Still Love the Flat Lands

I truly believe that where you live for the first 18 years of your life, shapes you as a person.  You can live somewhere else the rest of your life, but when you go back to the beginning, it is still “home.”  We just spent a week in the Midwest – my “home” for the first part of my life.

Now that I have finally embraced the mountains, people don’t understand why I still see the appeal of the flat country.  Here’s one reason.

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The clouds, the sunset, the stretch of road that goes on forever, those things represent home to me.

We had a fantastic trip visiting family and friends and enjoying the beauty along the way.

Whether it was the skyline view of Cincinnati from our balcony. . .

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a field of corn. . .

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or my brother/sister-in-law’s flowers . . .

 

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we enjoyed the environment very much.

A Midwest trip would not be complete without a “sleep over” with my buds.

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These ladies have been in my life for ages, and when we get together, it is pure joy!

The heat, humidity, and lack of mountains will keep me from moving back, but I’m grateful for my Midwest upbringing, which started right here.

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Do you feel that your life was shaped by your roots?

Sunday, Funday

Most of our Sundays are spent exploring.  We love finding back roads and getting lost.  Often times we are on a mission to find trail heads, or maybe just looking for interesting roadside attractions, like this one that we found this morning.

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Today, we were looking for an AT (Appalachian Trail) entrance for a hike to Kelly’s Knob.  We also came prepared to hike said trail, having read that it was an easy 4 mile out and back with just 500 ft. elevation gain.  What they failed to mention, was that that 500 ft. gain happens all at once!

Up, and up, and up, we went, until it finally leveled off and gave us some relief.  We met a lot of AT hikers, it’s about that time that through hikers are reaching Virginia.  After about an hour we reached our destination.

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The view was mostly blocked by the trees, but we got a glimpse of the ridges beyond.

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And a solid place for a rest and a snack.

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I was intrigued by this tree, it had a haunted quality to it.

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And the flowers were quite special.

Good hike, no snakes, perfect weather, and I feel great!  Dare I say (i’m back)?  Don’t want to jinx it.

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How do you spend your Sundays?

Completing the Triple Crown

No, this isn’t about horse racing.  If you have hiked the Appalachian Trail, or live in Southwest Virginia, you know that the Triple Crown refers to  3 popular hikes on the AT.  McAfee’s Knob – by far the most popular and most photographed spot on the AT – it even appeared in the movie “A Walk in the Woods.”  The second one is Dragon’s Tooth, the tough hike that I finally completed earlier in the Spring.  Finally, the lesser talked about, but gaining in popularity is Tinker Cliffs.

I’m proud to say, that as of yesterday, JG and I have completed all three!

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It was a beautiful day for hiking, and we got an early start with some good friends.

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But thanks to all the rain Mother Nature has dumped on us lately, it was probably one of the muddiest hikes I’ve ever been on.

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We took the Andy Layne Trail which takes you through private land, with cows and bridges and snakes!

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This little guy was sunbathing at the end of the first bridge, while I called for backup.  He eventually slithered away from the steps so we could move on.

The cliffs are spread out over about a half a mile, so there’s room for everyone to find their special nook to enjoy the incredible view.

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That’s me, living the good life.

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The rock formations were also photo worthy. . .

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As was the mountain laurel,

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and other interesting things along the way, like this tree – what??

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After returning home, our friends fixed dinner for us!  How wonderful, especially since they were just as tired as we were.  Thanks Fred and Cindy – look forward to hiking with you again.

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After 8 miles, I thought I would feel worse than I do today.  Physical Therapy is where it’s at my friends.  Have a lovely weekend!

 

Mother’s Day Hiking

Looks like all that physical therapy paid off, as I was able to get out and hike with my daughter today, along with many other moms.  We had a fun filled weekend, starting with her coming up Friday afternoon, taking a road trip to visit friends on Saturday, and exploring a new trail today.

After spending the night in Fredericksburg, we headed out early onto the Blue Ridge Parkway.

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Stopping at a couple of overlooks.

Our hike of choice today was Crabtree Falls.  It is billed as the highest set of waterfalls east of the Mississippi.  We started at the bottom and followed the falls through many stairs and switchbacks.

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We could hear the rushing water throughout the hike, and there were many lookout spots to enjoy, and take selfies.

