Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Best of my Year- Running Stuff- Favorite running things

In the last year I learned more about running, including that clothes make a huge difference on how a race goes. I also learned that shoes make a big difference, especially for long distances. I don't have a lot of extra money to spend on expensive clothes, so I make do with what I can find for discounts and sales, and some of my absolute favorites have been very cheap things. Here are a few of my favorite running things I used this year.

Shoes- I went through 5 pairs of sneakers this year. 2 Nikes, 1 Rykas, 1 pair of New Balance and 1 Asics. The New Balance and Asics were left overs from last year and were fine, until I had to go from 5 miles to 8. My Rykas lasted me 6 months and were wonderful for running, until they tried to kill my left toe!

My favorite running sneakers this year were my Nike Free 5.0. But I have to admit that I got girls shoes, because Nike Women's shoes are too big on my feet. Best yet, I found this at the Nike Outlet for $30

This shoes were light and comfy, and didn't cause me the hip pain that all the other shoes did. Map My Run says that they are 75% done for, which makes me sad :~( I really like them.

My Favorite Running top and shorts

I found this lovely Adidas Top at an Outlet, and paid $12 for it, it was on clearance and there was an extra discount on it. I wore it only once in 2014, but found new love for it in 2015. Kept me protected from the elements, yet it was light and comfortable. Yes, my top two qualities for running gear.

My shorts... oh my shorts! I have a hard time finding shorts my size on the women's section, so every now and then, I'll check out the girls section. I found this lovelies at Walmart, while looking for something else. They cost me $3.96...and as anybody can guess, they are light and comfy.

anybody has any favorites? anything that you re-discovered ? What are your favorite running shoes?

The Best of my Year- Running Stuff- Favorite Races

Hello dear Random Strangers! Thank you for stopping by to read my ramblings on things. This is likely to be the last of my post for this year, as I have off from work, and will be spending lots of time with my son. So, wanted to go back and relive some of my favorite races of the year.

My favorite Races

It is really hard to pick a favorite race, I really did love all 17 of them! But the three that immediately jump to my mind are The Kennett Run, Bird In Hand 5K, and The Hershey Half Marathon.

Kennett Run 5K
There are many reasons for the Kennett Run to be my favorite run, it's the first race I did in The United States, and it's one that I've been doing for years. This year most of my family was there for the event, my sisters and I ran the 5K. My brothers looked after my son and my niece, and we went to My sister's bakery after the race.

The race itself is hard! The first mile goes slightly uphill with some rolling hills, but with all of the excitement, my legs didn't notice the uphill until about half a mile in. The second mile is going downhill through what I think is the Country Club, and the last mile is a mix of uphills and downhills. The race finishes at Nixon Park.

Another favorite of this run, is that the whole town is part of it. It's one of their big events for the year. I love seeing the signs on the posts downtown.

The end of the race is the biggest collection of food I have seen in any race yet! There is pizza, cookies, bananas, soft pretzels, bags of chips. Dunkin Donuts provides ice tea, ice coffee, coffee and donuts. My sisters and I always eat tons of food after... because... you know, we just ran a 5K! The race also offers a 10K, but my sisters and I have only been doing the 5K for 5 years now... 2016 might be the year of the 10K though.

The Bird in Hand 5K

Looking back at my times and struggles, this was one of the races I did the worst at. I finished at 27.27, and felt like I was dying at the end. But the event was amazing! The 5K is held the night before the Bird In Hand Half Marathon, which I didn't do, because I was training for the Hershey Half, and because by the time I decided to run it, the race was sold out.

The Half Marathon expo was hosting Christopher McDougall as a guest, and speaker; and I loved McDougall's Born To Run book! It was so nice to meet him and have a complete mental block, and forgot to tell him I loved the book! but he was the nicest guy!

My Run road trip stuff

Right before the 5K stared, there was a hot air balloon launch, which was amazing! Most of us couldn't stop staring at the sky before the race.

