Monday, March 23, 2009

Crab legs, nieces and (of course) hiking

I am back from The Grand Pennsylvania/Ohio Tour of 2009, and I’m already missing my family, my husband’s family, and all the amazing food we consumed in 9 days.
We started in eastern PA, where my husband originates. There, we spent several days with my in-laws, relaxing and eating seafood (including the biggest crab legs I have ever set eyes on). We also braved the much-colder-than-the-desert weather and “hiked” in downtown Bethlehem. Here is my father-in-law and my husband on our trek:

Ok, ok, we shopped at jewelry stores and bought chocolate from a candy shop. But the streets ARE pretty steep.
Then we packed up our rental car and drove to my hometown of Cleveland, where we met our adorable and cuddly seven-week-old niece and played hide-and-seek with our rambunctious 2-and-a-half-year-old niece. (I think my heart literally jumped out of my chest when Cara froze in the middle of a rousing game of “what’s in the kitchen cupboard” and with wide eyes said, “I love you, Uncle Mike.” It just doesn’t get any better than that.)
I also answered a lot of my family’s questions about our Grand Canyon hike. I got another donation (Thanks, Grandma and Grandpa!) and sold another pin (Thanks, Mom!).
They’re impressed with all the fundraising Kelly and I are doing, and even more impressed that we’re going to hike at least 12.2 miles at the Canyon (possibly more than 14 miles, if our legs can handle it!). They’re proud of all we’re doing to get the word out about leukemia and lymphoma and that we’re raising thousands of dollars to help find a cure.
I think they were also impressed at my dedication to the training. I didn’t want to go a week without hiking, so to tide me over, I tried to simulate the trails on my parents’ trusty treadmill. I cranked the “incline” up as high as it would go and “hiked” my little heart out in the basement.

But I also wanted to experience hiking in Ohio, so we visited Garfield Park and hiked a 2-mile loop trail. Here I am with my parents and brother at the start of the trail:

It was a cold (but pretty) hike.

And look, a creek!

But now I’m back in Phoenix and ready to dive back into fundraising and desert hiking.
Tomorrow, I’ll meet with the folks at Greek Wraps to hammer out the details of our fundraiser. On Thursday, Kelly and I will hike with our coach to prove to him that we’re in awesome shape and that we are (nearly) ready for the Canyon. On Saturday, we’ll hike with our team and then sell concessions at four different Little League games, and then on Sunday, Kelly and I will hike on our own.
Wish us luck on our busy week!

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