This is Winter??

Last week I finished physical therapy. That’s the good news.  The not so great news is that I’m not ready for a big hike.  Even though I am faithfully continuing my daily exercises for my hip, back and knee, my body is still in the healing process.  Progress is being made, I’ve been able to go for 2-3 mile walks, as long as I do it on flat ground. I’m back in my fitness class, albeit not quite at full strength.  This would not bother me so much if it weren’t for the fact that we have been having such warm temperatures and the mountains are calling me.

This past weekend, my husband and I decided to explore the top of a mountain that we have hiked in the past.

dscn4738

You can drive to the top, so we planned to walk along the ridge and see what was there. There was a bit of an incline and it felt so natural to be back on a trail again. We probably walked just over a half a mile.  Unfortunately, after we got home, my hip let me know I’m not quite ready for uphill.

So bring on some winter weather and give me a reason to be indoors, because I have big hiking plans in my future and I want to be ready!

Women’s March

It is nearly impossible to describe the energy and excitement of the coming together of women, children, and men of every walk of life, every color, religion, disability, or orientation.  I don’t normally like crowds and I have had some health challenges lately – but yesterday I proudly walked with my daughter, my friends, and several thousand other like minded people to express our passion for not allowing this country to move backward.

1813

Women’s March on Washington

1818

My latest personal outrage came from our new President’s pick for cabinet posts, many of which seemed more like a slap in the face to the position, rather than nominating a qualified candidate.  In particular, Betsy DeVos who has absolutely no knowledge or experience with public education, as his pick for Secretary of Education.  But I’m also disturbed at the terrible example he is setting  by tweeting insults every time someone disagrees with him, and by dismissing any facts that are not favorable to him, as “fake” news.

So many signs, so many people – well over 500,000 – and not one single arrest.  To me that is the most significant point of the day, this was a march of resistance, but it was a PEACEFUL march!  Everyone from the D.C.Police, to the people protesting our march, were respectful and gracious.

We heard “thank you’s” from people waving from their homes as we made our way to and from the march (our buses were parked at the RFK stadium parking lot).  The police thanked us for being there.  We had A list celebrities speaking not just in D.C., but at all the rallies across the country.

As we got closer to the rally point, it seemed that every street you looked down was full of marchers. I can’t begin to tell you how it felt, but I got teary eyed at so many things, from watching people make way for wheel chairs, to the patience of people as our little group of six chained our way through the crowds.  At one point I just had to sit or lean against something, so I made my way toward a truck where a kind gentleman offered me his portable chair.

It was a long day with many speeches, some we could hear, some we couldn’t, but all with the same message – don’t let this be one day of protest – get involved, get active, call your representatives and make sure they know how you feel.  I know our President will try to ignore this event (or spin it to favor him) but Congress knows better.  I hope Congress was watching and listening.  This is not a time to be complacent – be a doer!  Phone calls, emails, letters, whatever works for you – be a doer!

Yesterday’s event was amazing and inspiring:  smiles everywhere, love everywhere, and passion everywhere.

Seven states, 1750 miles, weather varieties

Just back from a winter getaway to the Gulf Shore.  To say we experienced a variety of weather is an understatement.  Our first 2 days in Alabama brought sunshine and upper 60 degree temps.  It was wonderful, people were playing beach volley ball, my husband got fully submerged in the gulf, we took beach walks and enjoyed nature.

dscn4657

012

That little dot in the center is my husband’s head sticking out of the water.

dscn4688

 

dscn4701

Then came the storm.  For Alabama, that meant heavy rains, near freezing temps and wind – lots of wind!

There’s really not much to do at the beach when the wind is blowing and the rain is everywhere, so we spent our last afternoon at the Gulf Shore in our room watching the weather channel and wondering if we would be able to get to Atlanta the next day.  I appreciate the job weather people have and how excited they get when there is a big front coming in, but they do tend to over hype most of the time.  As we were trying to come up with a plan B – Atlanta got a little ice which was completely melted by the time we rolled in to town the day after the storm.

However, it was 15 degrees with chilling winds – so we did not venture far that first night.

dscn4734

The next morning, the sun was shining bright and it actually warmed to a balmy 34 degrees (still plenty windy).  We spent most of the afternoon at Stone Mountain.  Having hiked Stone Mountain, NC – we had to see what Stone Mountain, GA was like. To our surprise, there was a carving of Confederate heroes.  Seriously?  Who does that?  I cannot imagine the time, energy, and skill that went into this carving!  It was impressive.

dscn4725

This stone mountain looked completely out of place in a rather flat part of Georgia – we didn’t think it was real at first.  (Stone Mountain, NC is actually in a mountain range.)  There is a whole village there with fun activities for the entire family.  I don’t want to know what it is like in the summer as crowded as it was on this chilly Sunday.  It’s definitely worth the $15 admission.  Although, it did bother me just a little to learn that this park is privately owned.  It is owned by the same folks who own Dollywood.

We also managed to find a couple of German restaurants in Atalanta.  The first one had a flag from the town where my husband’s grandfather was born and where his brother lives.

dscn4717

dscn4719

The second one was downtown Atlanta and had been recommended by my daughter.  It was fun getting dressed up in a drindl.

