The Foothills Trail

After two months of preparing and fundraising the hike is over.

11 hours and 40 minutes of walking and my toes have crossed the finish line. It was tough, my hips hurt, my knees hurt, my shoes are tied too tight, I really want to lose the backpack from my shoulders, and there’s pizza at the hotel. 67 people were crazy enough to join me on the trail today. All kinds of people – young and old – laced up their boots to tell cancer to take a hike.

Today, we followed a path that wound through the hills. Past rushing waterfalls and bubbling creeks. We began in the dark before the sun rose with head lamps illuminating the way. While there were threats of copperheads and bears, we had no such luck in catching a glimpse of either one [thank god because I’m terrified].

We did this for all of the children fighting for their lives. For those that have endured the chemotherapy, radiation, infusions, surgeries; for those that were brave, yet lost. These children are far stronger than I for they have walked a unique trail through the halls of the oncology floor.


The Foothills Trail is beautiful. I’ll let these photos do all of the talking —

 

 

Goodbye Mervin

Tragedy has struck.

My majesty palm Mervin was diagnosed with a red spider mite infestation this morning and has found himself in the trash. I guess I wasn’t committed enough to try to save him because I just couldn’t handle all the creepy crawly bugs.

Farewell.

Maybe I’ll get another majesty palm some day.

Denver Bicycle Party

I LOVE puns. Or nerdy jokes/pickup lines. These are very important facts about myself.

In college, I met one of my closest friends and she just gets this about me. For example, we always send each other those memes with cats on them making chemistry jokes, like this one here and more here

a98010_Science-cat-Chemistry-Jokes

My sisters also get the pun obsession. We are always trying to come up with creative ways to say something and usually crack ourselves up in the process. [I am a strong believer in the necessity of laughing at your own jokes]

A few weeks ago my older sister Anna was texting me and trying to come up with a name for her birthday bike ride. A quick google search of bicycle puns didn’t help much with the title but gave us an excellent start for the description. The idea of this party was to have a “wheely good time” while biking around Denver, CO to various local breweries*. We would ride until we were “two-tired” to keep going. Get it?

Saturday morning we met up with our squad of riders and kicked off the festivities with champagne shot skis and mimosas. Shot ski technique is simple – try to be the same height as your team, don’t spill.


After pumping up our tires and eating a well-rounded meal of waffles and waffles, we buckled our helmets and headed to the first stop – Cerebral Brewing. Located east of downtown Denver, Cerebral has a neat vibe. They play on the intellectual side of brewing beer and display Petri dishes growing yeast on the inside tables! I’m pretty sure I got the beer – “Muscle Memory” – and I’m pretty sure it was delicious!

The next stop, Black Shirt Brewing! We biked there via City Park and Race Street where our group freely took up the whole street, grooving to good music and laughing because:

bikes + beer + sunshine = fun.

Black Shirt Brewing is located in RiNO with an awesome back patio where barrel sitting is a must. While the kitchen wasn’t open when we were hanging out, they had a GRAND OPENING for their pizza kitchen this week, April 19th. What could be better than a slice of pizza to wash down their beer?

The third and final stop on our beer tour was Ratio Beerworks. Alright, this place is cool. They have a fun vibe and the beer is fantastic. This was also the only stop that I ordered IPA which is my favorite type of beer so that may have influenced that statement….

Anyhow, out back is corn hole, lots of space to gather, and on the curb was a grilled cheese food truck for all of our hunger needs. All in all, a 10/10 day.


Where would you go on a bike tour of your town? Coffee shops, restaurants, breweries, ice cream stands – the possibilities are endless!

*obviously, if you choose to drink and ride your bike – ride responsibly!


 

 

Lists

If I don’t post my Atlanta bucket list, do I still leave Atlanta?
This is the struggle and lately it’s been a constant battle of emotions in my head and heart. I am beyond thrilled to be going home. I am thrilled to breath the mountain air and to be in a place, knowing I am taking the next steps towards my dream. Yet, I am sad to be leaving. It seems like it’s too soon. I’m just beginning to feel known and moving back to Colorado feels a little bit like starting over. I’ll be in the same city, but a different me [also, my new roommates are the rents, but they will probably have more fun than me with all my studying. I’ll be asking them when they’ll be home…]

I would be lying if I said that I haven’t changed at all since I arrived in Georgia. I’m thankful for these changes because each and every one of them have made me stronger. They have taught me how to better love one another. They have taught me to have my own opinion and worry less about what other people say. This adventure has taught me about risk, but most importantly about trust. Trust that He will provide and equip us with the necessary things to go out and honor Him.

If you are laying in bed wondering if you should move to another state, run the marathon, start the blog, change your job, travel to another country or whatever else is challenging you right now the answer is yes. Do it. Take that leap of faith.


