Birthday Walk at Ridley Creek

Last Friday was my birthday, woohoo!  Because we were entered to run in the Trinity 5K at 9AM Saturday morning we kept Friday’s celebrating pretty low key.  We got breakfast at Manhattan Bagel (my favorite) and worked a full day while hydrating like crazy for the race.  After work we took a nice walk with Bailey at Ridley Creek State Park before eating a pasta dinner and getting a good night’s sleep.  Here’s a photo of my Ridley Creek walking buddies… the perfect birthday companions!  🙂

380 Matt and Bailey

The weather was gorgeous during our walk.  Since we weren’t planning on doing any running in the park I brought my camera along to capture the beautiful autumn colors and my favorite photo subject, Bailey.  Here are a few of the photos I took:

Bailey hasn’t been to Ridley Creek State Park since I hurt my foot in late September.  She was so happy to be out and about again!  She was sporting her new ‘walkeez’ fleece harness and she paused for lots of photo ops.  She’s such a good dog!

Bailey

Hiking in the park with Matt and Bailey was the perfect way to spend my birthday.  What’s your idea of the perfect birthday afternoon?

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A Word A Week Challenge: Silhouette

I don’t usually participate in the “A Word A Week Challenge” but this week’s photo challenge topic was too good to pass up, especially since I just uploaded the perfect photo today!  This week’s challenge is Silhouette:

Bailey at Promised Land State Park

That’s Bailey gazing out over the “upper lake” at Promised Land State Park in Pennsylvania’s Pocono Mountains.  I was going through these photos today because I am planning on doing a post on Promised Land very soon.  Stay tuned for more photos, info and a trail map!

The A Word A Week Challenge is run by Sue over at A Word in Your Ear.  Thanks for giving me an excuse to post this photo of Bailey’s silhouette, Sue!  🙂

Ridley Creek State Park

In honor of my 100th post (yes, it’s my 100th post!) I’m going to feature one of my very favorite hiking spots ever:  Ridley Creek State Park.  “Ridley Creek,” as we call it, is a 2,600 acre park located in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, approximately 15 miles west of Philadelphia.  It also happens to be about 2 miles from our house which makes it a very convenient place to enjoy nature while getting some exercise!

Ridley Creek State Park Map (TheLittleGSP.com)

Matt and I both grew up in this area so we’ve been coming to Ridley Creek State Park with our families since long before we met one another in college.  Come to think of it, we both spent SO much time here as kids that it’s actually pretty likely that we unknowingly passed each other on the bike trail or splashed around in the creek together at some point in our childhoods.

Ridley Creek features miles of secluded hiking trails, multiple family-friendly picnic areas, and a 4.5 mile paved trail.  The paved trail is popular with walkers, runners, and bikers.  The trail has mile-markers every tenth of a mile and the scenery along the way includes thick woods, cornfields, deserted 19th century stone houses, and, of course, Ridley Creek itself.  Matt, Bailey, and I walk this trail fairly often.  Most recently we went on Day 14 of my mile-a-day “Streak” and the next day I was definitely feeling the combined effects of the hilly 4.5 mile walk and my morning mile!

In addition to the paved trail, Matt and I also enjoy hiking in the much more secluded northern section of the park.  This area is usually utilized by horseback riders but we started to frequent it after discovering an off-road hunter’s parking lot (1) near our house last February.  The 4.25 mile trail can be a bit difficult to follow if you don’t know where you’re going but I love how sections of it makes you feel like you’re 100 miles away from civilization or, better yet, like you’ve gone back in time.  In fact, if you follow the gas pipeline right-of-way up the (very steep) hill you’ll actually come across a forgotten cemetery that hails back to the 1800s.  Cool!

If you’re ever in Delaware County looking for a good place to take a hike I’d definitely recommend stopping by Ridley Creek State Park.  If you have been to Ridley Creek before please let me know what your favorite trail is in the comments section below!  🙂

Related Links:

Okehocking Preserve

I just realized that there’s another topic that I’d like to write about in addition to recipes and Bailey updates — places we like to Hike!

Okehocking Preserve in Willistown Township, PA

Matt, Bailey and I have explored parks and preserves all over Delaware and Chester County, often in pursuit of geocaches. We have several favorite places that we like to hike including Okehocking Preserve in Willistown Township, PA. Okehocking is bounded by West Chester Pike to the south and Delchester and Garrett Mill Roads to the east and west, respectively.  It’s full of rolling hills and mowed hiking trails and, best of all, it’s less than a mile from our house.  From the top of one of the hills you can actually see our house!

You can see our house from this hill at Okehocking (and no, it's not the stone one...)

In addition to the beautiful landscapes Okehocking also has an off-leash dog park.  Unfortunately for Miss Bailey the park is not fenced so she’s not going off-leash there anytime soon, but it is fun to watch the other dogs run around.  Last year we saw a female GSP at Okehocking and after a quick chat with her owner realized that she was Bailey’s sister!!!  Bailey was born in New Jersey so finding her littermate romping at a park a mile from home was pretty crazy.

We discovered Bailey's sister, Kona, playing in the off-leash park at Okehocking

Just in case it seems that we only visit Okehocking in the dreary winter months, here’s a photo from last fall.  Enjoy!