Earlier this month, David and I travelled to Tennessee to vacation with my dad and family. Of course, we snuck away to go hiking every morning. As a way to get into the zone, we listened to A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson on the drive down to Tennessee. It really affected us, because we were out in the woods and walking every moment we had available1 On our first day, we hiked the Appalachian Trail to Charlies Bunion and the trail to Clingman’s Dome. On the second day, it was quite rainy, but we hiked the Porter’s Creek trail. This one had a nice waterfall on the way where we spent extra time exploring, and we drank an excellent cup of coffee next to the waterfall! (That’s pretty cool.) On the third day we were in town, we hiked the Alum Cave trail. The trail was gorgeous and it went from a hike near a creak to mountain peak vistas and panoramas, to fascinating rock formations. Both David and I agreed that it would make for excellent sport climbing, if they ever chose to put bolts up in Alum Cave! Unfortunately, we had to head back once we arrived at Alum Cave so that we could go White Water Rafting with my family, but we do plan to return and finish the trail to Mount LeConte.
Last year, David and I went on a whirlwind trip to Utah and the Grand Canyon. We had our share of setbacks, including challenges in finding a place to camp, rain that prevented us from climbing in Moab, and a 3+ hour delay due to a massive car crash in the middle of a canyon with alternative route. All of that said, it was the highlight of 2016, and it was the first taste of the beauty of Utah and northern Arizona that had us planning our next trip before we even made it home! And I must say, David is the best travel partner – he constantly has the best attitude, sense of humor, jokes, and ideas for a good time!
Here are a few pictures from our October 2016 tour of Utah and the Grand Canyon. We also made a youtube video of our trip, which features Enya’s Anywhere Is (an anthem of our trip).
Gorgeous sunsets, thought-stirring history tours, and my dad: things in Charleston.
I went to Charleston for a work conference, and I had a chance to stay with my dad while I was there. When I wasn’t working, I was able to catch a beautiful sunset while walking on the harbor, I went through downtown on a walking tour, and I ate one of the most interesting, delicious meals: Curried zoodles with cucumber, avocado, and mango – yeah, it was awesome!
These photos scream, “My life dating a boulderer”. It isn’t so bad, I love being outside, around rocks, climbing whenever, and being with wonderful people. BMW Boulders is a small, underdeveloped bouldering area near the Red River Gorge. This area was actually on a local resident’s property, we found out, but they were very supportive and happy to help us find the boulders! The day was so beautiful (October, I love you!) and pictures were necessary! Nevertheless, for your viewing pleasure.
Vancouver Island won my heart in a matter of three days. I can’t wait to go back and explore all of the beauty!
For my one full day on Vancouver Island, we hiked to Century Sam Lake. The lake is fed by a glacier, and there’s a fun ice cave to explore while you’re there! Also, bringing a hammock was a solid idea. As I was leaving, I took seaplane from Vancouver Island right into the Vancouver International Airport – that was amazing.
“Want to hike Mt. Cheam tomorrow?” says Julia to a fresh-off-of-the-plane Kelsey. Without hesitation I said, “YES!” It wasn’t until the early morning, while we were packing up to leave did I pull up any information about the hike – i.e. what it looked like, how long of a hike, how difficult of a hike…
The hike to Mt. Cheam was a five-star time. The first thought that comes into my mind was how lucky we were to have a alpine blueberries growing along most of the hike for a yummy snack as well. The hike is about 9 kilometers round trip (6ish miles) and it took us about two hours to get up and an hour/hour and a half to come down. It is a little funny, without know much about the hike, I was photographing this one peak for most of the drive as we were driving towards it and the trailhead. Even throughout the first half of the hike, we were what appeared to be a trail heading to the top of that one peak. However, it turned out to be Lady Peak, which is next to Mt. Cheam.
The drive to the trailhead was a real trip. There were craters in the road the entire way up to the trailhead, which took us about two hours (it felt like that anyways) to arrive. The hike starts out nice and easy with little incline. Then it turns into spurts of incline, while in the alpine section, and more regular inclines past the alpine line and towards the top. We were surrounded by a few groups of hikers, so it was busier than I was expecting on a Thursday. Also, we could see Mt. Baker (Washington state) for nearly the entire hike. The day we went on the hike was perfect weather for late September in British Columbia, and we enjoyed a great lunch with a great 360 view at the top.
Shades of Death? Sure, let’s go! It turns out Shades State Park, the lesser travelled cousin of Turkey Run State Park, was originally known as Shades of Death. Spooky!
While we would have preferred to go backcountry camping (which is an option at Shades State Park!), we had to be at the park an hour or so before dark. That did not happen, so we stayed at the campground, and spent a full Saturday of hiking. It was blast and located just over an hour outside of Indianapolis.
We hiked trails 7 and 8 (the two can be combined into one loop). We like hiking through the Shawnee canyon and enjoyed hopping from rock to rock for a bit. Then we hiked trail 4, which included a lovely walk in the woods and a neat spot where you climb up a ladder. There were a few spots with fascinating rock/cave formation. On trail 1, we looked over Sugar Creek to find a few kayakers travelling around Canoe Island. We then hiked the short trail to descend into the Devil’s Punchbowl, which was certainly a highlight of the day.
Following the Devil’s Punchbowl, we drove to the trailhead for Pine Hills Nature Conservatory. There, we hiked all of the trails in the area, and particularly enjoyed the Devil’s Backbone section and taking a gander at Honeycomb rock.
What we ate:
-For breakfast we drank cold brew coffee, and ate apples, dates, plums and a banana.
-For lunch we ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches (one of our favorites!) and more fruit.
-On the way home, we treated ourselves to vegan homemade rice crispy treats!
(my phone trying to be nature.)
I’m the type of person lately who wants to know what EVERYBODY is eating. I’m convinced what people eat tells me who they are and what they value. Honestly, I’m nosey! BUT the more I read about food and nutrition and lifestyle and the more I test out foods — the more I’m finding that different diets and plans and lifestyles work differently for everyone. So here are a few points of what has been working for me recently.
- Food is an investment in my health, so I fully acknowledge that I may be spending more on quality and fresh foods.
- Cooking my own food IS fun, and I like knowing what goes into my food.
- Avoid oils, if at all possible. If not, keep in mind the oils I’m consuming during the day.
- Avoid refined sugars and refined flours, if at all possible. My sister and I went a week without eating refined sugars, and let me tell you – it was life-changing and mind-opening!
- The Nutritionfacts.org and/or Dr. Gregor’s daily dozen is a great way to focus my plans for eating throughout the day. Also, the daily dozen has done wonders in shifting my brain from thinking “how can I eat less” into “have I eaten enough”!
- When I’m hungry or looking for a snack, I am to choose a whole food plant option over something processed.
- Fiber is the new protein!
An awesome coffee/frozen almond milk/date smoothie in an awesome free Indy Fuel Hockey cup. It is such a great pick-me-up for after-work and pre-anything else I’m up to in the evening.
Breakfast and camping with David forever!
One of these days the Tee-Bird and I will be in-sync.
Peace and a cup of joe and eye-catching murals.
He is my favorite climber.
Zion National Park pictures taken by David have been printed and framed for my apartment and viewing pleasure.