Here is my Atlanta Bucket List – places to go and food to eat before I leave the City in the Forest. There is room for improvement so write any other ideas you have in the comments! I will update this post as I cross things off the list —-

Places to Eat:

  • Home Grown
  • Ria’s Bluebird
  • Buford HWY
  • Heirloom BBQ
  • Flying Biscuit

Places to Hike:

  • Max Patch, NC ✔️
  • Cumberland Island
  • Providence Canyon
  • AT Approach Trail ✔️
  • Lulu Lake Land Trust
  • Springer Mountain ✔️
  • Brass Town Bald
  • Yonah Mountain ✔️
  • Tallulah Gorge Floor

Other Places to Go and Things to Do:

  • BAPS Shri swaminarayan mandir Atlanta
  • North Georgia vineyard ✔️
  • Braves Baseball Game
  • Savannah
  • Find rooftop views of downtown
  • PCM farmers market
  • Picnic @ Piedmont Park
  • See pandas in Atlanta

Photos are from my latest excursion – the AT Approach Trail from Amicalola Falls to Springer Mountain, and back. This was a challenging – long – hike that had decent elevation variability and is possibly my favorite hike in Georgia to date. We had fantastic weather and completed the hike in ~6 hours! As I prepare for the Ultimate Hike at the end of April this was definitely good training.

I love u wknd 

The ladies in my house church are trying to plan a girls trip this summer and the only thing it’s accomplishing in doing is proving to me how little time I have left in Georgia. I counted. There are only 4 months — or 16 weekends. Time is scarce and these remaining weekends have just become significantly more valuable.

About a month ago I re-downloaded the dating app Bumble. It’s pretty much like all of the other dating apps with the unique twist that the girl has to send the first message [In general, I don’t like always being the first person to write something, but this way I can avoid the creepy/unwanted messages]. My interest in finding Mr. Right is low given that I’m packing up my life in just a few months, but my interest in trying as many restaurants in Atlanta is quite high. I figured this might be a fun way to accomplish that goal.

I’ve been on one date since writing my “about me” and I think it could have gone better.

It was a beautiful Saturday afternoon and we met up at the Westside Provisions area in West Midtown. The date started outside on the patio at Barcelona Wine Bar [one of my fav places in the city] accompanied by decent conversation and red wine sangria. We talked about our jobs and our dreams. What books we are reading, what we do on the weekends, movies, music, sports. All the typical first-date stuff. He talked about making plans for another date, paid the check and then we jay-walked across the street for Jenis Ice Cream [also one of my fav places]. All in all, the date was pretty good up to this point.

Where things went wrong was the moment I went to give him a hug goodbye and he went in for the kiss. Let me tell you, this wasn’t your average kiss. It was open mouth, tongue, and so, so much spit. In complete shock I pulled away and he states, “I guess you aren’t that kind of girl”. [Are you serious?] My response was, “Nope”, followed by laughter, followed by an apology, followed by “text me about dinner next week”. I haven’t heard from him since and that is totally fine by me.

For all the men out there wondering if they should kiss a girl on a first date with tongue, maybe reconsider? Or at least don’t start out with that…thnx.

I still want to cross new restaurants off my bucket list minus the wet kiss. Maybe I’ll go on more dates, maybe I’ll have some more stories to tell from it.

I love a good story. Huge fan.


I’ll share my full Atlanta Bucket List shortly, but in the meantime here are some pics from last weekend with my cousin Sarah visiting. We checked out the rooftop @ Ponce City Market, ate at Victory Sandwich, cooked up some fresh stir fry, and I solo hiked at Pine Log Creek and Quarry. There was so much moss in the water that it *almost* looked radioactive.

 

Sorry Daryll

Let me tell you a story, about a time [1 week ago] that I learned that people usually aren’t “nice and want to help you with your yard work”. 

Here in Atlanta there are A LOT of trees that translates to A LOT of leaves. I’m pretty sure that the house I rent has not had a proper rake job done in at least 5 years. Now, I know it’s not my job as a renter to do the upkeep and yard work, but I want to be proud of the space I inhabit. I want to walk up to my front door and not cringe because of how bad our yard looks. 

On Saturday I borrowed a rake, grabbed a bunch of bags and set to clean up the leaves. I was mid-leaf raking and weed pulling when this older man walked up with his lawn mower and rake in tow. He asked, “Would you like some help?” I hesitated a moment and looked around; it seemed like I had it handled. I was slowly chugging away with one half of the yard and there was plenty of daylight left. It was when he suggested that he could work on the other half AND that he had pruners to help with the bushes that I agreed. 

We both turned, started working on our sides of the yard, and it was at this point that I started to feel weird about the whole thing. First of all, why was this random guy walking around with a lawn mower and all the tools the do yard work? Second, I was the only person home and while it was the middle of the day I still wondered if I should text my roommates. [Uh oh, my phone was in the house]. As all of these thoughts are racing through my head, I’m pulling weeds and pushing leaves into bags. Finally, I think, “gosh, he probably wants me to pay him!”

