earthtrekblog

Adventures of Life


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In the midst of chaos

I feel like I am caught in the moment just before you know the really bad thing is about to happen. For example as a young child I was chasing after our 150 pound dog who was having a blast chasing after a jogger. I don’t know if you’ve ever been pursued by a 150 pound black dog whose bark is so deep it causes every bone in your body to vibrate. Either way you may know why this jogger wasn’t stopping for my shouts of “he’s friendly!” You really don’t want to take the moment to find out if it’s true. As I peddled furiously down the road my mother drove past me and stopped to grab the dog. I knew before it happened that I was in a dangerous situation. As my front wheel passed the back bumper of her car she opened her door. It was the cartoon moment! My bike collided with the drivers side door catapulting me over the top of it. I remember flying through the air and thinking “oh no this is going to hurt!” as the asphalt came up to meet me.

Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches

Sometimes you just have to roll with the punches


Right now I am running around trying to gather all my stuff up for a weekend adventure to South Carolina where I will attend a wedding and promptly turn around and drive back to New Hampshire have one day to put the last of my stuff in order and hop on a plane to California. I am sure that somewhere in this mix a car door is going to open and launch me in some unexpected direction.
For now I will continue to gather my wits and try to appreciate the small things the world puts before me!

unearthly drips

unearthly drips

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Words of wisdom!

I was woken this morning by a horde of snuggling critters! Within the cries of joy which filled the room my sleepy mind realized there was wisdom to share!

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My very astute and outgoing cat, Skiddy Kitty, would like to fill you in.

Welcome to AUTUMN!

As the cold air takes over it is important to dress for the weather!

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It is also holiday season and being in fashion is a must!

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Sometimes you just need to put aside your differences and appreciate what others have to offer.

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And the answer to any important question (especially in the outdoor world):

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DRINK WATER!!!
•you have a headache… Drink water!
•you’re tired… Drink water!
•you’re hungry… Drink water!
•you don’t know what to do with yourself… Drink water!

Wishing you an awesome an informative autumn!


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4,311 feet into the Enchanted Forest

As I closed the car door my heart dropped. I was leaving, off on another adventure. I looked up at the house only to see her face peeking out at me. I felt like such a traitor. I’d promised her a day of fun and excitement an opportunity to expend her energy running through the woods. Instead I’d locked her in the house, told her to be good and was driving away. The image of her face, a little Kilroy, burned into my memory.

The hopeful eyes begging to join me... what's a "little" hang nail when you have the whole world to explore.

The hopeful eyes begging to join me… what’s a “little” hang nail when you have the whole world to explore.

It couldn’t have been a more perfect day to explore new territory and yet the disappointment of having to leave my hiking partner behind hung heavily on my mind. I knew it was for the best despite my desire to have her along. I’m sure this is just the first of many “injuries” where I will have to weigh the good vs. the bad and make a decision. Could Star have hiked? Yes! She could and would have done it. She would have even enjoyed herself but at the cost of what?! This was not your average little chipped nail that caused a little bleeding. Nope! Her nail had snapped from the top down and with every step she took was pinching the quick between the broken sections. I knew once we were on the trail she would forget about it and would have a blast, but every step would have caused irritation to the quick causing SERIOUS foot issues later. So for now the pathetic pleading eyes was all she was allowed for the day.

Our group arrived at the trailhead ready to go! We were about to tackle my first *intentional 4,000 footer, with the possibility for a second one!

There are few words to describe the hike.

entrance to the enchanted forest

entrance to the enchanted forest

Upon entering the forest the trees closed in on us, the air thick with moisture, we were hiking through clouds!

You just didn't know what would be coming through the trees

You just didn’t know what would be coming through the trees

It was a slow meander up the trail. We paused often to appreciate all that surrounded us. At the junction for the Mizpah Hut and Mt. Pierce summit we were drawn to the whims of one of the forest creatures.

The Grey Jays literally had us feeding them out of our hands

The Grey Jays literally had us feeding them out of our hands

I am “Snow White”!!!

pure enchantment

pure enchantment

Every step lead to discovery!
Once we moved past the clouds the sun caused the trail to glitter!