The sense of runners community was amazing! We sat to eat with an Amish family and everybody at the table started talking to us as if they had known us for a long time.

Oh yeah, speaking of food... there is a pasta dinner the night of the 5K, we were hungry so we ate there and loved it! the food was fresh and amazing! We are going back for the Half marathon and the 5K in 2016.

The Hershey Half Marathon
The Hershey Half Marathon was amazing, just because it was the culmination of all the training we did during the summer. It felt really good to complete the Half Marathon! the happiness of the race lasted me longer than the sore knees! I was happy and smiling for an entire week ! while my knees were only sore for 2 days! I will be back in 2016 to complete the Half Marathon again, and I'm already really excited for it!

The race was a decent level of hard. Lots of hills, but also lots of support from the town. My son came to see the race, and seeing him at the 12 mile made a huge difference for my motivation! He also made me an awesome sign !

Monday, December 28, 2015

Christmas Week

Ahh!! It's done, gifts have been wrapped and unwrapped. Food has been cooked and eaten and it was all wonderful! Another Christmas season is almost over, and it leaves a sense of family, happiness and joy. Here are a few highlights of the Christmas weekend.

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

I went to my son's Holiday Party, it was nice. My son gave his teacher the card and gift card that was her holiday present. We quickly left and headed to pick up the last things we needed at Wegmans. It was packed. We got a cookie. We went home.

Our family trip to Longwood had a few glitches, but we went, we saw the beautiful green house. We only wish that it was not raining the whole time we were there! We were completely soaked, but it was wonderful to see my son taking pictures of everything he could find and my niece enjoyed seeing the water.

My son took this picture

Thursday, December 24, 2015
My brothers invited me and Roger to try out the Sushi place in Kennett Square Pa. My son was not agreeable to going, but he stayed with his Tias at my moms, and off we went to get sushi. I had their Lunch Bento Box with Chicken Teriyaki. The bento box had this amazing sweet potato tempura sushi that was delicious!!! I keep craving it!

For dinner my mom made the traditional Tamales and Pozole. We worked on as much as we could, since she was at work, but nothing really got started until she got there. My mom is just amazing! She went to work for 7 hours, and came home to make dinner for all of us! I want to be as strong as my mom!

One of our traditions is to celebrate my sisters birthday before we acknowledge Christmas, and we were running late, but we did a quick birthday celebration and started eating.

The pozole and Tamales were so amazing! I just LOVE LOVE tamales and pozole! I should ask for them for my birthday!

Our Christmas Tree slowly got covered with gifts.

Christmas tree at 1:30 pm
Christmas tree at 9:00
We started opening our presents really late, somewhere around 10:00pm. We all got wonderful gifts from everybody! I was very fortunate to get books, working out gloves, a yoga mat, a tech shirt, gloves, perfume, Bunbury MTV Unplugged (Which I LOVED) and a Garmin 230. I am so blessed to have such a wonderful and generous family!

My sister and her husband made me a cake tower!


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

I got bitten by a Vampire....

So as far as running injuries go.... this is the strangest I've had! So far my running injuries include, but are not limited to : shin splints, knee pain, sore legs, sore lungs, bruise ribs, blisters, black toe, which lead to lost nail... and now I was bitten by a vampire... ok, I'm being quite dramatic for this one.... I got headphones burn (Not sure that is a real term) on my neck.

Sunday after zumba, I went off to run my 10 miles. I wore a new Under Armour all weather shirt at I had purchased the month before, and it proved perfect for the weather! kept me warm for the whole run. Well, I like to hide my headphone cord under my shirt, to keep them out of the way and pulled them from my neck to my ears. That does the job pretty well, and I've never had any problems. That is until this Sunday.

I went and did the 10 miles, was very very cold after the run, quickly headed to my nearest coffee shop to arm myself with a hot beverages.

