Biking, Hiking, and World Cup

This weekend our little town hosted Bike Virginia.  I put my bike away about 10 years ago (after an unfortunate spill) and have not looked back.  But JG still rides frequently, so we decided to stroll down to the park and have a look.

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Interesting use of our soccer goals. . .

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Oh well, I guess if they were soccer fans they would have been inside watching the fantastic comeback of Germany in the 2nd round of the World Cup.  What a game!  JG was ecstatic!  If they don’t win Wednesday, I’m going to root for Mexico, our closest neighbor who is doing pretty well so far.

After not hiking one single mile in the month of June (here it is the 24th already), JG and I finally got out there today for a quick hike on a previously ignored trail at Mill Creek.  It was so green and so beautiful and I think I discovered a place to take my novice hikers.  This 3 mile loop was quite easy with just a little incline here and there.  I think it might be a trail for mountain bikers.  I proved to be a true hiker today, having enjoyed the walk through the forest with no view!  Other than the forest and the creek that is.

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Lookout, Babe!

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Thanks to a few showers this weekend, the air was mostly cool and the sun was shining brightly!

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Back home we watched Poland lose to Columbia (boy Columbia had a lot of fans there).  Any soccer fans out there?  If so, who are you rooting for?

Hope you all got outside this weekend, Summer Solstice for us means the daylight will be lessening.

Happy Hiking – Biking – and World Cup to you all!

Thanks for visiting!

 

 

 

 

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?

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!

 

Sunny Sunday on the AT

After enduring a couple of brutally windy March days (in like a lion), we took advantage of the sunny, crisp Sunday and headed out on the Appalachian Trail towards Hay Rock/Carvin Cove.  The 8 mile round trip is a really beautiful hike.  Once you climb the 1640 feet elevation gain, you are mostly on a ridge.  There are several overlooks along the way.  With the sky as blue as could be, we got some good shots.

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There were definitely some obstacles due to recent winds.  We found ourselves climbing over, under, around and through.

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But we made our way to the Hay Rock in just under 3 hours, with a few stops along the way.

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Not sure how JG got these birds to pose for him.

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After all the short hikes I’ve done lately, this one really taxed my body.  Going down is always more painful.  But, spending time with the one I love in the beautiful outdoors, made it all worthwhile.

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Hiking Fun!

What a fun weekend!  The kids were home and we managed not one, but two hikes!  The weather was incredible, the fall colors are peeking out, and the company was the best!

Saturday we went to Gatewood Park and hiked about 4.5 miles around the lake.  The big question of the day was – Where’s the Lake?

Having just been there in May when the lake was full:

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You can imagine my surprise that this photo was taken from around the same spot.

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No matter, we still had an excellent hike that we all enjoyed.

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Even this guy.

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While that was fairly easy terrain with limited ups and downs, today’s hike provided a bit more of a challenge.

High Rocks on Sand Mountain, offers a good workout without being too strenuous, AND it’s only 2.7 miles round trip, AND it has views!

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So fun to climb on the rocks to grab the best views, but we also just sat and enjoyed being on the mountain top with no one else around.  We did not meet any other hikers until we were almost back to the parking lot.

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I’m glad these two learned to appreciate hiking while they are young – it took me 50+ years to realize how cool the mountains could be.

2 hikes in 2 days and 0 pain (knees – good, hip – fine, back – no problem) must be the water aerobics.  Can’t wait for next weekend.

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Know Your Limits

Ever since my daughter got engaged at the top of Dragon’s Tooth, it has been my desire to hike to the top.  My husband tried it once but did not make it to the very top as the last leg of the hike has you scaling rocks.

After a successful hike with my friends this week, I was determined that I could do this hike today.  Kids, dogs, parents with babies strapped to their backs, and people older than me have all managed to make this climb.

However, after I decided to do this, I read on a website that this hike makes McAfee’s Knob seem like a cakewalk (it isn’t).  This gave me pause, but I was mildly optimistic.

It was a gorgeous day and the nature along the way was worth stopping for photos.

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We had 6 or more creek crossings, some a little challenging after all the rain we’ve had recently.

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The first part of the trail, while challenging, is certainly doable.  It’s when you reach the Appalachian Trail (the last .7 miles) that it becomes quite a bit more difficult.

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This is an understatement!

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It was at this point that I was ready to give up, but after a short rest, we decided to go a little further.  We didn’t want to get this far and return without at least getting a good view.  So we soldiered on until I finally made the executive decision that I would not be able to get to the top.  By now my knee is aching, my hips are burning and all I could think of, was how bad it would be if I injured myself a week before we leave for Europe (where we plan to do a lot of hiking).  JG agreed, knowing that his previous attempt failed and he had serious doubts as to whether I should be trying it.  So this was our stopping point:

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Marked by this tree:

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Part of me wanted to cry, I did not want to admit my limitations.  But the smarter side of me was quick to recognize that I’m not 20 anymore.  It was still a very good hike – about 4 miles, and we made it through over half of the challenging part, so it wasn’t a total bust.

Have you ever found you couldn’t make it to the end of this hike, or any hike? Please share with me so I won’t feel so alone.

P.S. – who brings a boom box on a trail (blasting country music no less) – it was rude and obnoxious – next time get some headphones!!

Buddy Holly and Northern Iowa

Having just recently seen the play of The Buddy Holly Story, it was fresh in my mind as I went to visit family in Northern Iowa.  It is such a tragic tale and could have been avoided with a more experienced pilot, or just a little less storm.  The memorial in Clear Lake near the Surf Ballroom where he performed his last concert, has grown over the years.

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There is now a restaurant called Surf District Rock and Roll Grill016.jpg

which hosts some rock and roll artifacts, along with this fun image.

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While dining at this nostalgic cafe, my sister asked if I would like to go to the crash site.  Of course I said yes.  It’s not far from Clear Lake, IA on a couple of country roads and if you have proper directions, you can’t miss the trail head. . .

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marked by the signature glasses.  There is no admission fee, just the risk of muddying up your shoes from the 1/2 mile walk on a path that can present some challenges this time of year when the ground is soaked.

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If you are/were a fan of Buddy Holly, the Big Bopper, or Richie Valens, it does offer a touching tribute.

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Fans leave behind tokens (even a full beer) to show their love of these rock ‘n rollers.

But if you don’t have an old pair of shoes handy, you may just want to stick to the tribute in the Surf District of Clear Lake.

My two favorite things about Iowa are: the tenderloin sandwich

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and the sunsets.

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Cellphone photography doesn’t do it justice, but don’t you love the clouds?

Special thanks to my sister and brother for hosting me while my bathroom was being remodeled.  It’s always fun to hang out in my home state.