Day 17: 4th of July

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Red Eft

Red Eft

We started our first rest day in the Poconos with a short walk over to the ski hill near Susan and Peter’s house.  We saw some cool red newts along our route.  Apparently they are called “red efts” and they are the juvenile life stage of the eastern newt.  Colorful little things!  After that I took a short soak in the hot tub at the house since my right shoulder has been hurting since yesterday.

Joe, Leslie and their Spanish exchange student, Maria, arrived and we all took a walk along the Lehigh river nearby.  It was a nice day and since we’re at a slightly higher elevation here in the Pocono Mountains, it wasn’t too hot.  Along the path we found a few blueberry bushes, which eventually turned into an entire field of blueberries!  In no time we were all spread out searching for ripe blueberries to put in our plastic bags (or mouths).

White mushroom

White mushroom

To celebrate the 4th of July we decided to drive over to the small nearby city of Wilkes-Barre (pronounced “Wilks-Barry”) to watch fireworks in the park.  Have you heard of Wilkes-Barre?  No?  Well, it’s a small city on the outskirts of Scranton, PA.  Which itself is such a hum-drum place that they located the comedy “The Office” there.  I admit I wasn’t expecting much from their fireworks show.  However, I was pleasantly surprised and the fireworks were actually quite good.  Kudos to Wilkes-Barre!

Blueberries

Blueberries

On the drive home I was thinking back to the 4th of July on my Alaska bike trip and the difference from seven years ago and today.  That was a good 4th of July, although a little more solitary.  Today was another good July 4th and I feel lucky to be celebrating it with Caroline and our friends.

 

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