Friday, April 7, 2017

Christmas in March, Hiking the Hill and Mmmm Beer

This past weekend was all about the outdoors.  Saturday we headed to REI to spend a lot of money get some new stuff.  March is dividend time for REI members.  For those not in the know, if you pay $20 one time, you become a lifetime member of the REI co-op.  This lets you return items for up to a year after purchase even if you've used the item (even hiking boots), and you receive dividends from certain purchases once a year.  This year my dividend was $58 and I had a $25 gift card and I had a 20% off coupon. Christmas had arrived in March.
My husband found a new hiking hat, and I opted for a pair of Darn Tough hiking socks and a sleeping bag liner. I'm hoping to use the liner for a summer bag to save weight.  And I LOVE the socks.  They are definitely as great as everyone says they are.
On Sunday after some outside chores, we went on a hike.  My brilliant husband (don't tell him I called him that), suggested trying a new place to hike that wasn't too far away.  So off we went to Strawberry Hill Nature Preserve.  They have several trails to choose from, and most of the trails join each other which gives you the option to make your hike as long as you want it.  We took the Nature Trail to the Swamp Trail that followed Swamp Creek with all its little water falls then took the Quarry Trail.  We were supposed to pick up the Nature Trail to go back to the parking lot, but we somehow missed the blazes and ended up following the road back to the parking lot.  The terrain wasn't anything too strenuous- definitely not the AT, but enough to get your heart rate up in areas.
We all loved hiking the area and will definitely add it to our go to hike locations.  Added bonus, we headed towards home and managed to hit the Appalachian Brewing Company's Biergarten for a pint. 

It was the perfect way to end a great weekend.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Hashawha Hike



I'm a little behind in my updates about hiking.  I've been so busy that I'm lucky I find time to get out at all.  About a week ago, my mom, husband and I managed to get in a quick hike at Hashawha Environmental Center nearby.  It's our go-to place since it's only about 15-20 minutes down the road.  Part of me wasn't in the mood for a hike.  I've been experiencing aches and pains in my hip and ankle and both knees on top of fighting off a cold or allergies or some combination of both. 
But when you have an overnight backpacking trip coming up and you're sadly out of shape and 20 pounds heavier than you were on your last trip, you need to suck it up and get back into the swing of things.
The weather was awesome, which hasn't always been the case lately.  Needless to say, we should have some pretty awesome May flowers once April is done with its rain.  We hiked our usual trails, but opted to do them in reverse.  It's amazing how much different everything looks when you walk it in the opposite direction.  The spring peepers were out in force, and the sun was shining.  By the end of the hike I was happy I decided to go.  Nothing is better for curing the blahs than a walk in the woods.