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Posts Tagged ‘Nature’

We continue our hike with my Dad and Dale (Greybeard) who is currently hiking the Appalachian Trail in the hopes of becoming the oldest thru hiker at the age of 83! My Dad is also continuing his pursuit of hiking the whole AT in sections at the age of 72.

This section was amazing and also challenging with lots of rock scrambles and boulders to climb over. We hiked this section of the AT and then stealth camped just north of Galehead Hut on the AT. Then we hiked out on Gale River Trail to take a break and camp in a state park. Subscribe to see the continuation of this section hike!

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Dave and I decided to hike recently at Meeman Shelby Forest State park in western Tennessee.  It was a chilly day, in the 40s, but sunny.  As long as long as I’m bundled up enough, I’m okay with the cold.  Its been a while since we’d been outside, in the woods and sunshine.  Sometimes in the winter, we spend too much time indoors missing out on vitamin D and the general feeling of  well-being that comes from sunshine and nature.

This particular park is a great one to visit, just a half hour from Memphis.  But when you’re there, you feel like you are in the wildernerness and that youve really left civilization.  Much of western Tennessee is pretty flat, and therefore not good practice for the Appalachian Trail hills in the Northeast (the yearly hike that we are trying to keep in shape for).  However this park has some pretty steep hills and beautiful scenery.

The trail we did at Meeman Shelby was the Woodland Trail loop.  It is about 5 miles if you go all the way to the Woodland Shelter and back to the parking lot.  This park also has an 8 mile one-way trail heading north and south (Chickasaw Bluff/Pioneer Springs Trail) if you really want some distance practice, though it doesn’t have as many steep hills as the Woodland Trail.

All in all a nice trip!  Watch our video, and plan to visit the park if you live in the area!

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A couple of weeks ago, my sister texted me asking if I’d like to go backpacking with a friend of hers (Laura) six days from that day to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan!  I was excited, in shock, surprised, and then stressed.  She and her friend had been planning the trip since the beginning of this year, but at the last minute her friend was not able to go, and Laura would not have been able to go without a partner.

So I thought about it for about 10 minutes, and then thought how could I pass up this opportunity?! I probably would never do this trip otherwise.  It takes a day just to travel to Grand Rapids, Michigan from Tennessee, but almost another day to get from there to the Upper Peninsula.

So I had six days to pack and coordinate all of our gear and travel plans.  Next thing I know, I’m meeting Laura and heading north. And what an amazing trip it was.  We hiked the length of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, 42 miles, over five days, which is also part of the longer North Country Trail.

We had been hiking the AT in New Hampshire prior to this, climbing thousands of feet in elevation change in only a few miles.  So this hike was a refreshing change!  There was very little elevation change.  Just a few 100 ft or so climbs up and down the cliff.  We were able to hike more miles, more quickly, and still arrive at our campsite half way through the day. Plus it also turns out that almost every campsite that we stayed at had a beach access, and the water was warm and clear and refreshing.  I was actually able to wash my hair half way through the trip and at least able to soak my feet most nights.  The days in Michigan are long, not getting dark till 8:30 pm, and most of the time it was sunny and pleasant.  Sometimes hiking feels like a real chore, but getting to end each day relaxing on a beach was a real pleasure.  Plus the cliffs and the sand and the turquoise waters were so amazing.  The views were breathtaking.

I hope you enjoy our videos and thanks for hiking along with us!

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After we had climbed the daunting Mt. Kinsman as our introduction to New Hampshire Appalachian Trail hiking, we were wondering what we had gotten ourselves into! This was much harder than anything we had done before, and we wondered if we would be able to finish the section that we had planned on. We decided instead of continuing to the next section on our hike, Mt. Moosilauke, we would skip it and hike the more mild section to the south to give our bodies one more day to recover.  We hoped by then we would feel well enough to conquer Moosilauke.

After hiking back to our rental car, we drove wearily to a car campground and set up our hammocks.  We were exhausted, but of course not too tired for some delicious Chinese food in town.  After that we crashed in our hammocks and slept soundly.

We had beautiful weather the entire week we were in New Hampshire.  The only major rainstorm happened that next morning, so we decided to give ourselves a break and wait out the rain. We had our breakfast at what was becoming our favorite breakfast place, Dunkin Doughnuts.  Then we cruised the main street of the town for stores that could provide supplies we needed.  We then hung out for the rest of the morning at a nice McDonald’s for delicious iced coffee, WiFi and power.  I was able to get the first YouTube video done for this trip. https://youtu.be/c7Dsfz1CT1k  It took a surprisingly long time and I was only able to get a third of the first day edited and uploaded before it was time to leave for the local pizza place with their $5 special, two pizzas and a soda!