Drove and picked up my son, went to the grocery store, and after dinner, when I went to take a shower, I noticed to red/ purpleish bruises on my collar bone. My son had just accidentally kicked me on the face (The lights were turned off and he got too excited jumping into bed, while I bent down to put his books away), so I thought it was that... but it didn't make sense, he didn't kick me that hard. So took my shower, and after getting out, the bruises were now a soft pink. I was putting on lotion and when the lotion hit the bruises, it burned bad!! Then the entire run came in to my head as a flash! The headphones! They must have been rubbing on my neck the whole time!

The next day it looked worse.... I look like an awkward vampire attacked me, and tried to bite my neck bone! I've been putting on bacitracin and Vaseline, and it's slowly healing. Good thing it's winter, or at least cool enough to wear a scarf, but I am a little bit worried about Christmas and pictures, it's going to look very strange in a picture next year... me and my vampire bite marks.

Happy Holidays random strangers reading!

Surviving Christmas- Part 2

Back in the beginning of December I posted a Surviving Christmas Post , giving myself goals to complete by this week, breaking it down week by week. I know My last week goals were to freak out, but I'm proud to say that will likely not happen.

While I did not accomplish all my goals, I came pretty close.


1. Planned family trip- My brother asked if we could go to Longwood Gardens for Thanksgiving, but many other things didn't line up. So I offered to plan a trip with all my siblings for December 23rd. While it was harder to get agreements from some, I got it all planed and arranged.

Our family has lived 30 minutes from Longwood for over 15 years, and while some of us have gone before, not the entire family has ever been there before. I took my mom back in 2004, and took my son and my sister in 2012. But my brothers and older sister have not made it there yet. I'm excited for all of us to be there. While the chances for fights and/or disagreements are higher when we are all together in one place, I will focus on enjoying having a Christmas outing with most of my family. Dad will be on his way to Mexico.

3.Take my son to pick up Presents.

A week and a half ago I took my son to Five and Below to pick up presents for the family. We missed the school Christmas shop, because I didn't put in in my calendar. But made up for it at 5 and Below. We also had a good Christmas moment.... my son went to the pashminas and picked two, one for each of two Tias (Aunts). He said Tia Nina really likes cheetah print, that is what he calls animal print, and Tia Bety got a really strange gray, brownish scarf with hints of minty green. It looked really weird, so I asked him if he could pick a different one.... well, that was the wrong thing to ask.... He said to me "No, this is Tia Bety's favorite color (is not), she will love it! You told me to pick something, you are making me feel bad about my choices". I felt awful, he was right. So I backed off.

Earlier that night we went to Build A Bear to pickup a bear for my 10 month old niece. I knew that part of the gift was going to be that my son got to make the bear and name it. He enjoyed the entire process, even picked up a dress for the bear and named it Elizabeth, which touched my heart. When I was his age, my Madrina gave me a doll, and she was named Elizabeth, I played with that doll for a long time. and my best friend from Middle school is Elizabeth.

We picked up dinner, went home and wrapped everything. I was very proud of my boy.

BAB for my Niece

Diary for my sister

4.Got presents for Zumba ladies ( of AIMF )  and son's teacher.

While I didn't get everything that I wanted, I got them all gift cards to Starbucks. Money was tight for presents, this is one I'm going to say that it's the thought that counts.

5. 50% of the gifts are wrapped! that is a HUGE accomplishment.

Almost done

I have 95% of the presents purchased. I need a few things for two sister. Roger's gift is at my parents, ready to wrap. And also have to pick up couple of things for my brothers.... I have a very big family.

Santa has confirmed with me that my son's presents are ready and that he hope that He will enjoy them.

Delivering presents this week.

Nowhere Near done

I have not made a decision on cookies and/or checked for ingredients for them.

Extra accomplishments

I made peppermint bark for Roger, and shortbread cookies for work.

I managed a 10 mile run on Sunday!

I will be helping out at my son's holiday party on Wednesday.

Packed the "Christmas Eve waiting kit" package for my son.

Now I will have to find time tomorrow to finish the last few presents, charge all devices (kindle, ipad, fitbit, mp3), pack clothes for me and my son and drive down to my parents.

