As much as I love Pittsburgh this time of year, when the weekend rolls around, all I want to do is get the heck out of dodge. On a sunny day that's above 35 degrees, there's no place I'd rather be than the woods. It gets to be a problem actually, blame it on eighteen years of my mom insisting my siblings and I stay outside if the weather was at all decent, but eventually I look around and realize that I have completely abandoned my apartment, laundry, and any and all projects in favor of staying outdoors as long as possible on the weekends.
This past weekend, Chris and I were excited for our plans to drive down to Ohiopyle for a much needed day hike, unfortunately nature wanted nothing to do with us and we woke up to intermittent downpours. So, we settled on the next best thing, which is Frick Park right here in town. And we actually got some sun, which was a nice surprise.
On days like this, I always carry a sweatshirt with me, especially if we're starting the day early. I can't get enough of the throwback style of this Obey sweatshirt from Lulu's, it reminds me of something you'd see in an 80s ski film. We're clearly on a groomed path here, but if we were to have actually gone on the hike we planned, I'd have a backpack with me, and would definitely not be wearing Birks. But, that's the beauty of a city "hike", where white shorts and sandals are perfectly capable of getting the job done.
A few people have asked me how we find our hiking spots, so today I'm sharing my tips for getting to know the outdoor opportunities that lie just outside your door:
Find a local hiking group: When we first moved to PGH, our then-neighbors introduced us to Venture Outdoors, a local outdoor discovery organization offering lots of guided group hikes and activities. We used to have a membership, but now we use their activities calendar to get ideas for where to go and what to do.
Explore Instagram and social media: If you're like me, you follow a lot of like-minded people on social media, so check out the places their tagging. This is how I found out about the wildflower trail at Raccoon Creek State Park.
Pick up brochures: Whenever we go to a new state park, I always grab whatever maps and brochures they might have available. These pamphlets contain valuable information for the area you're in, and often list similar attractions that are close by.
Hit up the library: Check out the travel section of your library for local literature and guidebooks.
Ask around: Ask friends and coworkers for their suggestions on places to check out.
If all else fails, just drive: Get a little lost, it's the best way to discover new places and things you may not otherwise stumble across. This is a habit left over from my solo-traveling days as an admissions counselor, when I had free time and was in a rural area (which was basically every day), I would just drive around. So when we were first in Pennsylvania, and even still today, sometimes I'll just explore by car.
Find your state parks: Find the state parks that are located near you and go!
+ Stay tuned tomorrow for the final installment in my summer weekend series with Lulu's