Monthly Archives: August 2016

Project 50: White Water Rafting

White Water Rafting

I have been visiting Ohiopyle for the last ten years. In that time I did not visit Fallingwater and Kentuck Knob nor venture down the famous Youghiogheny River for the famous white water rafting that Ohiopyle is known for.yough riverIt was time to remedy that!

The name Ohiopyle was derived from a native american indian word “ohiopehhla” meaning white frothy water.

Coach Hanks was a long time fan of white water rafting and we got two more Neo Trailer’s (Slim and Baby Sasquatch) to venture out for white water rafting. I’ve always heard great things about whitewater rafting, and everybody I’ve ever known that’s done it has raved about it. Whitewater rafting can be done all over the country – whether that be on california river trips, in the waters of Colorado, or of course here in Ohiopyle.

Of course we went running before. Our raft trip didn’t begin until 11 am, that gave us all morning to run! (Mine was in the form of a hike, not a run.)

mile zero Flag on Trail

Lower Yough

We booked our trip through Wilderness Voyageurs. Our trip “Captain” was Sasqatch. Maybe his real name, maybe not. We got the briefing on how to bundle ourselves into the life jackets, helmets and paddle issued. Then we were off to the Yough! (Pronounced Yock or Yuck.)

The lower loop of the Yough is very user friendly to the white water rafting companies. It’s 7.5 miles of Class III-V rapids. In addition, you would go through a rapid and then have time for some slow water to recover and get your next instructions from the guides, called a “drop and pool river”. Our trip was called “Guide Escorted” which means guides were in kayaks and rafts around us, but we captained our own boat. We had about six guides out with us on the water.

One guide would go over how they wanted us to take the rapid, like go to the right of that big rock, paddle, paddle, paddle. On some rapids, a guide would stand on a huge rock, and we would watch his hand signals to let us know when to paddle forward, when to stop paddling. The guides knew what they were doing!

white water raft

I was a bit scared in the first couple of rapids. Hence my look in the photos taken at the second rapid! I was determined to just paddle paddle paddle and get us through the white water.

concentration on raft

I started to relax a bit more and then started having fun. white water raft It was a hot day on the Yough, but there was time to jump off the raft and do a bit of a swim. It seemed about the time I was getting comfortable on white water our journey was over!

I would recommend Wilderness Voyageurs for your trip on the Yough. One, the Wilderness Voyageur Store is open year round. I like to give a little shout out for the business that is open in winter. I know, because we’ve been over winter time running out of Ohiopyle. Two, the guides were friendly and knowledgeable. I felt very safe following their directions and commands as we rafted down the Yough.

Have you gone white water rafting? Would you go again?


Sunday-Day One Vegetarian Project



Vegetarian Day OneI will be attempting to blog about each day of vegetarian eating-what I ate, how I felt.  I will  post some poorly taken pictures too, to keep it real.


breakfast day one

Breakfast was a veggie omelot with hot pepper cheese and some afterthought cherry tomatoes.


butternut squash crostini

Lunch was a bit small. Crostini with butternut squash, goat cheese, carmelized onions.


Black bean brownie

I finished lunch off with black bean brownies and protein ice cream. Protein ice cream was made with one scoop of vanilla protein powder, cocoa powder, powdered peanut butter, and frozen bananas. It was a bit grainy but delicious!


tofu stir fry

Dinner was rice and tofu stir fry. Tofu was a bit bland and I added some hot sauce to it. I also ate some watermelon-feta cheese salad and felt a bit over stuffed.

watermelon feta salad


How I Felt

I felt fine. I ate less today but I had things to do all day long-watch the men’s marathon, go for a bike ride, clean my bike, make some images for my blog, catalog 4 cases of wine we bought last week, open up a new camera that I bought last week, etc.  Weekends are busy!

Monday is a full day of work. Let’s how how I do on Day Two!

Parkersburg Half Marathon Report

Half Marathon

This was the 30th year of the Parkersburg Half Marathon. The City of Parkersburg has had a long time to really perfect a well organized race. Although it is held in the middle of August under hot and humid conditions, there is a big turnout of fans and spectators on the course. I would guess there was at least 10 to 15 volunteers at each water stop.

Although I was running at the back of the back, there was still ICE available at each water stop. I started taking ice at the second water stop, telling each volunteer “There’s no need to be miserable out here.”

I carry my own hand held in 1/2 marathon and marathons. That way I am not drinking on anyone’s else schedule. I drank water out of my bottle and also squirted ice cold water over my head, neck, shoulders, wrist and elbow points. Anything to try and keep myself cool.

I have run this half marathon in 2004 and 2007. Usually the sun is a killer out there. Today there was fog and it was overcast. Thank goodness!

Parkersburg half marathon

Parkersburg Half MarathonIn all fairness, the half marathon route is..pretty boring and ugly.  The first mile or two is through a really nice old neighborhood, then we get on the highway for a mile or two.

Parkersburg half marathon

There really are not any great views, and some roads we hop on are industrial and decrepit old houses.

selfie half marathonI made a road friend about mile 6. This was her first half marathon and she thought we could finish in about 3 hours, although she wanted to finish around 2.45.  I told her she had picked a tough half marathon for her first.

Half Way Point

I didn’t pull out my music until the 10K  mark, my rules, and the music picked me up and I left my new running friend behind.  I think it’s valuable to have something to look forward to, and the music helped get me through the second half of the race.


I was really worried abut my knee given my extra weight and lack of training.  But I stopped worrying about my knee about mile two since I was now in heat management mode. Amazing what a new problem can make you forget about your old problem!