Friday, December 18, 2015

My monologue on my times

I cannot believe I did 17 races this year! 14 5Ks, 2 10Ks and 1 half marathon! I'm a slow runner, but with training and some crazy exercises Roger made me do, this year I got faster.

I keep track of my times and compare my results... because I enjoy torturing myself with the numbers! I have improved my times by 2 whole minutes! Last year my best runs were coming in at 29 minutes. And I remember telling my sister and myself that I would never could beat those times. But I kept surprising myself with each run!

My Motivation
Last year I finished the Kennett Run at 32 minutes and was devastated! I wanted to be faster! so I kept running, and this year I trained, and trained harder because I wanted to have a better time at the Kennett Run. That day was one of the hottest in May, and by the time we started running it was 74. But I did it, I ran the Kennett run at 26.48. It was amazing!

My beautiful sisters and I getting ready to take off for the Kennett Run... I'm the one in the skirt

As the runs continued, the numbers on the times got smaller, not by much, but it was a huge triumph for me.

The Awesome

My best time this year was at the Oxford Oktoberfest. I did the 5K in 24.05 and got 3rd place on my age group. I got a medal!

My slowest 5k was the Irish Jig Jog 5K, *BUT* I got first place on my age group... this makes me smile :~) I got an awesome engraved mug!!

At the Library Loop I did the 5K on 24.53 and got third place of my age group. My son was with me, and was very proud to walk with me to pick up my medal.

Striking a Selena pose before the 5K, the sparkly bra helped me go faster

My biggest win was at the Ninja 10K when I got first place female, because the race was very small. I got an engraving for my awesome medal.

The...  oh so close!
At the Bark in The Park 5K I was again disappointed with myself... I got 4th place in my age group, the 3rd place woman came in 1 second before me. I was only annoyed because I wanted a cool medal!

The Next Goals
My 5K PR to beat has become 24.05, and it really seems impossible! I hope more training will get me to the goal time!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

My Favorite Christmas Songs

I am so totally ready for Christmas ! I might not have all the presents purchased, or have any clue on to what I am getting my son for Christmas, or have told Santa what he wants... but I'm ready! this year I've been listening to Christmas music, even while working out, to get myself more excited about the day. And I'm also trying something different, I'm making ANOTHER check list of goals for this week, because if I don't have all my presents purchased by Sunday, everybody will be getting gift cards.

Playlist name : Buying present for my son
Goal : Get three *awesome* present for an awesome boy and notify Santa of his request
Time: After work this week

*my own definition of awesome anyway*

Carol of the Bells- Last year my son had the chance to visit the High School Symphony and since then, he has loved this song and Wizards of Winter. We have this song on repeat for Christmas this year.

Los Peces En El Rio- This song is a kids favorite in Mexico, however, being my always questioning self, I always wondered... why are this fishes drinking water? don't they mean breathing water? were there fish nearby to where Jesus was born? Still, this song is awesome and brings back many Christmas memories!

O Holy Night by The Wiggles and Joey Fatone (bad quality video)- this has to go down for history, something we will tell my son when he is older. We stayed up late on Thursday watching the Michael Buble Christmas Special, we both have a soft spot for this sweet voice crooner. He had Celine Dion as a guest singing O Holy Night, and say what you may about My Hear Will Go On, but Celine Dion has a truly amazing voice. Well, my 6 year old critic was NOT ok with her performance... because she wasn't The Wiggles! he kept making comments like "Come on! that's not as good as the Wiggles! I think they couldn't get the Wiggles to come to their show! that has to be it. She is not that good! We need to listen to the Wiggles and pretend they are singing this."

We Three Kings by The Wiggles- My son is a HUGE fan of the Wiggles. And I'm not afraid to admit that The Wiggles are pretty awesome!

Burrito Sabanero- Traditional Christmas song for children, it makes me happy!

