Hiking 101

A Look at Our Week 

Warning!!!! I’ve been by myself for a complete week with minimal human interaction, so I’ve got lots to talk about! Long post ahead!

I’ve survived my solo week! I may have had full conversations with the animals around here, and maybe even myself, but none the less I’ve survived! I cannot wait for my guy to come home tomorrow! Two weeks is a long time! I’ve second guessed our decision about me not going with him this time more than once this week and even checked into plane tickets at one time. But I have enjoyed my time and been very productive and he has been so busy and so beat by the end of the day that we would have had very little time together if I was there. I have filled my time by working on Cutler’s scrapbooks. I have completed 2010. (Don’t judge me, yes, I am a little behind but I will get it all done!) One benefit to being behind on scrapbooking is you realize which moments should really be treasured and spotlighted. Seeing all the pictures with my Dad and Cutler’s Granny has been an emotional trip down memory lane!

I have also been working again! I met my goal of earnings for the week and did lots of interesting jobs! And made some dollars along the way! I have focused on my diet and exercise this week and walked everyday! My diet has been good as well. I have lost a couple of pounds, not quite where I want to be but I feel like I’m back in control and heading in the right direction.

House Hunting Scene

The only news in this area is that one door is about to be closed. We have one more trip to make to Danville to finish emptying out my apartment and then we will be done there. As I left the apartment the other week and looked around at how clean and empty it is, I thought back to that first day there 5 1/2 years ago. I walked through that door with a mix of emotions. I was nervous and scared but excited, this was the first time I had ever lived by myself in my 39 years. It was very scary territory and full of changes but I was ready for it.

I am quite proud of the transformation that was made during those 5 1/2 years. Within the walls of that little 2 bedroom apartment I was able to finally find myself. Finally discover what things I enjoyed and what made me happy. See, I’m a people pleaser by nature. I live to make others happy. And that’s okay as long as you don’t lose sight of what makes you happy in the process. And I definitely had done that. I was once compared to a character in a movie who did not know how she liked her eggs cooked, she just always ordered them the same as whoever she was with. That was so me! For so long I did what others wanted me to do, or what others felt was the best for me. In the end I was incapable of making a decision for myself on my own.

Now, I won’t go into all the details of those 5 1/2 years of self discovery, but the person that is leaving that apartment is completely different from the one who moved in. I like to think those changes are for the better. I’m sure some would disagree. I’m sure there are some that would say I am still doing the same thing now and being who someone else thinks I should be or wants me to be. Only I know the truth though. I know how I feel and how I feel this is the first time I’ve ever been able to freely express my desires. I have no fear or worry of judgement. Yes, I do things that I have never done before. Some of the things I would never consider doing on my own. But to me that’s part of a relationship, sharing your desires and passions. I enjoy sharing a classical concert with my guy and seeing his passion for the music that I might not understand come out. My enjoyment comes through him. And it goes both ways! When I suggest going to a pop concert or Shakespeare in the Park, those are not things he would actively seek out, but he enjoys the time spent with me and my excitement.

I am a much stronger, more confident person now than I ever was before. I’ve learned many, many lessons along the way that I reflect back on often. I’ve learned to keep my circle small, that it’s quality that matters not so much quantity. And I’ve learned to push down all the negatives and always seek out the positives in situations. It can be hard to do at times, our world can be such a Debbie Downer at times, but focusing on those negatives only allows them to fester and grow. I choose happiness on a daily basis and love my life for it! With the encouragement and love of my guy I have finally learned to love myself. Oh, I as for my eggs, I like them in an omelet with cheese, peppers and onions. 🙂

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Hiking Adventures

As I said earlier, I walked everyday this week! Most of my walks were done on a riverwalk type trail here in town. It is a 2 mile trail round trip. I normally do about 3 miles in an hour, so I add a walk around the park onto this trail to take it up to 3 miles. I even increased it to 3 1/2 miles by the end of the week. The park is quaint, full of geese, and always full of some type of activity. It’s like those parks you see on T.V. or in movies where all the townspeople always gather and bring covered dishes. You know, one of those parks I’ve always wanted to live near!

 

One morning I did drive down to another trail that my guy and I have done before. It has more hills than the other trail does and I felt ready for the challenge. And it really wasn’t one! Yay! I’m getting back into it!

 

And then we come to today. This morning I woke up in a funk! Big time! I had made a weight loss goal for myself to meet by tomorrow. I had also challenged myself that if I met this goal by today I would deserve a treat. Well, of course I didn’t make it by today so I wallowed … No I wallered in my self-pity for a few minutes. Laying in bed with sore and aching legs from all of my walking this week and not the loss I was hoping for. The thought of getting back on the trail again this morning was just not there for me. Finally, I pushed all those negative feelings aside and decide that yes I would walk today. One minor setback was not worth losing my streak over. I decided to challenge myself even further by finding a real hiking trail to do today. I found one that was nearby and marked as “Easy”, just my style! I jumped out of bed and got ready with a little spring in my step. When I texted my guy to tell him I was going on a trail, I thought he might try to discourage me from going at it alone, but he was very encouraging and excited for me. I sent him the trail I had found and he said he thought we had done that one before. Well, that dampened my mood for just a second, but I was still excited to be going on my first real solo hike here.

