Sunday, November 02, 2008
If I thought the leaves along the Grassy Ridge Trail at Pilot Mountain were pretty yesterday, then the leaves on the Mountain Trail today were nothing short of awesome. My husband and I decided to do a circuit hike this morning of between 6 and 7 miles. The first section was on the Mountain Trail that climbs up Pilot Mountain almost to the top for an elevation gain of 800 feet. The higher we got, the more spectacular the colors were. I thought it was so exciting. Tommy (my husband) was less than thrilled with all the uphill, but I assured him that after 2.5 miles we would run into the Ledge Spring Trail and it would be smooth sailing the rest of the way. By the time we reached Ledge Spring he was looking, well, less than fresh :) He enjoyed the short and relatively flat walk along a section of Ledge Spring Trail, but then we arrived at the Grindstone Trail. At first he was excited because I told him it was mostly downhill, of course I forgot to mention that it is incredibly rocky (Pennsylvania has nothing on this section of Pilot Mountain when it comes to rocks). He soon decided that this was almost worse than climbing up Mountain Trail because, as he put it, I'm having to put on my breaks the whole way down. So, approximately 2 miles later, we arrived at the campground where we took a quick break and then walked along the road for about 30 minutes to where we were able to jump on the Grassy Ridge Trail that would eventually lead us back to our car.
The only downside to the day was that during our hike down Grindstone Trail we heard several ambulances or emergency vehicles going up the mountain. When we got to the main road in the park at the ranger station, we saw that they were stopping traffic from driving to the top. We were told that someone had fallen, possibly one of the rock climbers. Unfortunately, it seems that every couple years someone either gets seriously hurt up there or killed. We're just hoping that this time it turns out okay.
Otherwise, it was a beautiful day for hiking.
Saturday, November 01, 2008
My husband and I did a short hike this evening after I got off work at the spa. The leaves at Pilot Mountain are at peak color and I wasn't making good time because I kept stopping to take pictures. It was so nice that we've decided to go back tomorrow morning and do a 7 mile loop combining 3 different trails. I hope everyone is able to get out and enjoy some outdoor activities this time of year.
Friday, October 31, 2008
Yippee!! I LOVE this time of year! It's the best for hiking IMO (unless I'm in the southwest where they have that awesome low humidity). Okay, it's pretty in the summer, but it's a little hard for me to remember that I'm having the time of my life when I'm at war with the mosquitos and other flying bugs that seem intent on making a beeline for my eyes, nose, ears or mouth. What's that all about anyway? Then of course there's the poison ivy lurking around each bend just waiting to reach out and brush my legs as I pass by. When you're as allergic to this demonic little vine as I am, the mere thought of it can almost bring on a panic attack. Oh, and did I fail to mention the awesome humidity we have here in the southeast during those hot summer months. Nothing like peeling your pack off of your sweat soaked (and I do mean SOAKED) back at the end of your hike. So, it probably sounds like I hate hiking. Nope, just the opposite. I love it. It's my favorite outdoor activity. I love finding a trail where I can find quiet and solitude and get away from the stresses of the city. I just enjoy hiking in the fall and winter so much more because I don't have to deal with all those little annoyances (and they are really just annoyances). Another plus is that so few people hike around here in the winter that I often have the more heavily used trails to myself and don't have to go to the more remote areas to find some peace and quiet. Last Sunday DH and I headed to the Mountain Trail at Pilot Mountain, my first time on it since last spring. The poison ivy was dying away and we saw one other hiker. It was a great day. Then I went to hike the Grassy Ridge Trail at Pilot Mountain on Tuesday after I got off work. I never saw another person and the woods were beautiful with the leaves changing color. I can't hardly wait to get out and do some more hiking tomorrow!
Friday, October 10, 2008
As many of you may already know, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Having had several friends who have suffered from breast cancer, and a family member who died from a cancerous tumor in his brain, I was very frustrated with a feeling of helplessness to do anything for others suffering from this devastating disease. Then I was asked if I would be willing to volunteer some of my time as a massage therapist to provide free massages for cancer patients. Iíve now been volunteering my time for about a year. While I love working with all of my massage clients, the cancer patients I work on every month have provided me with as much as Iíve provided to them. There is nothing more rewarding than being able to provide these patients with a little bit of relief and escape from their daily stress, even if just for an hour. This has also put things into perspective for me. Sometimes when I start whining about something in my life thatís not going exactly as I had planned, I try to stop and remember what these individuals are going through and I realize how fortunate I am. Each of these patients are in a fight for their life and they are often on an emotional roller coaster. Their emotions include fear, anger, despair, and loneliness. Some want to lay down on my table and just relax and go to sleep. Others want to talk throughout their massage to release some of those buried emotions. Not only are they fighting for their lives, they are often stressing about finances because even with insurance, often their medical bills are incredibly expensive and many are unable to work regularly during their treatments.
The organization where I volunteer is a national organization that is free to cancer patients and relies on funding from private donations along with some funds from United Way. They also depend on volunteers to provide a wide variety of services to the patients.
I would encourage anyone who can spare even one or two days or evenings a month to check and see if you have a local organization that provides free services to cancer patients and see if they are in need of volunteers. Without volunteers, these services would not be possible, and they mean so much to these individuals.
Thanks for reading this and I hope youíll give it some thought. This is such a devastating disease and any help you can provide means so much to so many.
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