Playlist name: Wrapping presents

All I Want For Christmas by Mariah Carey- Who doesn't love this song? The upbeat music and peppy singing makes me happy. And there is many people I want for Christmas! I want a whole day of fun with my son! I want a day of hiking, eating and running with Roger, I want a day of shopping, eating and talking with my sisters. Can those be legitimate gifts that we ask for Christmas?

Ven a Cantar by La Hermandad- I grew up listening almost exclusively to this song for Christmas. My mom had this album on tape back in the 1990s and this is the song that represents everything about Christmas for me. It made me very happy when the song was released on iTunes 3 years ago. I loved when I found the video from 1986 on You Tube. I just love the hair, the clothes and the dancing on top of ice cubes! by the way, it doesn't snow in Mexico, it's not even too cold.

Do You Hear What I Hear? - ** Long Story warning ** back in 1997 we spent our first Christmas in Pennsylvania, having moved here from Mexico. We missed our relatives and friends, and the town and traditions, but we tried to make the best of our situation. My dad took us to the Ames in town, and my mom asked him if we could pick up a Christmas, even though Christmas had already passed. My mom picked a random CD, and we took it home and pop it on the boom box. The first song was Do You Hear What I hear? sang by a chorus and orchestra. After playing it many times, this song became a favorite for me, especially that version. Years went by, and the CD got lost in one of our moves. In 2010, I found a stack of CDs at the Dollar three, and picked up 2 of them.... thinking what do I have to lose, they are $1 each. When I played the one CD, it was the CD we had lost with the version of Do You Hear What I hear that I loved!

Navidad Sin ti by Los Bukis and Amarga Navidad by Raphael and Bunbury
This two are two sad and depressing Christmas songs, but I love them!

The first one is about remembering the one who got away, during the holidays and wishing nothing but the best to her.

The second one is about breaking up with somebody who is just plain mean, and giving himself the present of a brand new start alone. The song starts with a very melodramatic "Acaba de una vez de un solo golpe, por que quieres matarme poco a poco"... loosely translated to "Kill me all at one, in one single hit, why do you want to kill me slowly". I play both on repeat during the holidays! for me, it just is not Christmas without those songs. And this song, written by the best author of Mexican songs Jose Alfredo Jimenez and interpreted by two great singers from Spain, that takes this song to a new level of awesome.

We all need a reminder that other people are truly hurting this holiday season.

Let is Snow- Michael Buble
I love Bubles sweet crooner voice! and his version of this song is just perfect. Even though I realize that it can hardly count for a Christmas song, it only mentions letting it snow.

Anybody out there have other Christmas Favorites?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

The Best of my year - Songs

Aaaahhh... It has been another amazing year! Ok, Dear Random Strangers... if anybody is reading this... I enjoy writing down what the best things of my year were, this will be the first year I'm posting them online. Running has gotten me in touch with new song, and reminded me of old favorites. Here are a few that kept my legs moving on both, long and short runs.

Pitbull and Gente De Zona- Piensas

I don't listen to the radio, I don't watch TV, but I am addicted to Instagram, and I first saw about this song on The Most Bad Ones Instagram page. For anybody who doesn't know, The Most Bad Ones are the official Pitbul dancers, who are amazing! Total women crush! I wish to learn to dance like them. I listened to this song most of the summer and played during most of my long runs.

Francesca Maria- Popee- Zumba version
I first heard Francesca Maria at Zumba with her song Dale, one of my favorites from last year. And this year Popee became another favorite. I practiced that routine in my kitchen more times than I can say, but I have also used the song during long runs. I would strategically put this song at the end of long runs, so when the last mile of a 11 mile run came around, I had this song to push me through.

Daddy Yankee- Sigueme y Te Sigo
Yes, I listen mostly to musica en español, or Latin music. It's what I grew up with and what makes my heart happy. This one I heard at Zumba, and went home and downloaded it. I find myself singing this song during runs. and Yes, I also practice dancing this one in the kitchen. Total Kitchen Dancer here!

