Advantage Taken

Oh, the holidays. Not a fan. I struggle on so many levels to actually enjoy them that it’s not worth getting in to. The key for me is to find enjoyment where I can and to make the best of those situations.

My original Black Friday plan was to meet up with a friend of mine for lunch but that plan was nixed before it happened when he was forced to cancel. So, I went with Plan B: a Black Friday hike on the Laurel Highlands Hiking Trail.

I was mildly disappointed when I woke up Friday morning to see bright sun and blue sky. Anyone that’s followed this blog knows that my preferred hiking weather is shit: rain, fog, mist, etc.

Lucky for me the mountain threw me a bone in the form of a light dusting of snow and some mud to balance out the sun and unseasonably warm November temps. Welcome to Trump’s climate change denying, ozone deteriorating America!

I would have liked to have concocted a loop to hike but given the time and a lack of a solid plan I was content to do an out and back hike that took me from the parking lot just off of Route 31 up to the radio tower off of Alpine Heights Road that gave views of the slopes at Seven Springs. Not sure on the total mileage or elevation gain, but it was probably about 5 miles or more round trip combined with a few little trail detours to satisfy some curiosity as I walked along remembering the many rides that I enjoyed on some of the adjacent trails.

It was a perfect way to spend the day and my only regret is that I didn’t start off earlier in the day so I could get more miles in. Probably for the best since all I had on me was a bottle of water, my Fuji X-T1 and a phone with a dying battery. While I’m sure MacGyver or Bear Grylls could start a fire, hunt, and build a home with those three things, I could not. Not even a little.

My Saturday was fun too as I was able to meet up with another longtime friend for lunch and a few beers on Pittsburgh’s south side.

While there way too much eating and a little too much downtime (boredom) for me over the four-ish days away from home, the contrasting trips to the mountain and the city were nice reminders of what living in western PA can offer: 50 minutes from a variety of trails in the mountains and 25 minutes from the city and a host of cool restaurants and bars. I have no real itch to move back anytime soon, or possibly ever, but I hope I can find ways to keep taking advantage of the offerings on return visits.

Now that we’re home I need to try to find my routine of riding and or working out again. There is much work to do if I want a bikini body by June (or at very least not have to buy elastic waistband pants anymore). I also have a new web project to begin work on for some folks that I am looking forward to starting, even if I am a tad bit daunted by all that needs to be done.


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