Only Hike 10 Into My 52HikeChallenge

It’s 19 weeks well into 2017 and I’ve walked only 10 hikes dialing in about 28 miles. I decided to enter the 52HikeChallenge last year and was also slow in 2016, ending at I think around 43 hikes. I am going to go try and hit the goal this year, and have plenty of catching up to do.

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52 Hike Challenge came out with some interesting new challenges this year in order to engage the hikers that have completed the original challenge one or two times at this point. Although I did not reach goal, I consider myself a seasoned hiker so I chose the challenge recommended for “2nd timers,” the Adventure Series.

Adventure Series

The Adventure Series is the Original 52 Hike Challenge with some objectives in mind. I have not completed these as of yet. It’s time to get walking!

  • 5 Waterfalls (even if they are dry) ✓
    As a matter of fact, Rickett’s Glenn State Park will get this done and done.
  • 1 Forest (if not possible, go to National Park/Site)
    Dreaming of a trip to Tennessee for this one.
  • 1 National Park, (Monuments, Preserves, Recreation Area or Historic Trail)
    Hmm.. where to next? Not to mention I want to see all 59 National Parks before my time is up.
  • 2 Hikes to bodies of water: Lakes, Rivers, or Ocean ✓
    I feel like this is automatically just done.
  • 1 Stewardship hike (pick up trash or join group to help with a restoration project)
    Join nearby trail clean-up group.
  • 1 Group hike (if you are regular to one group, visit a new group to meet new people)
    Go on a Venture Outdoors group hike! I have been meaning to…
  • 1 Introduce someone new to hiking (on an easy trail)
    I got this, who’s in?
  • 1 Sunset or Sunrise hike ✓
    I have a nice overlook in mind for this, already have tried sunset, will definitely get a phenomenal sunrise!
  • 1 Hike from your Bucket list (somewhere you have always wanted to go)
     This just means I have to go out west again. 
  • 3 Reflection hikes (journal at the beginning, middle, and towards the end of your challenge).
    This will be the hardest, but at least I’ll be writing content for this blog!
  • My own addition – a few hikes unplugged.
    Finally, I need to go for a walk in the woods with my cell phone or camera out of my hand, the whole time. Isn’t that kind of the point?

At the end of the day, this fun social challenge is something to consider for everyone that is always outdoors or wants to take the first steps to get outdoors more often. Plus, if we don’t get to #Hike52, we still win, duh! Who’s with me? What hike are you on?

Unplugged. A Soliloquy.

I find it almost amusing that this is my topic of choice as I type this on my iPhone when I should be sleeping. We have no wifi access in the house so why not use my data plan? My life revolves around digital as I manage that aspect of a marketing department, my attempt at a personal social brand, my dog’s Instagram… I take pictures with a DLSR camera that I am still learning to use. I find recipes for dinner on Pinterest, pay an app for an at-home gym program that I typically avoid using and go to Dr. Google for the answers to all my ailments and daily musings. Unplugged – not in the least.

Yet I need to write things down in a list or on a calendar or else I’ll forget them. Everyday there’s a little bit of me that tries to hold on to the past, before cellphones became attached to our bodies and we shared notebooks between classes with our best of friends to write to each other (#nostalgia). There are times when I have to look away from the computer, move to the corner of my office and stretch or stare out the window at the trees because my eyes are so strained. And there are moments when I am outside where the beauty of the moment can’t be caught on a cellphone or any Nikon.

My eyes, ears, skin, all my senses wander, wrapped up in a moment of awe realizing that I am seeing something that will never be able to be caught on camera – real three dimensional images with real depth and color that never come out right on the computer. Because there’s no wind on your face or the sound of water moving or the dead silence of looking over your first cliff of the Grand Canyon while there’s thousands of tourists around you. There’s no gut wrenching twist at the pit of your stomach when you drive into your first real mountain range where the earth surrounds you over ten thousand feet higher than the tallest mountain in your home state.

The feeling of experiencing something for the first time, with friends, by yourself, a moment of pure love or joy is what good photographers are constantly trying to capture. But you can really feel it without something blocking your face. It only makes sense, right?

I have a mission for myself and my wellbeing to unplug every now and again. I urge you to do the same. Don’t take your camera on a waterfall hike, turn your phone on silent and shove it in the bottom of you pack or (OMG) leave it in the car if you’re anywhere with friends, and leave that damn selfie stick at home if you’re going to a National Park. Make your eyes be the sole lens you will look though on your entire journey. Practice being present in the moment and really take the view in. Really feel it. It’ll be the most beautiful picture you will ever see.

 

(I’m serious about the selfie sticks.)

36-Hours in the Woods

I took 36 hours to do whatever I wanted this past weekend. No schedules, no meetings and some rough plans; it was liberating, to say the least. I haven’t taken that time for myself in a long time, and got to see some of the most beautiful places in Pennsylvania because of it.

Our first stop landed us in Jersey Shore, PA in hopes of finding an overlook to see Pine Creek Gorge, or – the PA Grand Canyon. This was on the way to Ricketts Glen with no out-of-the-way driving time. The south end of the gorge is situated right along this town, and after a few miles of envying the river-tubers, we realized we were taking a long road through the gorge and there was no overlook in the southern area. So, after a quick stop for lunch pointing and picking from signage (no Urbanspoon or Yelp reviews were used), we picked up and drove an hour north to one of the more popular overlook destinations – Leonard Harrison State Park. It was so beautiful – I can’t even imagine this place in the fall.

Gorge, Park, Mountain
Pine Creek Gorge (PA Grand Canyon) – Leonard Harrison State Park Overlook

After this short, out-of-the-way visit (worth it), we set off to Ricketts Glen State Park, tacking another hour onto our detour. It took us 6 hours to get there, but it was, quite simply, awesome. Settling in as car-campers, the trunk of the Kia was full. We were by no means minimalists, and I don’t think I ever will be.

Up at 6 am the next morning, we started the hike an hour later and took the easy Bear Walk Trail from Beach Lot 2 to Lake Rose Trailhead Parking, starting the Falls Trail over a mile into our hike with the 37-foot Mowhawk waterfall. We didn’t know what to expect, but the entire thing glorious, and one of the more frightening trails I’ve taken at this point (it really wasn’t that bad). The waterfalls came like waves once you saw the first one; you would walk out of earshot of the one behind you and begin to hear the rush of the next – and then you’d see a cliff in front of you. It was your next challenge to concentrate on climbing down and not be so excited that you’re shrieking like a girl in the middle of the woods… there was a reason we set out early enough that people wouldn’t be on the trail for our first few views, haha!

The trip as a whole was nothing short of amazing. I can’t wait to go on the next 36 or 48 hour trip with no time limits. The Mid-Atlantc is my oyster.