written by Jennifer Cartledge

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