Ricky Martin- La Mordidita
I blame Enrique Bunbury for my not having more mellow music to run to! If he would have released his MTV unglugged sooner! I became addicted to this song back in October. And it came in super handy for a 5 mile run. I put it in repeat for the first 2 miles to forget I was tired and that it was cold. This song transports me to a sunny and warm Florida, while running in the dark, cold and cloudy day in Central PA.

Lorde- Yellow Flicker Beat
I love Lorde's voice and her mellow lyrics. This is my multipurpose song.... I use it to calm me down when in a bad mood, it's the song I play while washing dishes, and the song I put at the beginning of my runs, to remind me to slow down and take it slow....I tend to take off running fast.

Enrique Bunbury- Contracorriente (version Pequeño Cabaret Ambulante)
I rediscovered this song at the Oxford Oktoberfest 5K. The lyrics made me realize that when I run, I'm running contracorriente.... against the current... My favorite lyric is "Contra la eternidad, la belleza del instante.... contra la distancia". Loosely translated to "Against eternity, the beauty of instant moment... against the distance". This is my new running anthem.... well, I didn't have a running anthem before.

Anybody out there has a running anthem? a favorite running song? A favorite for the last mile of a long run?

Monday, December 14, 2015

The Best of My Year- TV Shows

I'm making a full confession here... I don't watch much TV. I simply don't have time for it, between spending precious time with my son, running, doing zumba, yoga and weight training, there is simply no time.  About 3 years ago, during my divorce I went through a very serious Netflix binge, that is how I finished Gossip Girl and Doctor Who in two months. But I realized that although both were great shows, I was watching people have amazing adventures, and fabulous lives while I was sitting on my couch lamenting my life. So I made the decision to cut back on watching TV. By 2013, I cut down to local channels only by 2014 I cut all cable, and by 2015 I cut all connection with Comcast... which I find to be a horrific company.

But I am in a relationship with a man who enjoys watching TV, and enjoys many TV shows. We have already had a few disagreements on the amount of TV each of us consumes, but we have come somewhat of an agreement. He can watch his favorite shows when they come on, while I do my own thing. Also, we each pick a show that we like and on the nights that my son is with his father, we will watch 1 or 2 episodes when we are not running, doing weights, exploring a new small town of PA or sipping coffee at a local coffee shop. We have shared great shows, which I would have never thought of watching before, and we have together discovered shows we enjoy, and I have also share with him some of my favorites, some of which he would have never consider himself. Here are some great things we found this year, most available on Netflix.

New Girl- We both decided to give this one a try, because we had just finished Six Feet Under and cried our eyes out. We both needed a laugh and something new to watch. The first season is hilarious!! we have watched it twice, just because it is just too funny! my favorite character is Schmitt.

Dexter- This was a show that Roger loved. A series about a serial killer was never something that I had any interest in, but after watching Six Feet Under, I had a desperate craving for more Michael C Hall. So off we went with Dexter. And my god! that show was quite a rollercoaster of emotions! While part of me was all "oh no! he is killing people" other part of my was "I hope he doesn't get caught" and I cried at the end... cried hard. 

Monk- I have a soft spot for quirky TV characters. Monk is an OCD detective, with social anxiety and a very good eye for things others miss. We watched the whole series this year and loved all the Monk adventures. And I also need to point out that whenever one of his assistants is in trouble, Monk can run very long distances, at a pretty amazing speed.... except when he has to take a physical test for the Police Department, don't think the inconsistency was lost on me.

Gilmore Girls - I love this show. I have seen it many times, but this was the first time I was sharing it with somebody. While Roger might not like The Gilmores, I find their family dynamic very realistic and even can relate a little bit. He will never admit to it, but one night, after a long run in the heat and a very tiring day, Roger said "I just want to sit on the couch and watch Gilmore Girls!"

Special note: Both of the Gilmore Girls are known for *talking about eating * large amounts of food. But if I know anything about being in my early 30s and eating junk, I can testify that eating pizza, ice cream and burgers all the time is not conductive to having the bodies they have. During the 7 season of the show, I can say that they have only put food in their mouths about 4 times, in season 1. But watching this show always makes me hungry! But I can completely relate to the large quantities of coffee they consume.