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It’s only 1.7 miles to the top, but there is a 1500 ft. elevation gain, so it is steep and challenging.  Not having hiked in 3 weeks, I huffed and puffed before we made it to the top.  Once there, we found a place in the shade and enjoyed a snack.  We waited patiently as a family were taking over the best viewing area.  Being Mother’s Day, there were quite a few hikers out (glad we got an early start), but these folks seemed oblivious to all the people waiting to take photos, like Lori and me.

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I finally just went down there and started taking some pictures.

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The view is of the Tye River Valley.

They finally left and we were able to grab a quick selfie before giving it over to the many others who had also been waiting.

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Rather than going straight down, we were encouraged to take the trail another mile to see a crab tree orchard.  Thinking this would be the namesake of the falls, we decided to go.  What we found was another parking lot/entrance, a road that went to the Appalachian Trail, and nothing else of interest.  So we added 2 miles, which was fine.

It felt so good to be out on the trail again after a 3 week sit out.  It ended up being a 6 mile trip, every thing in my body aches right now, but I don’t care.  It was the best Mother’s Day present ever!

Thanks Lori!

 

Absentee

Yes, we had a city wide election this week, and yes, all my favorites won, and yes, I worked the polls from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. , and yes, I celebrated with the winners – but no, that’s not what I’m writing about today.

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This is my car, all ready to go, with both pairs of hiking boots, socks, bug spray, hiking stick, and alas, my body has failed me yet again.  I have been an absentee from the trails for a couple of weeks.  It figures, now that spring is finally here and there are lovely days ahead, I’m temporarily sitting on the bench.  This time it’s my back.

But the good news is, I’m in Physical Therapy and water aerobics, and I hope to be out in nature again soon.  Meanwhile, I will live vicariously through all of you.

Happy Spring!

 

A Series of Unfortunate Events

My apologies to Lemony Snicket for stealing his title.  JG and I have been watching this delightful series on Netflix and it seemed appropriate given the trouble I’ve had all week in my blogging world.

It started Sunday, when I logged in to write about my weekend hikers.

IMG_20180414_093338When I tried to write a new blog all I got was a blank screen.  Having recently received emails from WordPress suggesting I upgrade, I figured it was time, and maybe they were locking me out until I did.  They suggested it might take a couple of days to switch to my new domain, so the blank screen kept appearing and I waited impatiently patiently.

I finally got very frustrated when I was no longer able to comment on other blogs.  Now I knew something was seriously wrong.  I tried “chatting” with WP reps, tried phoning them (no one answered), tried sending them an email (no reply) and finally I just texted fellow blogger, and friend, LB from Life on the Bike who put me in touch with Joe from The Visual Chronicle.  Joe sent me several suggestions, and of course it was the last one I tried that worked.  I simply had to clear my cache – well “simply” to some.  Thanks to Joe, I’m up and running again.  I love the blogging world!  Thanks Joe, you’re my new hero.

Two fun hikes this week, first with my working friends who can only come out to play on the weekend.  We did a lovely out and back on the Appalachian Trail.  Then my retirees and I went to my favorite Hungry Mother.

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On the trip home, as everyone was thanking me for being their tour guide, I jokingly said I considered this my “volunteer” work.  Between water aerobics, bridge, and hiking, I don’t have a lot of time for charity work – but I’m getting all these women out into the woods – so I think I will start putting that on my resume.

A friend mentioned to me last night that she loved seeing different faces on my hikes.  I never know who will show up.  I love that I have such a wonderful group, and that I can always find someone to go with me.

By the way, if you haven’t checked out “A Series of Unfortunate Events” on Netflix, I highly recommend it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

April Snow Brings out Hikers

Did not expect to see snow today.  We had some snow on Saturday, but it was mostly melted by Sunday.  So, we were a little surprised to arrive at Mountain Lake this morning for a leisurely hike, to see it covered in snow.

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Thankfully, we had all brought layers, and everyone was excited about hiking in the snow!  A first for some of us.

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It was a beautiful day, hardly any wind, and very well marked trails.  So we just enjoyed being back in the woods together.

It’s fun to see the mountains in the different seasons.  And the snow added an extra zing to the view, which was spectacular!

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These ladies did not even bat an eye when they saw the snow, I’m so lucky to have found such adventurous companions.

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