Upon this epiphany, I looked over and said, “Daryll, I’m sorry but I think I misunderstood you. I actually don’t have any money to give you”.  He huffed and gave a retort at how did I expect him to do the work for free, then stomped off with his lawn mower. Whoops. 

Moral of the story? 

  • Random strangers don’t want to help you with your yard work. 
  • There is always an ulterior motive. 
  • I am super naïve. 

Always Enough

I recently started reading Daring Greatly by Brené Brown. First, this book has been on my list for some time and I am excited to finally have the chance to read it. Second, I always struggle a bit to start these books that cover topics important to my current life. The stories that point out the things I need to work on and think through bring up all kinds of weird emotions, and I have a much more difficult time finishing them as opposed to a fun novel [it took me 5 days to finish “A Man Called Ove”]. I’ve only read to page 72 but every page has words on it that speak to me, something that challenges me, or something that makes me think – “well duh”.

I wrote a couple of months ago about my desire to make the most of my remaining time in Atlanta. I desired to do something meaningful, something with impact, something that would make a difference not only in my life, but in the lives of the community around me. In this desire I have been challenged to act, but along with the push towards action has been the pull of a fear of failure.

Now, I know I’m not the only one that fears failure. In Daring Greatly, Brené Brown describes our culture as one of scarcity, as one of “never enough”. From not enough sleep each night to not enough resources to get the things done on your to-do list, we are constantly fed the phrase “never enough”. This cycle negatively impacts our psyche as we approach tackling the challenges and goals in our lives, taking risks and ultimately connecting on a deeper level with those around us. Early in the book, Brené describes a moment she has right before she goes out on stage at TED –

“Then, seconds before I was introduced, I thought about a paperweight on my desk that reads, ‘What would you attempt to do if you you knew you could not fail’…As I walked up to the stage, I literally whispered aloud, ‘What’s worth doing even if I fail’“?

Woah. Let me ask that again and let it really sink in – What’s worth doing even if I fail?

When you ask yourself this question, what in your life is worth pursuing even if you fail? What sort of emotions does this question stir up in you?

Honestly, those 7 words freak me out. They challenge me to try the things I am passionate about – to try being a leader, to try using the voice that I’ve been gifted with, and to try the things I haven’t done because I am so afraid of failing that I plan, and plan some more before I decide I am ready to take it on.

On April 29th I’m hiking 28.3 miles in less than 24 hours, and I’m raising $2400 for something I feel is incredibly important – childhood cancer research. I am terrified that I will fail and that I will not even get the chance to try to hike because I didn’t raise all of the funds. I am worried that I will let down the people that depend on the research that will discover the cure to their cancer. Yet, somewhere deep in the middle of all the self-doubt I feel peace and I am jumping head first into this adventure, trusting that when we run after the things we are passionate about God runs beside us.

 


While monetary donations are one of the obvious ways you can help me reach my goal, I need hiking partners, prayers and people to share this cause with their community.

We think that we don’t matter, that our small contributions can’t make a difference, but I have witnessed first hand how powerful a collective effort can be. For more information, visit my fundraising website here and/or email me at mgracehuey@gmail.com

The Majesty Palm

This is a post about my new house plant.

Let me introduce you to the majesty palm. 

I found him at IKEA on Sunday afternoon and he’s changed my life. It’s amazing what a little life and color can do to change your perspective, but I’m obsessed with this slice of life right now. It’s bright and balanced. My air feels fresh, like I can think more clearly. Now, fingers crossed it doesn’t die in the next month [if it does, I’m only out $12].

Those of you that have house plants, have you named em? I’ve named my car [suby] and I think I’m gonna name my palm, AND I would like your help. Vote for your favorite name below in the comments or give me your own suggestion! Here are the options I came up with –

  • Mervin
  • Fernando
  • Kahula [means “dancing”]
  • Kaipo [means “darling”]

I’m choosing to do the things that make my life richer. Choosing to do the things that help me think more clearly, laugh a little more, and smile. So I bought a house plant and I’m gonna give it a name. 

Flag It Down

There’s no greater feeling of rejection than when you are standing at the bus stop and the bus blows right past you. 

That’s right. That just happened. 

Picture me standing in full view, in the remaining daylight, waving my arms in the air as a large bus goes speeding past me and off into the sunset. 

Happy Monday y’all. 

25\\

I wonder if you’re allowed to throw you own birthday party. Do other people do that? I guess it doesn’t really matter what other people do because I already did and it was a blast.

I threw myself a brunch party with a frittata, donuts and hash browns. There were flowers and balloons and maybe – one or two – spilled glasses of champagne. Because last, but certainly not least, we had a mimosa bar.

The frittata was adapted from a recipe in this Against All Grain cookbook.

Donuts here.


25 will most certainly be an interesting year. It will always be the year that I started medical school. It will be the year that I move back to Colorado [maybe for the last time, or the first time]. It will be the year that I adventure to Thailand and the year that I try to squeeze in as many schenanigans in the South as possible. I wonder what else the year of 25 will be.