By then it was pouring and we actually got a little wet running from place to place, which we were really trying to avoid.  We were wearing the clothes we were going to hike in and didn’t want them wet already.  But we were glad we could run inside and were not continuously remaining in the rain.  So after pizza, we headed out to the start point of our hike for the day.  By then the rain had stopped and it remained a bit overcast for a while but eventually the sun came out and it was beautiful!

The rest of the story is told in the video, Ore Hill (day 4) below.  The previous day is also included below.  Hope you enjoy hiking with us!  The Big Mt. Moosilauke will be next!

 

 

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This is the second day of our New Hampshire Appalachian Trail section hike a couple of weeks ago.  It turned out to be one of the most challenging hikes of the trip and probably the most difficult hike we’ve done.  At the same time, all of the boulder hopping is fun and the views are magnificent!

I was watching videos of thru-hikers going through this area, and they climb up it like mountain goats!  Lol I guess that’s what 1500 miles of conditioning up and down mountains does for you! Lol. (The northbound AT thru hikers started in Goergia and have done approx. 1500 miles at this point!). Some day it might be fun for my husband and I to thru-hike the Appalachian Trail as well, but we have to wait until he is at a point where he can take a break from work.  But for now we get to do these sections hikes with my Dad, and these have been the highlights of our hiking trips each year. Definitely the most challenging and most rewarding!

Join us on day 2’s hike in the video below, and I’ll get day 3 edited soon!

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We have been to Meeman Shelby State Park, which is North of Memphis, along the Mississippi River many times. We love hiking the 3 mile loop Woodland Trail which is one of the most beautiful trails in Western Tennessee. I’m always so surprised at how different it looks from the rest of this area. There are many steep climbs up and down hills and a beautiful stream which meanders throughout the hike.

But I was not aware that this State Park has scheduled boating trips throughout the summer. From Memorial Day to Labor day every weekend they have regular pontoon boat and canoe trips. The pontoon boat is only $1 per person and takes you around the Poplar Tree Lake. It was really a lot of fun. The ranger was very interesting, pointing out all sorts of wildlife and plants. We were able to see the lake and the park in a way we never had before. Though this park is only about 45 minutes from our house, we felt like we were on a real vacation far away!

This past Saturday at 8 am we did the canoe trip. You meet at the visitor’s center and then caravan to a swamp in a wildlife reserve area adjacent to the park. Most of the time you would not be able to access this area, so this is a unique opportunity to see this swamp. The cost is only $5 per person and they provide really nice, new, stable canoes.

The same ranger provided us with amazing information about the swamp and the animals and plants in it. There was no current and we proceeded at a leisurely pace so it was very relaxing. Instead of being dirty and “swampy”, this swamp was very beautiful, with tiny green leaves of duckweed covering some areas of the swamp. With the sun reflecting off  the leaves and the water, it made a beautiful, surreal, green sheen. The swamp was filled with beautiful, giant cypress trees with their buttressed bases and knees sticking above the water.

We saw hundreds of swallows that lived in the tops of the cypress trees like little island condos in the middle of the swamp. When we would canoe past, they would all take flight at once, making a beautiful sight. Later we saw the swallows dive bombing toward the surface of the water, looking for a dinner of bugs. We saw butterflies flitting around and flirting with us. Our ranger guide found a snake coiled and sunning on a beaver lodge. Thankfully he wasn’t poisonous, but amazingly big, beautiful and scary all at the same time!

Finally we had to come back to land, but were very pleased with our swamp canoe trip. It was very relaxing, enjoyable and beautiful. Unfortunately the boat trips end this weekend for Labor Day.   If you plan on going, call ahead to reserve your spot at 901-876-5215.  Also later on in the year, you can call and request a boat trip with a group of people. I think Fall would be an awesome time to go, not to mention much cooler! And again, I am pleasantly surprised by our local state park and all they have to offer, right in our backyard! Will definitely be back again soon!

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This was one of our long and tiring days hiking the Appalachian Trail in Vermont. However, as usual, the views and the adventures were always amazing. The end of our section hike for this day took us through the town of West Hartford, down the street, and past the Village Store. There was a sign out front welcoming hikers from the Appalachian Trail and a place to put their packs. They had all sorts of things from pizza to salad to fresh Vermont maple ice cream, which was a most excellent way to end our long, tiring hike! I think that was the best ice cream I’ve ever tasted! lol Looking back, even though the trip was hard, I wish I was still there, such an amazing, magical place. Hope you enjoy the pictures!

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