Recent Fun in Philly: Part 1

June 20, 2008

Man oh man, last week was trying. But here I am, on my amoxicillan for strep throat, feeling basically 100% great again. Thank god. I’ve learned a lot of interesting things about heat related issues that someone can have, and see them as more arrows in my quiver of outdoorsy knowledge to live by. For anyone else interested in learning about rehydrating because of illness or strenuous outdoor activity in heat, think about looking into oral rehydration therapy as a possible solution. Forget those sports drinks, this is the cheap, easy, and non-high fructose corn syrup way to do it.

Here’s a quick recap, with details, of the fun I managed to have before my immune system crashed.

Part 1: Gosh(en)! There are a lot of caterpillars here!

On Saturday June 6, 2008, we embarked on a shorter bicycle trip out to the Pine Barrens in New Jersey, specifically Goshen Pond in Wharton State Park. It’s about a 30-35 mile trek, each way, and the day was the second or third of the major heat wave that struck the North East. We took many breaks and drank lots of water, but this was not enough for me. According to maps of the area, one road would lead us from the mini-highway straight through the middle of the park, to the Ranger’s station doorsteps. Of course, when you see something that great you take it. Oh tricky tricky map. What it didn’t indicate is that this road stops being a paved road, becomes a dirt road, and then when you’ve gone far enough on bicycle to not warrant turning around, it becomes a sand pit road. A SAND PIT ROAD. Have you ever tried biking on sand? It’s damn near impossible. We alternated between walking and biking, with the heat blazing down. When the road just seemed to go on forever and ever without ever reaching our destination, my body said enough.

My core temperature was so hot; I couldn’t cool down; water was not satisfying my thirst but I still drank it; eating wasn’t helping my lack of energy; I was starting to get woozy; sometimes my body would get goosebumps. Scary business. I felt very unlike myself and was trying not to hyperventilate about how scared I was. Kasy and our friend Robert went ahead to see how far we had to go, while Helen and I stayed with our bikes in the shade. I laid down on a sheet and tried to keep cool, even though my heart beat would not stop racing. They came back and told us that we were literally 100 feet from the road that would lead us to a creek. I mustered all the energy I had left to get there.

The water that saved my life

Boy was it worth it. Immediately cooled down and felt normal again so I could enjoy the rest of our weekend.

There were caterpillars everywhere at Goshen Pond. Covering all the trees, dropping out of the trees, etc. I tried a quick search online to find out if this is a natural occurence, an infestation, a possible hazard to the trees, but came up empty handed. Anyone know?? I’m so curious to find this out!


Well, lucky for me I find caterpillars kind of awesome and totally adorable. Seeing them as a kid was always a treat since there weren’t many around my house, though we did have lots of inch worms which are equally awesome and adorable by the way. Settling into our camp site, neighboring one occupied by Boy Scouts (this is the second camp trip where we’ve been neighbors to Boy Scouts. Weird.), we noticed that someone else had already claimed this site as home.

Lizard friend

He was found on the backside of the caterpillar covered tree that I was inspecting. Amazingly still, this lizard stayed motionless for a long time. I was able to get very close in order to take pictures until I looked away for not more than 20 seconds, during which he scuttled away into the brush.

The evening was filled with much needed relaxation. Still super hot and fairly humid, we avoided the actual beacharea nearby because of the trashy folk that had pulled their large cars up onto it, blasting bad music, and roasting things on grills. Not really our scene, you know?

So we stretched out, pulled out the new transistor radio we recently purchased, listened to NPR, and read. Kasy’s boss had found a chic lit book, Good in Bed, which Kasy immediately passed along to me. And, I’m kind of embarrassed to admit this, but…..I totally loved it. I’ve never read any “beach reads” or “chic lit” before but seriously, it’s mindless, bubblegum entertainment. Oh, and this one takes place in Philadelphia. It’s always awesome when references to “no name” places actually mean something to you, right? I wonder if this means a) my sense of decent literature has completely disappeared since graduating with a degree in English; b) my attention span has been reduced so much from working in an office that reading something this mindless is actually fun; c) I’m taking all of this too seriously and shouldn’t care if a trashy novel was entertaining. I should sing it loud and proud!. Hmm…the jury’s still out on which one is it…

Anyways, nothing too exciting happened during the evening. We recently purchased a few Ortlieb water bags and are still excited every time we get to use them (this was the second time). One of the larger bags has this nifty attachment on it that allows the waterbag to be turned over and become a shower. This is way cool. Kasy rigged it up to a tree with our nylon rope and all of us took turns standing underneath, washing our faces and wetting our hair in cold camping waterpump water. Highly refreshing.

Upon awaking the next day, after a measly attempt at sitting in front of a campfire and all realizing that we were way to tired to enjoy it, we found that the caterpillars have claimed our home as theirs. They were beginning to invade!

Caterpillars are all over the tent

But soon enough, after an ice cream break in Haddonfield and a brief nap in the garden outside of the Rutgers Camden Law school, we were back to Philadelphia. And yes, it was much hotter inside the city than outside of it. Silly “heat islands.”

View homeward

Up next…Part 2: where Andrea and her awesome Mom go to the Brandywine River Museum and bask in art and air conditioning

2 Responses to “Recent Fun in Philly: Part 1”

  1. knitography Says:

    Wow, I have never seen that many caterpillars in one place before! I’m a bit jealous, as I love them too. I wonder if the tree is that lizard’s personal caterpillar buffet?

  2. Sandra Singh Says:

    Wow what a trip. Be careful though we want you to be around to keep on knitting!

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