Hermit Trail

I tried to sleep at the trailhead after parking at 3 am, but all I could think of was whether or not there were mountain lions in the Grand Canyon. Sitting in my car, waiting in the darkness, I remembered that best practice was to never hike alone. I remembered that if you chose to hike alone, then you should let people know when you expect to return, but my people were down in the bottom of the canyon without cell phone service. My thoughts spiraled… this was a bad idea.

Despite these fears, I laced up my hiking boots and hoisted my pack onto my back. I wasn’t going to let these last-minute doubts ruin all the planning and dreaming that had gone into this moment. Walking into the Grand Canyon from the rim it was pitch black except for the tiny beam of light coming from my headlamp. The silence was broken by my shoes crunching rocks, my breath quick. With each step the darkness slowly lifted and soon enough I turned a corner to see the Earth drop away into the depths of the canyon, while the sun grazed the walls rising around me. I continued to hike, following the trail that hugs the canyon wall while slowly descending deeper, and I felt like someone in “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”; a miniature version of myself picked up and placed on a topographical replica of something imagined.

After hiking for several hours, I began to wonder when I would run into Leah. According to our newest plan (hatched over the spotty satellite phone connection), she would start hiking on Hermit Trail from Granite Camp at 4 am. We would hopefully pass each other on the trail, she climbing out, me climbing in, but I left the keys at the car. Just in case.

The moment I saw Leah approach me was the moment I was first able to breathe deeply, and a weight lifted off my shoulders. Maybe this crazy thing was going to work out all along. We exchanged a hug, some snacks and I checked in about the first part of the trip while Leah checked in about my exam the day before. We snapped a selfie and departed in our own separate ways.

The next big hurdle was meeting the rest of the group at the beach before Hermit Rapids. I arrived around 9:15 and sat down to wait; stripping my shoes off and dipping my toes into the cold, clear Colorado River for the first time. It was hard to relax (I wasn’t quite on river time yet), so I paced, applied sunscreen and checked to see exactly how squished the cupcakes were that I brought with me for Garrett’s upcoming birthday. They were only **slightly** squished. Around 9:45, I spotted a single raft at the bend in the river. Then two, three … four. Okay, now I could relax and it was going to be an FA day.

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 —

 

 

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.