I’ve not been able to keep up with my 1-a-week blog goal. Too much going on right now, as I alluded to in my last post. I’ve been at my new job for a month tomorrow, so my brain is filled with processing all sorts of new names, places, procedures, and ideas. The kids moving up to new classrooms at school has been a small adjustment too. Asher finally moved on to sippy cups, so I washed my last bottle (ever?! til grandkids?!) this past week. We also had house guests–a dear friend, one of my best friends actually, JL, an Army crew teammate, AB, and one of my besties from high school, KW. So it’s been a bit busy! Finally getting time to download pics and sort out my thoughts.
JL & I stayed up late the night she arrived, and it was amazing to see how the years apart just melted away, and we picked right up where we left off. AB came over the weekend, so the 3 of us gossiped and shared and laughed until the wee hours of the morning…
Which made Father’s Day a little tough… I got about 3 hours of sleep before my two “alarm clocks” (aka Gabe & Asher) woke me up at the usual 5:30-6 AM. So despite not making my husband breakfast in bed, I hope I made up for it with a handwritten card (which I know, most guys don’t care about cards!), pizza & beer for dinner, and a new [expensive] gun. He got some well-deserved rest time. I am so blessed to have such an amazing husband, and he’s the greatest daddy for our boys. I did a little tribute to him on Facebook with some of my favorite pics of him and the boys:
The next day was possibly the best part of JL’s visit: our hike to Hanging Rock State Park. I took half a day vacation and we headed up (45 min away from here) after lunch on Monday. I had directions and a recommendation from a former co-worker, so we decided on doing the Moore’s Knob Vertical trail, to get the best views. The trail starts by the lake, which is gorgeous (and reminded us of Lake Popolopen, NY)…
…goes thru the campground areas (where we took a wrong turn and walked 1/2 mile out of the way, but no worries–a nice park ranger pointed us to the correct trail and we were back on our way), then passes by a lovely little mountain stream:
After that, we climbed up and up… and up & up some more. My legs were approaching muscle failure. My buddy who recommended the trail said he counted over 625 steps. And the steps are rock!
Needless to say, we sweated our butts off, but it was well worth it:
I schlepped my Canon 60D and two lenses (50mm was on the camera, and the Tamron 16-24mm wide angle lens), specifically because I knew it would be worth it! Otherwise I’d be saying “I wish I had brought my camera!” and I hate when that happens. It also gave me a way to carry my water and Gatorade, because it was in the 90’s and I didn’t want to keel over from dehydration. All pics from the Canon (except this first selfie), both from the tower and the mountain itself:
I didn’t feel like Photoshopping any of these, so they’re all straight out of my camera (or some, out of my iPhone). I did Instagram a few, so the one of me by the stream has a filter. Otherwise, I’m just too tired and short on time.
Took nearly an hour (57 min) with our wrong turn to get to the top, and my watch read 2.28 miles. Now to not twist an ankle on the way back down…
The conversation never lagged… we just chatted & chatted. It felt refreshing to be out in nature, as I hadn’t hiked since ruck-marching in the Army (which JL and I both agreed, isn’t much fun!) The best part was catching up with her, and just relieving the stress through our words, and with the physical exertion. These wild rhododendrons helped too 😉
In the end, the day of hiking refreshed my soul, and that’s exactly what I needed! Thank you JL, for sharing this wonderful experience, and your passion for hiking!, with me.
Here’s the trail highlighted on the map. I’ll definitely be going back again!