Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Big Plans

Jake and I decided yesterday that we want to backpack the 550 mile stretch of the Appalachian Trail above the Smokies that goes through Shenandoah.  Ben and Chan are on board as well.  We think we can do it in a month, that's just over 18 miles a day.  Every day.  Maybe...2 months.  hahaha!

This year, we want to get some more experience under our belts and camp a good bit more than we have in the past.  We have all the backpacking gear we need to get started, we are just waiting on better weather.  I want our first few long trips to be warm and dry enough that we are not having to deal with that on top of the miles and wear on our puny bodies.  The kids and I have primitive camped many times and backpacked a few miles here and there for a single night.  Our new goal is 10 miles a week of walking.  We'll see how that works out...

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Buck's Pocket

We headed out to Buck's Pocket around 1 this afternoon, I had heard Friday that the wildflowers were up and active in profusion there.  I was not lied to!  Plus, bonus waterfalls in full flow.
We had a nice walk around the campground, then walked the high bluff trail and went to the overlook.

Chan and I agreed, we want to head over and camp as soon as it warms up some.


Going gray at an alarming rate!!

These were out in great abundance.

Jack and fiddlehead fern


nodding trillium

bee balm?


Sweet Betsy Trillium


Saturday, March 26, 2011


This morning I weighed in at 30 pounds under my highest weight!  And 25 under where I started just a year ago.  I feel good, even though there is a ways to go yet!  I did not put on all the weight in one go, it was over several years, so I don't feel the need to lose it quickly.

I am very pleased, I can tell the difference in so many little ways.  I had convinced myself the weight was not having a negative affect because I could hike and work and do anything I wanted to, and that much was true.  I was not unable to do something because I was too heavy.  But...losing weight has shown me where I could have been doing more, have more energy, have more esteem to try new things, to put myself out there a little more and not hang back.

I am excited to be going into the spring and summer still losing, I hope my new energy and stamina will help with further loss and toning.  Go me!  : )  And Matt is neck and neck with me, it has been great having him along for the effort, he's just as gung-ho and fallible as I am, one day hiking 5 miles and eating 1500 calories, the next, a pasta binge and movie night.  The point is, we get back on track and don't count the off days as anything other than a day off.  It's not bad or backtracking or firm proof of our inability to stick with it.  It's life, a celebration, a lazy afternoon to snuggle and read and then eat a pizza.  

Food is a HUGE base of any type of event from soccer practice with orange slices and grapes to weddings with buffets and cake.  Every event and holiday has a food, there's no way to avoid that and no reason to.  We are living, after all.  : )  Trying to find moderation, in all things.  Eating, spending, saving, working, lounging, parenting, as a wife, a friend, a community member.  Some kind of balance and I am realizing there's not a balance where everything is leveled out, there are peaks and valleys in everything.  So, I prefer to think of it more as climbing up and sliding down, always moving ahead, just sometimes not as far as I think I should go or as I want to go.

Friday, March 25, 2011

More Flowers

Went to the Wildflower Trail today and strolled around, then the kids scootered around the lake a couple of times.  I like to think I am okay with giving them a little freedom like that, but the whole time they were out of sight in that one stretch, I stood totally rigid and watching for the instant they popped back into view.  I am having a hard time finding that balance as they get older of keeping aware of where they are and who is near them and giving them a chance to find their own footing.

We are going to start volunteering a couple days a month, there are only a few people working on the gardens and some of them are getting older and all the bending and kneeling are taking their toll.  It will be a great chance to do something in an area we have enjoyed for years as well as learn more about plants and wildflowers from people who know much more than I do.  I am pretty excited about it and the kids seem gung-ho about giving it a try.

Spring Beauty


Some kind of azalea.  I wanted to name Kat Azalea and Matt forbade it. 

I'm going to say giant chickweed

Red fern!  I think it's a cinnamon fern.

The first dogwood bloom I have seen this year!

Waxy buttercup

Sailing by on her scooter, I manage to get a shot of a backhoe emerging from her head.

Eastern shooting star

The earliest grape hyacinth is fading already

Waxy buttercup and Spring Beauty

Lilac in the front yard

Phlox...I think

Just because I know I will get asked, it's the way her shirt hangs, despite all the blooms, she has not blossomed overnight!



Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Caney Falls

It's been a couple years since we went to Caney Falls, so yesterday I decided what this week needed was a long drive!  We met Heather, Cathy and Gina at Wren and hit the trail.  I brought all 3 dogs because the meter reader is canine challenged and the big dogs give her hell. 

Everything went well, we got to the falls and hung out, had snacks and took pictures.  A local dog followed us to the falls and for reasons unknown to me, decided to eat Zephyr for a snack.  Jake moved faster than I did and nailed it with a stick, but Zep was bitten in 3 spots, all fairly shallow.  Thank goodness for her harness!  It was in the way of her vital organs.  She can walk and seems physically okay despite the bites, but her spirit is damaged.  I could kill that dog a hundred ways right now, the owners, too.  : (  And Kuma a little since he watched with clinical detachment from 3 feet away while it happened.  I cleaned her up when we got home and put stuff on them, she bit me (soft bite, like she was saying 'owie, stop!') and ran away to her kennel and has not moved in the past hour.  
: (

After the attack, we babied her a while, then opted to walk downstream a ways to see if we could reach the lower falls.  We turned back after nearly an hour, once the creek crossings were more than we wanted to deal with.  Back at the falls, Heather and Griffin were keeping an eye on our stuff and Gina and Cody had headed back to the cars.  We hiked out and had lunch at the parking area.  We decided to check out the campground at Brushy Lake, then I headed toward home and no one followed me out.  So, we waited a few minutes and opted to keep going, the big dogs were sacked out and Zep's bite on her back was bleeding again and I just wanted to get her home. 

It was a really good day for hiking, I am really glad we got to go further downstream than we have before.  I'm ready to do some more difficult hikes, that was a good taste of what this summer could be like.