Monday, February 28, 2011

We Didn't Get Shot at the Gun Club, Nor Eaten by Bears, and Also Happy Birthday to My Mother-In-Law

Here's a song for my mother-in-law who turned 60 today: Happy birthday, happy birthday, happy birthday to our guest! Happy birthday, happy birthday, ChiChi's wishes you the best! Ole!

To celebrate my mother-in-law turning 40 shy of a century we surprised her with a weekend in the Poconos. My father-in-law convinced her that it would just be the two of them hanging out in a rented house for the weekend. Except on Friday night all four of her sons and her two daughter-in-laws showed up at the front door. SURPRISE! In the six of us traipsed with our cases of beer, tequila, Scrabble and Guess Who? for a weekend of hanging out.

I was happy to learn that Hickory Run State Park (we'd been there a few times before) was only a few miles away -- a weekend that could have been spent eating cheese by the block and drinking beer by the dozen instead turned into a weekend of eating cheese by the block and drinking beer by the dozen with intermittent running and hiking thrown in.

After planning a route by looking at an old map haniging on the wall that basically looked like this we thought our run on Saturday would be simple -- two or so miles on the road followed by a brief duck into a neighborhood to a trail head that would lead us to Hickory Run.

Except that none of the roads had street signs. At all. We wandered around for a bit before venturing into the woods, hoping that a brief, snowy bushwack would lead us to the trail. After about 40 minutes of bickering about where to go and how to get there we stepped out of the thick cover of bushes, trees and snow onto a trail. Success! We could see the trail head about 50 yards away and Bill suggested that we take a look just to make sure we were where we thought we were.

We weren't where we thought we were:

We are not members of the Silver Bullet Gun Club. Just to clarify.
Actually, we were where we thought we were, but our bobo map did not indicate that our desired trail was, in fact, the main route through the Silver Bullet Gun Club. Lesson learned. We headed back on the roads, deciding to save Hickory Run for the next day.

As we began our hike on Sunday we discussed our last trip to Hickory Run.

It was 2005 and we were on bikes. Weeks' worth of food was hitched to the back of my bike in a simple canvas bag. Getting hit by cars, sweating our asses off, not finding a diner with apple pie for lunch had been pressing concerns, but not bears. Until we got to Hickory Run.

Lady Working at the Campground Check-In: (looks at us, looks at our bikes, looks behind us for our car) We are telling people to keep their food in their car but you don't have one, so be on the lookout for bears. We have had some issues with them the past few weeks.
Me: Uh, ok. This should be a great night's sleep.
LWATCC: You are really going to sleep here with your food not locked away? Really? What about the bears?

Lady, what did you want us to do? We'd ridden 100 miles in two days in the sweltering heat, lugging tents, water, food, extra bike crap, clothes and travel Scrabble every inch of the way. Where were we going to go? Plus, the scary motels we passed along the way were more terrifying to us than the possibility of being eaten by bears. So we snagged some rope from the camp store and slung our food bag over a tree a bit away from our tent and hoped for the best. To make a short story long we didn't get eaten by bears.

Fast-forward to Sunday. "I am sure there aren't actually bears that would eat us," I speculated as we bushwacked along a deer-carved path.

"I am sure that they are," Bill countered.





Then, before our argument got juvenile, Bill won -- I looked down and, stamped in the snow, was a bear track. Yay. We quickly worked our way back to the trail most traveled, not wanting to encounter a damn bear.

Looking out for bears. I spied none, fortunately.
Unfortunately I forgot my gloves and had to borrow
a gigantic pair from Bill.

Me and my best "I don't wanna see a bear" face.
The rest of the hike was similarly bear-free, void of other people and, surprisingly, perfectly flat. A fun change of scenery before heading back to Philly.


Mallory said...

You are braver than I am!! Sounds like a great weekend! That's so cool the Bill is into all that as well. I'm not sure I could talk my spouse into any of that.... perhaps I will try :)

Julie said...