July has arrived and so has the heat of summer.  The park and the valley have seen some scorching weather, and now the trails are starting to fill in with dense greenery.  I'll start to plan hikes higher in elevation as an attempt to avoid the heat.  But not this week.  I had the privilege of participating in good friend, Matt Ayre's wedding, all the way up in Pennsylvania!  It was the first time I had been north of the Mason-Dixon and away from the mountains in several months.  I met up with my parents again and we were able to find some time to visit the Gettysburg National Military Park.  I hadn't been there in over a decade, and the entire area is so surreal.  This was the anniversary week of the famous battle, and we managed to take the walk of Pickett's Charge across the open field, a two mile roundtrip hike...though I can't count those miles.
          As more friends and family arrived, we were crazy enough to pay a visit to Chocolate World at Hershey the morning of the wedding.  Oh my, if you have a sweet tooth and walk in on an empty stomach, you could easily spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on all the different kinds of chocolate madness.  I got enough for me to bring back to the mountains and enjoy.  The wedding itself was a joyous occasion, with a beautiful ceremony and an eventful evening reception.  Congratulations to Matt and Charity and may their years together be blessed.  It was great to see and catch up with friends and family, but it didn't take long for me to get that itch to return to the mountains.

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