Baby Steps at John Bryan


4 miles hiked.

Difficulty: very easy

It isn’t much. In fact, it’s pretty similar to training for a race by running thirty seconds at a time (which incidentally is something else I’m doing). But it’s a start! It’s more than we did yesterday and it means that next time we’ll hike somewhere a little more difficult and we’ll carry more and eventually, almost by accident, we’ll be pushing ourselves further than we thought we could. I am a big fan of baby steps.

We spent our afternoon/evening at John Bryan State Park in western Ohio. Ohio is no mecca of good hiking and I will be the first to admit it, but my sore feet and tired legs by the end of the day also mean that the hiking wasn’t as easy as it should be for somewhere so flat. The important thing is that it was easy enough to be fun and encouraging, which is quite a good start. I’m more than happy to save the inevitable painful-and-discouraging times of getting in good hiking shape for another day.

Fortunately, spending time out in the woods was definitely as easy as it should be. It’s a remarkable thing to suddenly have a deer cross the path twenty feet ahead of you. Or, while exploring a small outcropping, to happen upon some woodland magic like this fairy house.

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I fell asleep on the car ride home, I don’t know whether it had more to do with a short night or a long day. But I was trying to imagine how it will feel a year from now to spend day after day hiking and falling asleep twice as tired every night. It’s a little beyond my imagination right now, but even getting a little taste by spending an afternoon walking through the woods is enough to keep us headed in that direction.

In the Bleak Midwinter


Winter. Those dim, cold months of short days and long nights. We have kept inside so much from the snow and cold, building up our warm cocoon of blankets and frosty windows.
And we have been scheming.

Appalachian Trail 2015! Already two years in the making. It started with a handful of change Levi had collected from work. He jingled it into a giant empty pickle jar and plunked it on the counter.

“This is for the Appalachian Trail.”

And we’ve been doing it ever since. On slow shifts of serving when people leave piles of coins on the table there is the comforting knowledge that those noisy bits of change in my pocket get emptied into our jar of dreaming. It’s important having this plan, it’s something to talk about when we’re tired and feeling a little hopeless with life.

Or to write about when the thought of homework and another year and a half of school is frustrating and old. Which is also a good time for looking up the perfect lightweight backpack!

Granite Gear Crown VC 60

For a touch of technicality, but as quite an amateur, I like this pack because it looks to be a lovely blend of lightweight comfort and durability. I’m hoping to break it in with a wintery Spring Break hike in a few weeks.

What dreams keep you warm and hopeful through the short days of winter?