We had perfect weather for Independence Day, after a weekend filled mostly with rain. So we piled all of the kids into our cars yesterday and drove to a state park north of New York City in order to spend some time outdoors. There are certain landscape scenes that I find calming, and I managed to capture several yesterday while walking through the state park. Here are a few that I thought people might enjoy for the final day of this holiday weekend.
It’s funny, but each time I see a scene like these, I have the urge to settle down where I am with a book, and sit quietly reading with the sound of birds, and the buzz of insects making a kinds of white noise in the background. Hikes like these are very relaxing for me. It is also nice to get away from the crowds and be in open spaces, letting go of the usual worries of the day for a little while, and enjoying the company and scenery.
After the hike, we took the kids for ice cream. It wasn’t even lunch time yet, but it is nice to shake things up now and then.
I worked from 8 am until noon today but took the afternoon off. We have our first warm weather of the year and I wanted to be able to enjoy it. So around 1 pm, we got in the car and headed over to Scott’s Run Nature Preserve in McLean, Virginia.
It was close to 70 degrees out and overcast with a pleasant breeze, and we spent about two hours hiking through the wooded hills (click on the photo to see more pictures). It was a refreshing, peaceful, and relaxing hike and I think we both had a nice time.
Later in the evening, we decided to go out to dinner. We picked up some furniture we had waiting for us at Pier 1 and also picked up some more cat littler from Pet Smart.
I have to work all day (and possibly all night) tomorrow. It’s supposed to be even warmer tomorrow, but I’ll be stuck in the office all day. But I was very glad we got to go hiking today.
We could not have asked for better weather today. It was an absolutely gorgeous fall day, with temperatures above 70 degrees. So nice was it, that Kelly said that we should go for a hike. We pulled out a book of hikes in Northern Virginia and finally decided on a hike around Burke Lake, a roughly 5.1 mile hike, through the woods, on a level surface, easy but fun. We drove out there and it was gorgeous. I wish I’d brought my regular camera, but I did get a couple of pictures on my iPhone.
The leaves were falling but the colors were vibrant. I don’t know if we are quite at the peak of the turning season yet, but it really was gorgeous. It took us roughly 2 hours to do the 5 mile walk around the lake. We walked at a leisurely pace, being passed by bikers, joggers, and even other walkers, but we didn’t mind. The forest smelled wondering and I kept taking in deep breaths, trying to take it all in.
By the time we complete the walk, we were both hungry and thirsty, so we got into the car and found a nearby Quiznos, where we both fell on our sandwiches like a wolf on a lamb.
It’s hard to remember a fall day in a woodland as riotous as this one. It reminds me of just one of the reasons why I am so glad to be leaving on the east coast.
The food-fest continued this morning as Vicky made some excellent blueberry muffins. Maddie began to come out of her shell and was less shy and more playful this morning as well. After breakfast, I convinced Norm and Vicky that we should take a walk somewhere and Norm led us to what was supposed to be a nearby hiking trail, but what turned out to be some kind of dead-end utility road. On the way back, however, we found the entrance to The Long Trail and decided to hike it for a short distance (spraying ourselves with bug spray to avoid the myriad of insects that seemed to enjoy the oppressive heat and humidity).
We played a little more Scrabble and then Norm and Vicky prepared lunch and I helped–a little. Vicky made an excellent BBQ sauce, and hamburger patties. Norm grilled those patties, along with corn on the cob, and I helped by pouring olive oil on the patties, and adding some salt and pepper. My BBQing experience has thus been tripled. There was also bacon and the burgers with Vicky’s BBQ sauce turned out to be excellent. So did the corn, which Norm had buttered and then grilled in the husks. It gave the corn and deep yellow–almost golden–color and it was delicious. Once again, I felt spoiled.
It started to rain just as we finished our lunch, which we ate sitting out on the deck in the backyard. And shortly after lunch, it was time for me to head home. It rained pretty steadily for at least half of the drive home and it was a long drive. Having left Norm and Vicky’s at about 2:30 PM, I didn’t get home until after 8 PM due to quite a bit of traffic on I-95.
Tomorrow, I go back to work. I’m getting up at 4:30 AM to head to the gym. After work tomorrow, I pick Zeke up from the vet.
This was a very early morning for me because I wanted to watch the sun rise and a very nice sunrise it turned out to be. The sun came up over Mount Vesuvius as the ship approached Naples from the south. I stood on the deck of the ship as it came up, taking several pictures of it. I then wandered to the front of the ship and watched us enter the harbor and then make what was essentially a three-point turn and back into our parking space at the pier.