Hidden jewels lined the trail

Hidden jewels lined the trail

I want to live in a world where these line the streets lighting the way!

A miniature world of crystal balls perched upon Matchstick Lichen

A miniature world of crystal balls perched upon Matchstick Lichen

Despite all the distractions we made it through the forest and emerged to find a glorious view from the summit!
The wind blasted us driving us further up the mountain to the sheltered nook where the summit markers were hidden.

View from summit of Mt. Pierce looking across to Mt. Eisenhower

View from summit of Mt. Pierce looking across to Mt. Eisenhower

The clouds took over the summit within minutes of us arriving. Mt. Eisenhower vanished into the mist. Although we held the desire to bag two 4K’s in a day the safety of the group was the first concern. The walk from Mt. Pierce to Mt. Eisenhower would take us across and exposed ridgeline to a bald summit. It was not the day to test our skills or our gear, weather at those elevations can change to quickly.

When you sit on the throne you are on top of the world

When you sit on the throne you are on top of the world

The hike down was no less enchanting. My new buddy and hiking partner for the day kept it real! And thanks to her awesome awareness we had one more surprise before we made it off the mountain. We got to meet a very cute and active critter.

This little critter is known as a Pine Marten

This little critter is known as a Pine Marten

I CAN’T WAIT to return and do this hike again. Star will be along side me venturing into the woods and returning with who knows what. With my luck she’ll gain the gift of speech from some fairy godmother hidden away behind a tree.

*My FIRST 4K was when I worked in North Carolina. I was on an expedition with a youth group, twelve kids ranging in age from 11-16 years old, and we got off course, ended up hiking Pilot Mountain in Pisgah National forest and topped out at over 5000 feet at sunset. Some of the most beautiful pictures were taken during the transition from day to night. Some of the strongest bonds were formed during the hike down when only half the groups headlamps were working. There’s a reason I have a compass with me at all times now!


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Sea Legs atop a Mountain

I stood staring out across the expanse of color which covered the mountains before me. As I drew air into my body I reveled in the accomplishment upon which I stood. Each breath cleansing my body of all the pain, frustration, and disappointment of the past year.

The first glimpse of the colors to come!

The first glimpse of the colors to come!

On this day it was the air which had me totally immersed in the season. The smell of fallen leaves permeated the air making each breath a reminder of how precious life is.
It was a hike day. Not just any hike but the first hike since I had been sent back to PT and informed my leg was weak and I was on limited activity.

View from the East Ledges

View from the East Ledges

I Packed my bag, including only what I NEEDED, which naturally meant my camera, 2 lenses, and extension tubes. There was no way I was going to miss out on photo opportunities during the fall.

This was just a small hike, elevation gain of 1450′ and 4.8 miles to be exact.

The hike up was littered with little items of beauty. I paused along the way snapping pictures of interesting things, many of which were taken with my iPhone.

Autumn colors lit from behind

Autumn colors lit from behind

When we reached the East Ledges we settled in for a quick lunch and some photo opportunities. The iPhone went away and the real camera came out.

Meeting the wildlife

Meeting the wildlife

Attempted to catch and eat this beautiful creature

Attempted to catch and eat this beautiful creature

It might take a moment but she really does love being held in my lap.

It might take a moment but she really does love being held in my lap.

We continued on our way enjoying the views as we worked our way around to the summit. Upon the Summit I settled in and braced my knee up. As we started down the wobble of my legs became apparent and I was thankful for my forethought!

A beautiful hike down with the light fading and the colors becoming more vibrant as the harsh light of midday ebbed.

Trillium remnants

Trillium remnants

This beauty sat just off the side of the trail.  Happy to have seen it!

This beauty sat just off the side of the trail. Happy to have seen it!

Last view headed off the mountain

Last view headed off the mountain

There will be more!!!

This is just the beginning - Photo courtesy of Mikaela Ritter

This is just the beginning – Photo courtesy of Mikaela Ritter