031

Anyway, we will go back to Atlanta when the weather is more agreeable, it was a fun city.

Driving home, we didn’t see snow until we were well into South Carolina, the accumulation was highest in North Carolina, but we did have a decent covering in our backyard in Virginia.

001

Even though it was a great trip, I am happy to be back in my own bed and ready to get this new year started.  Here’s to 2017!!  I hope it will be a good year for all of you!

Hiking, Christmas, and Vertigo

Finally got back on the trail when my daughter and her husband arrived on Friday morning.  Even though this is a fairly easy hike, which I have done several times, I was very pleased that my hip, knee and old age in general, cooperated enough to get me up and down the 5 mile trail to the Cascades and the upper falls. We started with the upper falls, passing some icicles along the way.

dscn4601

dscn4614

dscn4611

This was our grand dog, Stark’s, first hike – he seemed to like it.

Then we started down to the lower falls.

dscn4634

dscn4637

Starting out it was a little chilly, but we had periods of sunshine and it warmed up as the day wore on. All in all a very good hike.

Christmas Eve was full of food, games, lights, presents and grand dog in sweater.

016014015

It was all wonderful, until I woke up Christmas morning feeling like I was having the worst hangover of my life (when I had only had one drink the day before).  After our company left, I spent the day in bed, totally miserable – dizzy and nauseous.  If you have ever experienced vertigo, you know it is NOT fun! I’m going on my 3rd day of living upstairs (I did make it from our bedroom to my office next door).  With the help of my wonderful, patient husband, I was able to take a quick shower this morning.  But as I sit here writing this, I’m thinking it’s time to climb back into bed.

My little house guest and my daughter’s Christmas present helped get me through the last couple of days.  I would have been very bored without them.

020

I’ve enjoyed reading all your holiday posts.  I wish you all a happy and healthy New Year!!

 

Absent Hiker

It’s been too long since I’ve been on a trail, I hope to remedy that by the end of the year. The fires are out thanks to some much needed rain, but my body is not cooperating with my desire to be in the woods.

About 3 weeks ago, I injured my right hip while attempting the very daring task of descending to our basement.  Not sure how I got twisted on the stairs, but I had to be helped into a chair, given lots of Ibuprofen and an ice bag.  Since then, the slightest turn can set off the pain.  I believe the fact that I have knee issues (left knee) has made my right side vulnerable, so it was just a matter of time.

I’m exercising and stretching daily, and seem to be getting stronger, but have unfortunately missed out on some perfect hiking weather.  Now it’s cold.

Not really looking for sympathy, just letting you know I have not abandoned hiking or blogging.

Wishing all of you a very happy holiday season – whatever you celebrate!

snowflake

The Holidays

It’s always fun to hear about friend’s holiday traditions and how they got started.  Since my daughter left home, my husband and I started a tradition of taking a trip for an extended weekend right before Thanksgiving.  It began with Myrtle Beach, where we discovered that on those off days you could get ocean front hotels for very little money.  Often times, my husband would be the only person brave enough to actually swim in the ocean – it can be quite cold that time of year. But it was fun to walk the beach and eat fresh seafood without the usual crowds.  We did this for about 3 years in a row before deciding we needed a change.

The next two years we spent in Nashville after becoming late in life country music fans.  Nashville is a very fun city with live music everywhere, if you have not been there, I highly recommend it.

This year I wanted to go to Asheville, NC and do some hiking.  We booked an airbnb months ago and had received many recommendations from a friend’s daughter on where the best trails and restaurants were located.  Unfortunately, forest fires have been rampant in that area and it looked like hiking would not be an option.  I quickly cancelled that reservation and booked us a couple of nights in Greenville, SC, a city that was recommended to me by friend and fellow blogger, Laurie (Life on the Bike).

Turned out to be a very fun place to visit.  A waterfall park with a 9 mile walking/biking trail is located right downtown, along with over 100 great restaurants.   So while we didn’t get to hike, we did enjoy being outdoors along with dozens of others who were enjoying the sunny fall day.

dscn4564

dscn4550

dscn4582

Where we go doesn’t really matter much, we just enjoy exploring new places together. And that is what I am most thankful for this year.

 

Back to Nature

It’s been a very depressing week.  I tried comfort food, beer, and spending time with like minded friends.  While these things all helped; today I got back out in nature where I felt peace and serenity again.  Heading to my favorite hiking spot (Hungry Mother State Park), with my favorite hiking partner (my husband, who has been recovering from shoulder surgery for the last two months) I was finally able to put the anger and grief I felt after the election, aside while we enjoyed a peaceful hike around the lake.

dscn4506dscn4508

It was a beautiful day – cool and sunny.

dscn4515

The ducks were enjoying a swim.

dscn4513

The leaves were everywhere adding color to the floor of the trail.

dscn4527

And it just felt right to be back in the woods.

dscn4525dscn4522

While I was walking, I decided the best thing I can do to move forward, is to vow to be kind to everyone, fight for what I believe is right (women’s rights, LGBT rights, minorities and our environment) and not let a bully in Washington stop me from living.