All about Adrenaline.

Checking the weight of my pack it was 10 pounds.  Manageable?  Sure!  My adrenaline was flowing fast and I was so excited to be hiking a little, tiny part of the North Country Scenic Trail/Finger Lakes Trail/Conservation Trail/etc, etc….  this trail had soo many names!  I guess it never occurred to me that trails often overlap each other.  I drove to my friend, Shelly’s house and we set off together to Allegany State Park.


We met up with a group of people from Hiking Adventures and that is when my nerves set in.  I never have hiked a real hike before. My head felt prepared, but I was afraid my legs weren’t.  The hike leader said the trail was 5.6 miles.  I quickly removed about 3 pounds from my pack and threw it all in my backseat!  I have never hiked a mountain that far before.  Flat trails, yes.  Not up a mountain. Technically, it may have been a hill, but it sure looked like a mountain!


The group started up the hill very quickly with me falling behind just as quickly.  Lucky for me, my friend, Shelly hiked with me and other people waited and chatted with us while I caught my breath.  The group stopped for a snack (to wait for me to catch up).  When I had two bites of my snack, the rest of them moved on.  My head had so many thoughts going through it – this isn’t for me, why don’t I do this for a living, I don’t like hiking, I love hiking, I wish I could do this forever, my legs are wobbly, I feel strong.  I knew one thing, I had to keep to going!  BECAUSE – my car was as the starting point and I needed a ride back to where I parked!  I knew they wouldn’t leave me, but it was funny thinking about it.image

My friend, Shelly is the most optimistic, positive person I know.  She made this hike so much fun. She sang songs, while I was just trying to breathe.  She talked about all the times she almost died on her wild adventures.  She once mountain biked on an Extreme trail and almost fell to her death!  She nearly was sucked up in muddy pond, luckily, she was wearing her flotation device and she didn’t sink all the way under.  Two huge men had to pull her up out of it!  She said it made a giant “POP” sucking sound when she finally got out!   She’s a daredevil!

Before I knew it we had arrived at the highest part of trail and Shelly reminded me to look at the ridge-line.  It was amazing!  Seeing the tops of the trees and the nearby mountaintops was incredible!!  I can’t even describe it!image

We caught up with the rest of group and stopped for lunch at a lean to, enjoying each other’s company for a little bit.  I actually peed in the woods for the first time in a long time!  A little cool air on my behind felt so GOOD!  I’m going to do that more often.  I need the practice.

The lean to was really neat for me to see.  I never saw one in person before and I must say, I was pretty stoked.  There were extra pots hanging, tarps hidden in the rafters for anyone to use that might need them and a little notebook that served as a log book.  Shelly and I read through some of the entries in the log book and they were FUNNY!  “Out of Beer, send more, ” was one of my favorites.image

We had a nice rest and I grabbed my hiking pole and set off for the rest of the trail.  It wasn’t all down hill from here, there was at least one more up, but I kept my head down and focused on the next two feet in front of me.  Near the end of the trail a very nice person created image a set of stairs to climb down that led to a meadow of sorts.  At this point I was so excited to be done, and so sad to be done.  This may have been my first up hill hike, but it won’t be my last.

I arrived home in the early afternoon and I couldn’t keep still. My muscles wanted me to keep moving.  My dogs, Royal and Maggie, played with me outside until I finally collapsed on the grass in my backyard, my dogs licking my face.  Adrenaline worn off, I knew I would sleep good that night!


Unusual Adventures and Lessons Learned

There are a number of little parks near where I work.  Many, I would have never known about if it weren’t for Geocaching!  Geocaching leads me to some of the most beautiful places.  I grab the cache then hike through the parks!

This week I went to a familiar park in the town where I work.  There is a beautiful waterfall and lovely creek with a hiking path that winds its way alongside.  Recently the daylight is ending earlier and earlier so after work I knew I had to hurry to the park, grab the cache and hike fast to get two miles under my belt before the sun set.  Finding the cache was super easy, hiking fast not so much.  The entire trail was filled with tree roots and actual trees that had fallen across the trail.  And the sun was setting in such a spectacular array of color I was totally distracted


