A Hike, A Hang Out and A Full Heart

So my last post was about this busy season I’m in right now, and it seems to be getting busier and busier.  But a sweet and fun part of this full season, is that it’s also my birthday season!  OK, I don’t claim the whole season for birthday celebrating, but maybe I stretched it out for at least the weekend.  And I might extend it even a little more still too.

I know a few other girls who were also born in May, so I took advantage of several reasons to celebrate and planned a little something.  I’d been wanting to host a get together at my house and also to do some hiking, (my spring hopes come true!), so I combined the two and we headed out after school on a Friday to hike and hang out.

IMG_6360We took the Continental Lane.  Washington’s army did a good job of blazing the trail long ago, so it’s a nice easy walk through the woods.  Which was good for us.  We had kind of a larger hiking party and lots to chat about, so we couldn’t really focus on rock climbing  or scaling boulders.

IMG_6364I had a few moments during the hike and at my house afterwards when I saw this group of ladies before me  and my heart was so filled with gratitude for the people in my life. All the people.  I feel truly blessed to have these gals and lots of other good, good souls in my life and many others who aren’t in my daily days, but who have crossed my path and I keep in my heart.  I wish they all could have been there.  I could probably go on for a while about something sappy like how walking this trail in the woods is symbolic of the paths of life we walk with each other, but you probably saw that one coming, right?  I’ll spare you.  Just saying, my heart filled up. And my eyes might have too a few times… and then someone was walking without a shoe (Not naming any names. Or even initials!) and we had to poke in tree holes and we laughed and talked and walked. IMG_6372I took my Ling Bling along and found a good place to leave it for someone else.  Part of me didn’t want to give it up, but I like the idea that someone else might find it, get a smile from it, feel gratitude and pass it on.

IMG_6369After we hiked enough, we went back to my house and some more friends came.  We muddled drinks and cooked on the grill, enjoyed the patio, toasted to birthdays and friendship, ate cake and lingered around the table.

IMG_6359Full heart!  And a happy birthday month to my May girls!

PS – I didn’t draw that heart.  We just found it there on our path.  I hope you find lots of love on your path today!

 

 

#23 – A Tour of My Own Backyard

OK.  So it wasn’t my actual backyard.  No tour needed there.  Walk out the door and you see the whole thing. It’s a tiny yard but I love it and I’m grateful for it because I love to be outside.  Lucky for me, there are lots of parks with hiking and biking trails and plenty of space for stretching out and exploring that are super close to home and feel just like part of my neighborhood.  Even luckier for me, my pal, Jenna, knows some of these trails like the back of her hand and way back in July, when it was summer play time, Jenna gave me a personal tour of Washington Crossing State Park.  Here’s the trail map:

Washington Crossing State Park

You can click it to see some details or I’ll just tell you a little bit about it.  There are about ten trails that crisscross and loop around each other.  There are horse trails and hiking trails and multi-use trails. Maybe you can mountain bike here? I don’t know.  There’s a nature center and camping and picnicking areas.  There’s even an outdoor theater where you can see plays and movies under the stars. (I haven’t done that though. Add it to the list? Maybe.) The park’s website says there are over 15 miles of moderate hiking trails in this area.  It’s definitely not the biggest park around here.  It’s downright small compared to some places I’ve been hiking, but I loved it just the same.  Maybe even more.  Why?  Because it’s home, it’s my backyard and because when you’re out in those woods, it’s not what people expect or think of when they think of New Jersey. Jenna and I talked a lot about traveling as we hiked that day and I got thinking about talking to people about my home when I’m not here.  I’ve traveled away to other states, as far away as Alaska, and people have actually cringed when I told them I live here. I blame TV.  Now I’m not gonna link to the Jersey Shore show anymore cause I’m sure these ladies aren’t helping much either (even though I completely admit to watching full day marathons!), but I’m just sayin, here’s another way to look at Jersey:Well, anyway that’s some of the stuff I like to look at around here…trees and green.  I’ll work on taking some better pictures, that’s #22.  You should also know that Jenna led the walk that day and didn’t need that map up there at all and I think we did about half of those trails in some combination, maybe more.  She just knew where to turn and connect them, to walk out on the road for a little bit and add an extra mile or two here and swing past the theater there and cleared the trail of logs and debris as we went and then looped back to where we started.  I think the total hike was around 7 miles.  PS- Jenna RAN that BEFORE she met me for the hike! Jenna, you’re AWESOME! Thanks for the tour! Where we going next?

#18 – Wild

It’s the book I just finished reading!

Wild is the true story of Cheryl Strayed’s eleven-hundred-mile solo hike on the Pacific Crest Trail.  At the age of 26,  a few years after her mother died of cancer and her marriage ended, Cheryl decided to start walking, all by herself, in the Mojave Desert through California and Oregon all the way to Washington State.  She was not an experienced hiker and was at a very low place in her life.  At times, her journey across the land seemed to break her down even further.  The book starts like this: Continue reading

The Category Cloud and #23

Have you noticed the category cloud there on my home page?  It’s the green words that tell you what I’m up to.  Each time I categorize a post with one of those words, the word gets bigger.  The more I do something, the bigger the word.  Have you noticed the biggest words?  “FOOD” and “EATING”!  “Recipes” and “wine” are medium sized.  “Running” is tiny.  It’s sad, but true.  (Yet, yummy.)  I need to get moving!

So, even though it was super hot and humid here on the first day of summer (95 degrees!), I grabbed one of my best pals and we set out for a hike.  We packed up lots of water, some snacks and Caroline’s Camera then trekked into the woods. We walked. We spent some time frog watching. We walked. We scrambled over boulders.  We walked.  We listened for bears.  (They live around here!) We walked and walked.  Under the shade of lots of trees, it was cooler than we expected.  Judging from the sweat that was dripping down my forehead and causing my hair to curl, I’m sure we were getting a good workout, but with all that FOOD and EATING I’ve had going on, I thought I just needed to kick it up a notch.  And that’s when I decided to scale a tree.  No big deal.

Cool, huh?  Did you know that I’m an award winning tree climber?  It was a little tough at first but once I got going…OK. I confess.  That’s a trick pic.  I’m actually laying down on the tree that must have fallen a little while ago right across our trail. (See what we did there? My friend is a good photographer!)  When I showed this shot to some other friends they thought I really was just shimmying right up that big trunk.  It reminded me that things can appear differently depending on our perspective and also that we get to make our lives by the stories we tell ourselves.  I could tell myself that I’m a FOOD EATING blob or focus on being a TREE SCALING HIKER. I actually want to be both.  Well, not the blob part, but I do love food!  What would end up in your category cloud? Get out there, get moving and make a good story!