47 Moments Every “Gilmore Girls” Fan Will Never Get Over

Let's see what good show re-runs 2016 will bring our way... I'm thinking Buffy!!

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Hiking Summer 2015 - Part 2

If I haven't said it before, dear random strangers, I will say it again, Pennsylvania is a beautiful state for parks. This year we had the pleasure of visiting more beautiful parks, hiking areas and this was our experiences with them.

Swatara State Park
We made it out to Swatara State Park for the 4th of July weekend, and accidentally hiked 8 miles. We picked this park because we wanted to do a section of the Appalachian Trail. Roger and I didn't talk about how long we would hike. We ended up parking in the middle of the park, because we missed the official entrance to the park, the one with bathrooms. When we got to the unofficial parking lot and saw that the bathroom was in the other side of the park, we had no other option but to hike there. The trail was a mix of pebble rock wide trails and part of an abandoned road. We found many people there on their bikes, well more people on their bikes than hiking. The park was beautiful, the abandoned road had a ghostly, yet homey feel to it.

4 hiking miles later we found the bathroom, and were faced with deciding on hiking back the exact same route we had just done, or go around to the AT and back to the car. Either way, our car was 4 miles away. We found the Appalachian Trail and hiked the 1 mile back to the other entrance of the park. This section was more rugged than the rest of the park, and made for some excellent scenery and muddy tracks.

We found a tree cave, the picture doesn't do it justice.

Blurry picture of an amazing trail.


Gettysburg PA

We did Gettysburg completely different than any other hiking trips, but it was quite an awesome experience and we did a lot of walking and climbing, so I'm counting it as a hiking trip.

We went to Gettysburg in July 2015, we had planned to hike to some of the spots, until we realized that 1. It was very hot, temps in the 90s and 2. The monuments were miles away from each other. We did a car tour of Gettysburg and hit about 75% of the monuments.

The first mandatory stop is at the Gettysburg Visitor Center. The stop there is mandatory to get the maps of where one can go and how we can get there.

The Gettysburg Visitor Center is a beautiful building, we checked out a few of the exhibits and took pictures of President Lincoln statue.

The monuments were a short drive away, we parked the car and walked around taking pictures.

We climbed to the top of a watching post, we got a great view of Gettysburg.

My favorite monument was the Pennsylvania Monument, also one of the biggest we saw.

Pennsylvania Monument

View from the top of the Pennsylvania Monument

We took a lunch break and enjoyed some ice cream, because we were steaming hot. I wish all hiking trips had access to ice cream.

Civil War Re-enactors giving a cannon demonstration

After lunch we checked out a few more monuments, including the Monument for the Confederate General, which was huge. On our way there, we saw a group of runners. We were blown away, it was still very hot, even as the sun was lowering, and very humid. We had a bottle of water in the car that we had not opened, and we offered it to the runners, they were not carrying a hydration pack or bottles of water, and we know what it's like to be running and not having water. They didn't take it, but we told them that if they changed their mind, we would be at the monument for at least 5 more minutes and to feel free to come back and grab the water.

Our stalker picture of the runners

French Creek State Park

This was such a beautiful park, We found it on the Pennsylvania Parks App. The park itself was beautiful and had a lot of trails, a pool, and a lake. The park was packed with people in picnics we hadn't seen a park that packed all summer! We hiked 3 miles and also walked to the historic site next to it, please forgive me, I don't remember that the place was called, only that there was a furnace.

I was very tired that day, not sure if it was the weather, or dehydration, but I did not enjoy this hike properly. I wanted to be sitting in an air conditioned room and watching TV, which is not like me at all, but again, I was very tired.

The lake and park were beautiful and I'm glad we took this trip.

We took one more visit to Pine Grove, because let's admit this right now, Pine Grove Furnace is awesome! We did 4 miles of slow and easy hiking.