Since it was such a warm, beautiful day there were many people enjoying the trail with me.  I really prefer solitude while I am hiking, but I had fun today greeting the different people I met.  There were young couples holding hands – no doubt looking for a quiet place to cuddle and parents with their little ones discovering sticks and rocks.  I was happy and then….a group of young people were walking toward me on the path.  I immediately noticed they were not prepared for the muddy, slippery path because they were wearing flip flops.  I decided to let them have the smooth path on the trail and walked to my left into a little muddy, squishy part.  As I passed them we exchanged greetings and then it hit me.  The wall of smell.  B.O.  The smell is not like any other.  I was cringing and struggled to find clean air even yards down the path.  Then it HIT ME AGAIN.  I was going to be hiking the AT.  There are no regular showers on the AT.  This smell is probably going to be on me and I will be offensive!  I laughed to myself realizing that everyone on the AT probably has a little or a lot of B.O. and I better get used to it now!  The people I met on the trail today probably weren’t wearing layers or were not prepared for the very warm weather we were having and dressed to warmly and well, they were sweating!   I am going to be immune to the smell of my own sweat, so please, if you see me, if I stink, please tell me so I can do something about it!

Sometimes when you are walking a path that many people use, you see very unusual things.  This hike was no different as I came upon a woman waving her hands and swaying to and fro.  Obviously concerned, I cautiously approached and discovered she was twirling a hula hoop in her right hand while spinning a hula hoop on her hips!  What??  On the trail, creekside, she was just doing her thing.  Enjoying the beauty of it all while hula hooping.  I couldn’t resist and asked her if I could take her picture.  She was happy to pose for me.  It is hard to see, but she does have the hula hoop around her hips!Hula Hoop Girl - Amherst State Park

There wasn’t much trail left so I sat on a rock and shared a couple doritos I had in my pack with a little chipmunk.  He stuffed the little tiny pieces into his cheeks and ran off and came back.  He’s done this before!  I thought I could feed him from my hand if I was so inclined, but I was not.Trail at Amherst State Park

I was sad to leave the trailhead and walk to my car.  The sun was fading fast and I knew I should go home, but I just wish I could walk in the woods a little longer.  Tomorrow is another day!

It’s not a good hike unless you get dirty!

My boots have been broken in!  My tall, fancy work boots that is!   I found a new favorite hiking area called Tillman Wildlife Management Area.  The day I found the park was rainy and windy.

I wasn’t wearing my hiking boots.  I was wearing my work clothes! My hiking clothes and boots were left at home in a pile that I was supposed to grab on my way out the door in the morning, but I wasn’t going to NOT go hiking!  So, off I went.  I found Tillman Road, but I wasn’t sure where to park.  I pulled into a what looked like a parking area, but found a State Trooper instead!  He must have thought I was crazy when I approached his vehicle wearing a long skirt, tall boots and light rain jacket.  I asked him where the parking was for the walking trails and he looked throughly amused.  After making my way to parking area the Trooper told me about, I quickly put my hood up and made my way to the trailhead.

Of course I was looking for a geocache while hiking, so I did have a goal.  I slopped through the mud and wished I had wipers for my glasses!  The trail was actually quite beautiful in the rain and I was smiling like a fool when I ran into a man dressed in full rain gear walking his dog.  He said hello and warned me that boardwalk was very slippery.  I thanked him and continued on, watching my step.   I can’t imagine what he thought of a woman in a long skirt out in the rain!  The geocache wasn’t too difficult to find, but I did have to walk in INCHES of water!  I can’t believe my tall, fancy boots kept the water out!  I was fully expecting my feet to be soaked, but they weren’t!

As I made my way back to the main trail I came across some teenagers running in shorts and I am guessing it was their mom I said to hello to, not far behind them.  I slipped a little on an incline, but kept my body upright, thankfully!  Approaching the parking lot I saw the State Trooper truck and the Trooper stuck his head out the window and said, “I wanted to make sure you came out of there okay!”  I laughed and said, I was throughly wet, but I still have a smile on my face!  We laughed and went on our way.

There is something to be said about walking in the rain.  Now I only walked for about a half an hour, but it was refreshing.  It might have been cleansing if I didn’t have MUD up my boots and all around the edges of my skirt!  Still, I’m glad I didn’t let it stop me.  It won’t be able to stop me on the AT either.  Go hike!  Here are a few pictures of Tillman on a nicer day when I was there hiking.IMG_20151102_171410453IMG_20151101_130848641IMG_20151101_130905720

IMG_20151102_164246952My favorite!