At some point this past summer I found myself agreeing to go on a weekend hiking trip to upstate New York (Lake Placid), which eventually morphed into a trip to the Pocono Pines in Pennsylvania. I wasn’t too keen on the length of the drive to the Poconos—six hours is a bit much—but we were supposed to go down Friday morning and make a day trip out of it.

My life obviously had other plans. I ended up starting a brand spanking new job in early September, the Monday following this trip would be hectic, and I didn’t think asking for this Friday off would be a good idea. I know I was right, but the trip became less appealing right at that point. My friends in the Friday morning party went to Crackle Barrel and stopped in Scranton, PA, while I on the other hand, got to drive down after work with my ex and his new wife—my old best friend. Yeah. It wasn’t that bad, just like 100% awkward since her and I also share the same first name.

We arrived at about 1:30 a.m. The place was dark and we may have driven past it a few times completely bewildered. At first I wanted to sleep like some sort of responsible person, but my friends talked me into a beer or two. I eventually stumbled into the room I was to sleep in around 4 a.m. and passed out. Nothing like being introduced to Pennsylvania with Yuengling & Son beer, the oldest brewing company in the United States.

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Good morning, Pocono Pines.

After a rough and pathetic 3 hours sleep, I was woken up by my bunk mate for breakfast at a restaurant down the street. I wasn’t particularly hungry, but I was wide awake. I changed into my jim jams—obviously I fell asleep in my clothes from the night before—and joined the boys outside for the short walk there.

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Biscuits and Gravy, trying out the local cuisine.

The rest of the day was met with nap time, hiking time, and drinking time—I won’t even list what that entailed except that there was some store bought “moonshine” going around. After enough moonshine we felt brave enough to go swimming in the private lake that was nearby. I want to say we were quiet and discrete, but we weren’t and I’m thoroughly surprised no one came out to yell at us to get out.

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A disconcerting welcome.

I’ll preface the rest of this with how excited I was to go mountain hiking. I love it. I love the challenge, the introspection as you contemplate why I chose this activity, the sheer awe of being able to do it while so incredibly hung over, and of course the beauty of nature and the silence of it that kind of washes over you.

So I was super pumped about hiking in the Appalachians. I haven’t done any real “mountain” hiking since that time I bagged a Munro in Scotland a few years ago. But apparently we were just doing “flat” hiking. Honestly, I wasn’t too keen on this. I figured since we travelled so far for this trip that we’d do some real intense hiking and it bummed me out that we didn’t.

It was fun, but lacked any real challenge and was more of a stroll through the woods. We did stumble upon what the boys decided was an “civil war bunker” thing. I’m not sure if that’s what it was, but it was pretty cool. We opened up the top to find a ridiculously large spider, who wasn’t too keen to see us though and scurried away pretty quickly.

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On the drive back to Ottawa we stopped at Destiny USA (Syracuse, NY). Turns out my destiny was to buy a pillow at Macy’s because I may have thrown up on mine earlier in the day (road trip + moonshine = bad news bears).

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