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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Going There, Doing That, and Getting the T-Shirt!

Apparently, I'm a hiker now. I mean, maybe. Maybe I'm a hiker now. But I am definitely an amateur photographer wanna be who takes outdoor pictures in the woods.

I have been hiking four times. All in the last month. I have been to Sweetwater State Park (with Tara), Amicalola Creek Interpretive Trail (with Olivia), Kennesaw Mountain (with Lisa, Tara, and Pam), and Raccoon Mountain (with Tara). In that order. And, Sunday, I'm going to Raven Cliff Falls (with Tara). So that will be five journeys into the wilderness in a month. Obsessive? Probably. But wait until you hear what I've done since this began. Then there will be no need for a question mark at the end of that word.

I have bought stuff. Hiking stuff. I've been to REI and I have purchased. What have I bought?

A hiking pack. I have this thing with bags. I need them. I love them. I buy bags like most girls buy purses. So this sort-a makes some kind of sense, for me at least. This bag is amazing, though. Osprey brand, it is gray and has a pocket for everything! And it's big enough for pretty much anything I could take with me, but small enough so I don't weigh it down with useless shit, as I tend to do. It is messenger-style with a waist strap, so it is easy on my back and my bum neck. That's good. I think it is even waterproof (but not sure)! One thing is for sure, 80% of it is made from recycled material. And that's good.

Hiking shoes. Probably smart, though after only a month? Well, yes. My tennis shoes, in all their gorgeousness and reliability, are not really meant for rocks and trails and mud. I'll clean them up and continue their intended purpose at the gym.  To my credit, I got these at DSW, they were about $75 cheaper than the exact ones at REI. So I'm happy with this.

Dry Sacs. These are amazing! The keep all your shit dry! When empty, they roll up all itsy-bitsy and can fit anywhere (for example, in my new pack)! Just shake it out, put the stuff in it I don't want to be harmed by the lake I could fall in as I dare-devil across rocks to get a picture or as we are standing in the wake of a waterfall, and YAY! dryness!

One thing that won't be in my handy-dandy dry sac is my new Rite-in-the-Rain journal. Waterproof! "WATERPROOF?  What?   Really?”, you say? Well, I don't really know. I'll let you know, though. I haven't yet had occasion to test it out. But the idea of it superseded the price tag on it and I had to have it!

Convinced of my obsessiveness yet?  Well, I also bought a t-shirt from Raccoon Mountain last weekend.  It says "Chattanooga Survivor" on the back.  I don't know why I thought that was so funny.  But I still think it's funny, so it was a good purchase.  I hope to have it in the budget to buy more silly t-shirts as the journeys continue.

...“I made it through the wilderness...somehow I made it through...” keeps running through my head. I can't help it...

So all this. Four, soon to be five trips into the woods. But here's the thing. I don't even really know if I like hiking yet. How crazy is that!

Here's what I like about hiking. I like taking pictures. I like looking at the wonder of nature. I like to exercise. I like to see different things, things that are not cluster homes and mcmansions and strip malls. I like hanging out with a friend and talking the day away. I like going to places I would never go otherwise, small towns and back roads. I appreciate that we have not once eaten at a chain restaurant while on these excursions, except for the mandatory stop at Starbucks before exiting the suburbs.

Here is what I do not like about hiking: I do not like that I have lived here for nearly twenty years and had no idea that all this beauty and life was around me. I feel like my eyes have been snapped open. I'm serious – in nearly TWENTY YEARS I had no idea that hundreds of destinations of beauty were within an hour, maybe two tops, of my front door.

In spite of my indecisiveness, I plan to continue. In fact, Tara and I are signing up for the Canyon Climbers Club. Once we complete the four specified trails, they will give us a t-shirt! (I love t-shirts!) And we have an on-going list of hikes we want to go on, a list that seems to grow every day.

I'm looking for books about hiking, too. I'm a beginner and a reader and an English major. That means I must read. MUST READ. One of my character traits is that I must know everything about everything, especially if I am participating in said thing.

I am particularly interested in hiking in Georgia, Tennessee, and North Carolina. Maybe Alabama, too, if it is close enough to home. Day hikes only – I am not a camper! If you have any suggestions on books that have been helpful for you, please send the names this way. If the books are available used (as in not super-new, a year or two – maybe five? - years old), and I could get a stack for a reasonable price, all the better!  Or, if you have hiked anywhere you think I should check out, please send out the name.

I will probably be writing a good bit about hiking in the coming posts. Other than my sister's bachelorette party in Florida next weekend and her wedding the weekend after, that's how I'm spending my free time. Please feel free to leave your experience (if you have any), concerns, well-wishes, funny stories, encouraging words, or criticisms of my new hobby below. I am sure I will benefit from each one!


  1. I love to hike. Seems I can never get it together to hike with friends so I'm going to have to learn to be comfortable and safe hiking alone! Enjoy the beauty around you my dear.

  2. I love to explore. I hate hiking. That said, I'll walk for hours to see a waterfall. But it ain't 'hiking'. See, just change the words around a bit's now not only palatable, but an adventure. And fun.

    Mandatory is John Anthony's Waterfalls of North Georgia. There's like 100 (I may be exaggerating a wee bit) here in NoGA, many of which are close together so you can hit more than one in a day. And walk. Don't hike.

    There. You have my two cents worth. You may want to wait till Sunday for Raven Cliffs. We're supposed to have thunderstorms and hail tomorrow...lately they've been pretty darn good at getting the forecasts right. Just so ya know...

    I have my eye on it 'cause we're supposed to move tomorrow. Love ya and have fun!

  3. P.S. Go over to my blog and put in keyword 'waterfalls'. It should pull up a couple of great 'walks'. The exact directions are in the John Anthony book or website.

  4. I've now given up my camping, but I've had some wonderful hikes--both overnite and day hikes in the Cohutta Wilderness NE of Ellijay. Taken some great photos there, too; but when I checked today I discovered that they were all taken before I went digital. I spent a lot of money at REI over the years.

  5. I;m so proud of you. I've hiked all my life...and to see your enthusiasm is wonderful.

    Now once I hiked the Grand Canyon, and received a T-shirt for my extraordinary effort.....for $19.95.