I started blogging in 2008 with the intent on writing my love story with Mr. Right. A few months after our wedding, I began training for my first 5K and religiously tracking my food. As a result, I have pages and pages on my first blog of “Weigh-In Wednesday” posts.
Jay recently started a new strategy to work toward a healthy life, and I’m trying to draw inspiration from his progress. He gets embarrassed when I share, but I’m so proud of him – how he dropped a bad habit and replaced it with a healthy one all in the course of a week – I struggle to stay silent.
This past weekend my extended family celebrated two milestones – the second in honor of the first. My parents celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary, and wanted their branch of the family tree to join them.
My love of hiking began taking trips with my parents over a decade ago. Kelly, my sister, must have been away at college, because I only remember the 3 of us going on hikes.
Seeking to restore my sanity and refocus my thoughts towards writing, I attempt to find a quiet place to write at my local library.
Today’s post is being a bit different than normal. I’m currently laying on a rock in the middle of the GSMNP.
This morning I was at the right place at the right time. I got to witness a one friend encouraging another about how best practice self-care. When anxiety is the question, exercise is always the answer.
This past Friday, I had the holiday off from work and decided to hit the trail with my friend Gretchen. She’s on a quest to hike all 900 miles of trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and I invited myself to join her for part of the adventure.
I haven’t been hiking a lot lately, mostly doing shorter trails with my parents, and I’m just getting over a cold that kicked my butt for a couple of weeks. I asked Gretchen to take that into consideration when choosing our route, and she did a great job with the selection.
Our trek for the day was a loop, starting at the Little River trailhead, and taking Huskey Gap to the Laurel Falls parking area. Since the route was a loop instead of an out and back, we met at the end to leave her car behind, then I drove us to our starting point.
The park service is doing restoration in the Elkmont area, where our hike begins. In the early 1900s, summer lodges were built in Elkmont. Just recently, the park started taking most of the abandoned structures down, and returning the land to its natural habitat. A select few lodges will remain, as a reminder of part of the area’s past.
The first 2ish miles of our hike followed the river, so the incline was minimal. The weather was overcast and drizzly, but the sound of the rushing water made for happy hikers.
We saw a couple of other hikers on this trail, but for the most part we had the loop to ourselves. Good thing too, because we got a little goofy at times. I’d had to ruin anyone’s attempt to find serenity in the park.
At the Huskey Gap junction we turned left, and I can’t recall seeing another person until we got back to the car. We did, however, see wildlife. I noticed the chipmunk as I attempted to climb over a downed tree in the middle of the trail. A bit further up, I had to be told to stop (both walking and talking) when Gretchen saw a couple deer just off the side of the trail.
Gretchen has a YouTube channel where she posts her adventures, and I got to be an “on air” guest for the production. One thing I enjoy about hiking with Gretchen is that – even if it is for a video or a Facebook post – she has a knack for finding those things others might miss along the way.
About midpoint of the hike, we finally got a glimpse of sun. The views were few and far between, but we did manage to hit the sun being out and the open view a time or two.
Gretchen and I disagreed on the importance of laffy taffy in one’s life, contemplated the perfect way to eat and Oreo, and shared a chocolate covered peep. We disagreed on the effectiveness of the chocolate treat. (Don’t waste your time or money, stick with the original peep!)
At the final trail junction, we turned left for our final 3 miles. Unfortunately, the trail to the right is still closed because of damage from the Chimneys 2 fire in November of 2016.
This last stretch is the only incline to speak of on this route. I’m not a huge fan of ending on a climb, but given the relative easy of the rest of the hike I didn’t feel like I was in a position to do much complaining. After all, any day in the park is a good day!
In case you haven’t noticed, things have been quiet around here lately. I found myself focused more on blogging and less on actually writing. Continue reading
I’ve taken a bit of a break from racing this year. Since I began running in 2009, I’ve used training for events as a way to motivate myself to keep at it. My race tally stands at 22 half marathons (13.1 miles) and 4 marathons (26.2 miles). Continue reading