I get to the trailhead with no problem. As soon as I step out of the car and realize I have no phone service I wonder if I will be able to find my way back home without GPS. But off I go, my pack on my back with my waters and my apple, I’m ready to see a waterfall. Now, my guy was right, we have hiked this trail before. I remember that the trail that leads to the fall is on the opposite side of the road from the parking lot so off I go! Now, most people were heading up the trail in the parking lot, but I felt super smart and informed and prepared that I knew where the falls were! The signage and instruction at this trailhead are very minimal.

 

I find my trailhead across the street and up I go. Up all those cement steps, ugh. I’m super confident though, I know it’s a popular trail that is bound to be clearly marked so I have no fears or hesitations as I journey my way up. Now, imagine my surprise when I end up right back where I started and I had not seen any water much less a waterfall. I begin to doubt my confidence and figure I may as well go across the street and see if all the people on that trail are seeing my waterfall. Up more stairs I go. I’m still feeling good. I’m convinced I’m going to find this waterfall if it kills me today. I climb all the way to the top of this trail and go across the big stone bridge that crosses the road. I can see the water. That’s a plus. But still no waterfall. This trail has several areas where you can go multiple directions. While deciding which ways to go, I remembered on the trail across the street that I had came to a fork in the road there as well and wonder if the falls were the other way. I had figured that all roads would lead to the same place, but maybe I was mistaken.

 

I make my way back down the trail and go back to my original trailhead. I look up that staircase and ask myself if I really want to do this again. But I am determined to find that waterfall. I hike it back up those stairs and end up back at the fork in the road. Last time I went left, this time I was going to try right. While standing there I thought to myself that a sign posted here sure would be nice, you know one saying Falls to the Right. Then I remember something. See, when I hike with my guy, he always navigates. I may be in front but he is telling me go left, go right etc. He talks to me along the way and tries to teach me things and answers all my questions. Apparently, I should listen more closely to him. Instead of looking for a sign, I start seeking out my blazes instead. I know my trail is a blue blaze trail. Now, in my defense, there was no blaze at the fork in the trail, but I did find one once I started down the trail to the right.

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I very quickly made it to the falls and I do think it was much heavier this time than the last time we hiked this trail. We have had lots of rain recently. I relished in my moment of reaching my desired destination, finally. I took my moment and enjoyed my apple while watching and listening to the falls. I have learned that there is just something about being out in the middle of nature that calms your spirit just a bit. I needed that today.

 

Animal Fun

This pasture was full of activity this week! I did not have to travel to find adventure, I kept seeming to find them in my own backyard. I am completely amazed and in awe of all the wildlife. And this is so unlike me, I’ve never been a real outdoorsy type person or anything like that, but to be able to watch these animals in their natural habitat is amazing! I love it!

We have a family of groundhogs that come out in the yard early in the morning or at dusk and play. I’ve seen 3 little babies and a big mama. There are also 2 bunnies that come out and play. I had to laugh the other night as I watched one bunny just run around and around in circles through the backyard. I am keeping my bird feeders full, and have plenty of beautiful birds to look at all day long. And a teeny tiny chipmunk who enjoys their seeds as well.

 

And then there’s the cows. I had major cow drama one evening and worried myself to death over these 24 cows! There is a garage/barn in their pasture that their owner keeps their grain in. The cows are not supposed to be able to go inside this barn. Well, one afternoon I was giving Smokey his daily carrot treat and I saw a cow walk out of the door to this barn. Then another walked out, then another, it was like a clown car. I counted 15 cows that walked out of the door. I wasn’t sure how they got in there, and was trying to do a head count to make sure that they were all out. Counting cows is as difficult as counting kids!

Later that evening I went back out to check on things again. I could hear the cows in the barn again. I wasn’t sure if they could get to their grain, but figured that would be what kept causing them to go in there. So I’m imagining these cows just eating grain til they explode or something. I was also worried that they’d get hurt on something in the barn or would get stuck in there and not be able to get back out. Now, I said I’m not an outdoorsy girl, I’m taking baby steps here. My mom suggested I go in the barn and pat them on the butt to get them out and then nail the door shut. I wasn’t ready for steps that big just yet. Instead I texted our landlord and asked her to let her grandson know what was going on. While I waited for a reply, I knocked on the walls of the barn attempting to scare the cows out. They didn’t budge. I would go inside and come right back out to see if they were still there.

I finally sat down to my dinner at 8:00. I couldn’t eat inside, I instead chose to eat on the back deck so that I could do a head count as the cows heading up the pasture. I was never convinced that all the cows were accounted for when I finally went inside. The cow guy came the next day to check on them and let me know they couldn’t hurt anything in the barn. He did fix the door so they couldn’t get back in again. He laughed when I told him how worried I had been about them.

 

I really thought moving to the country was going to take me away from drama! But I guess I’ll take my cow drama over the alternative!

Sappy Solo Selfies

 

Thanks for reading my ramblings! My guy comes home tomorrow!!!! We made it! Have a great week!!! XOXO

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