I started to lose the juice about mile 11.  I have not been running or riding in any sort of training capacity. I was just starting to get very tired.  I developed a bit of a calf cramp in my left leg, and started walking. Then my right knee started to hurt!

Oh shit! Just go back to running. And by running I meant ultra style: run to that light pole, walk to next point I designate, run again.  Pour water over my head.

final bridge half marathon

It is a nice downhill finish, and I was pretty pleased to see I was finishing in sub three hours.  I thought it would take me about three hours, and I finished in 2.49.

Finish 558 of 662

Female 50-54 23 of 31

 I was tired after this! I have to get my mind to remember that I am back to being a “newby” in distance running.  Although I know how to run long distances, my body is not in the shape for conquering the long distances right now.
But that’s what training runs are for!



Project 50-Going vegetarian for a Week


Another way to step out of the comfort zone is try something new. Going meatless. For a day.  Wait, that’s easy.  I can go meatless for one day.

What about one week?  My husband has been stressing about this a bit. Since he does most of the cooking.

Going Vegetarian for One Week

My rules:

No meat. I am going to include no fish with this.


I am going to eat dairy and eggs.  This is too hard to do for a first timer to give up CHEESE.  If my husband cooks something in a meat stock, so be it. I’m going to eat it.  This is my challenge, not his, but he does the 99% of the cooking. (He’s pretty freaked out by this.)


I think I will try and give my readers a day by day post on what we cooked and what I ate, and how I felt. And maybe pictures!

This Project 50 begins on Sunday August 21! Stay tuned!!


Project 50-Grow Some Awesome Sunflowers

sunflowersOne of my simpler Project 50 was to grow some awesome sunflowers.  Sunflowers may be my favorite summer flower. Daffodils are my spring favorites.  Sunflowers are not difficult to grow.

sunflower seedlings

But my idea of growing awesome sunflowers and what I actually grew were two separate experiences.

My vision looked like this: 

imagined sunflowers

What I grew:


Some of my sunflowers were planted outside of the fence,  hence easy targets for deer. In this location they didn’t get much attention or water.

lower sunflowers

My “Elf” perception: elf sunflowers

My “Elf” sunflowers were planted in the raised beds around the house. But they were growing BIG and crowding out vegetables we could eat.  I transplanted them into pots. The Elves did not seem to like this, angrily (I think) turning leaves brown.

sunflowers I also had to rely on the Hubs to water a non-eating plant (he only likes plants he can eat).  I think the Elves struggled a bit.

porch sunflower

I never got to the point where I could harvest a nice bouquet of sunflowers.  The birds were already (yay to them!) eating the sunflower seeds.


I cheated a bit. I added some black eyed susan flowers (which grow everywhere!) to my vase.

sunflowersl really wanted more! more! more! sunflowers.  I will try again next spring to grow that magnificent field (or photoshop a little patch to look like a big field.)

Grow any new flowers this year? How did your flowers do this summer?

Staying in the Moment for the Perseid Shower

Another Project 50 completed! I saw the Perseid Shower!


The original plan was to take my tent up to the high point of our property. I mowed a spot for it last week.

tent spot

Then I let the husband talk me out of it with mentioning the heat, the bugs, etc.  So I just set the alarm clock for midnight and slept in the house.

The moon was still high,  I reset the alarm  for 1250 am. The moon was still in the sky, but heading toward setting.  There was some light pollution from the west, but I was too lazy to go walking up to the top of the hill in the dark.

Whee! There went a light! Perseid, we are on!  I settle down in my lawn chair.

And wait.  Then I move the chair to another spot in the yard. And wait. Okay, there’s number two and three!

Watching for meteors is very much an in the moment activity.   It takes patience.

I’m not sure what I was expecting.   Reading about the Persiede Shower on line made it sound like this was going to be the best shower ever.  There could also have been too much light pollution, and I couldn’t simply see the shooting stars.

It wasn’t a bad time outside.  The bugs were all singing at the top of their lungs, the heat and humidity wrapped itself around me like a natural blanket, but it wasn’t an unpleasant warmth at 1 am.

After a short time, a buzzing started around my ear and the first mosquito bit me.  I decided, since I had to get up for work in three hours, to head back inside.

My count? 15 shooting stars for 30 minutes. I guess that wasn’t bad, given that on peak dates the sky show can produce 60 to 100 meteors an hour.

Did you watch the Perseid Shower? What was your shooting star count?

An Unexpected Side Trail


Side Trail

I traveled down the asphalt bike trail after work for some exercise. I wanted to try and get some better pictures of the yellow water lilies.

water lilies

I decided to ride the bike down the little path beside the duck blind. I’ve never run down this, just usually focused on my little pain on the asphalt path.

bike on trailI rode across the little swamp/marshlands.

marshlandTo  my astonishment, the trail didn’t end there, it continued up the hill.

There’s nothing better than unexplored trail! This little trail dumped me onto a dirt road, which intersects the bike trail.  channel I biked down it a bit, then went back to the trail head and decided to keep going on the open space. since I saw no “no trespassing” signs, I figured I was still on public space.

Pet GraveI found this sweet little pet grave.  I think maybe  Kummar was a dog?

private cove

I biked along the marshland cove. I spotted this iconic little symbol of summertime, the rope swing over the swimming hole.

tree ropeIt was a hot humid day. No other humans were out here. After a very long day of incessant noise and talking at work, it did my soul good to be alone and be in the moment.

viewI still didn’t get any close ups of the water lilies though!