If you are reading this in the future, then let me explain that we are currently in some sort of Pandemic lock down due to COVID-19.
Just three months ago I could NEVER have imagined this. Nevertheless here we are: social distancing with two active daughters and power wheelchairs. They are anxious to get OUT.
As I noted in an earlier post, we started out walking more rural isolated areas and moved on to cemetary paths at churches. They were actually interesting and easy to navigate. But throughout the past 80 days we needed a little more variety. If you are reading this in the present, please check the regulations and hours before heading out.
I am going to share our four favorite paths in our area, thus far.
I’m certain our trailblazing days are far from over. Not all of them were close by, some were an hour drive for us. No matter, though, since C likes to say “take me for a drive…a Looooooong one.” What is it about a Sunday afternoon that creates the need for a long drive, anyway? I feared the long drives because of the necessity of finding and using public bathrooms. But once I constructed our five gallon bucket potty with trash bags a pool noodle, we were good to go! (pun noted.)
Early on in the Pandemic I decided to look at this time as a positive opportunity to find areas I had read about but hadn’t taken the time to visit. If I am honest, I am not feeling as positive about the opportunity. I look forward to having to plan for these hikes instead of all this spontaneity, ha.
Our first trip was to a lake in Lehigh County: Leaser Lake in New Tripoli, Pa. I first heard of this lake through a Facebook post referring to their accessible kayak launch.
I believe the purchase of our two kayaks, when the oldest daughters were teenagers, was one of our best purchases ever! We got a lot of bang from those bucks! But it wasn’t something we could do easily as a family, so I am fascinated by the prospect of accessible kayaking.
The drive was lovely! We made our way north and passed through the beauty found in the Trexler Game Preserve area. Actually, we were not too sure what our destination would be. Turns out there are three entrances to the park and we hit the wrong two first. Not a loss, though. Every area is beautiful and it was great to get a feel for the layout of the lake.
The lake was beautiful and definitely rolled out the welcome mat to those with disabilities. I was pleased to find the accessible bathroom area as well as picnic tables with wheelchair cut outs near the kayak area!
Another long Sunday afternoon we set out to find Blue Marsh Lake. An older daughter had told me about this lake popular for kayaking and boating. A bonus is the sandy beach.
I usually think of sandy beach lakes as only found in the Pocono area. It was another pretty drive of about one hour for us. We packed drinks, snacks and the ever popular potty bucket. This is another large lake with multiple entrances. After driving around a bit, we decided to park in the lot with the sandy beach.
This location gave us two quiet areas to walk with the wheelchairs that day: the sensory trail and down to the lake’s edge.
There were some other people, and park rangers, present but easily distanced. We were alone on the sensory trail. We decided to hit that first. It was even better than I expected. With hard packed fine gravel through wooded acres the girls had no trouble navigating the trail. We stopped at the different markers to read and learn a thing or two. With spring in the air we took in different blooms. I’d like to walk it again in the fall.
The beach was also lovely…but I’m sure it will be crowded in the summertime. Has anyone tried it? It may be a good option for us with inner tubes or life jackets since ocean beaches and waves require much more muscle and effort.
The weather turned chilly so we didn’t linger very long by the lake. We did walk a few more paved paths and noted several different handicapped parking areas.
Our most recent Sunday walk looked completely different. We went Northwest once again and checked out the paths at Rodale Biking and Fitness Park. It was beautiful in a much different way.
This park is special because it has a wide beautiful path, similar to a fresh paved highway, running through the —acres. The path is clearly divided into three lanes. Walkers to the left and bikes to the right…sometimes rollerbladers and scooters took to the middle. It’s a mix of wooded areas and playing fields. There is a nice play area to congregate in once social distancing is finished.
Because of the multiple even lanes we couldn’t help dreaming of returning with the girls’ running chairs. Their inclusion running group, Ainsley’s Angels, is currently holding a virtual competition. With each loop through the park being 1.2 miles they could earn so good points for their team! There was definitely a family vibe to this park as different ages went at different speeds using many modes of exercise!
Our weekends are not the only times the days feel long. With our current situation (Covid-19) closing opportunities to volunteer or attends events, we are often left seeking outdoor spaces during the week, too.
During a longgg drive towards Lancaster County through Berks and Chester counties, I noted people walking a trail along the Schuylkill River. (we basically got ice cream and went home that day).
A few weeks later I decided to retrace the beginning of the drive using the GPS and found the Pottstown Riverfront Park with a paved trail along the river.
This is another family friendly park butting up to the Pottstown campus of Montgomery county Community College. I’m guessing it will be bustling when schools reopen, but it wasn’t too crowded the day we stopped. The trails were evenly paved and a lap around is about one mile. Fortunately there are nice amounts of trees for shade along the River. We had packed a lunch and watched the boaters and those fishing for a little while. It was another nice respite from being in the house.