Working the trail

You don’t decide to work on trails for the money. It’s not the notoriety, the appreciation, or the benefits. There’s no real job security and there’s rough competition. 

You do it, because you want to hike to work. Because when you have free time, you spend it in the woods. Because you enjoy coming home filthy dirty and exhausted. You do it for the pride, even if no one else ever notices. 

You fall in love with it… or you don’t. There’s not really an in between. And once you know this is what you want, you’d do anything to keep doing it. 

I’d be content living out my life in the side of the mountains. Swinging in my hammock each night, listening to the birds. Building, renovating and hiking these trails. 

I want to teach Ethan what it means to leave no trace. To have the same love and respect for the forest as I do. Then maybe once he’s old enough, he may choose the same rewarding life. 

It’s not easy. I’m sore and bruised and bug bitten. I’m covered in dirt and sweat. I eat the same things day in and out. But I’ve never felt more alive. If I could have my family with me, I think I could truly feel whole for the first time in my life. 

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Love or hate

Working in the east coast mountains, you encounter endless laurels. Rhodedendron, mountain laurel, azaleas, blueberries… 

They grow quickly, over take trails and bald and water ways alike. Much of our job consists of cutting back the laurels, or tearing them out completely. Many people develop a deep disgust for the plant. 

But they’re native. They help with erosion. They give nesting and shelter to birds and wildlife. They provide a pollen source for bees and butterflies in the spring and summer…

And let’s not forget that their magical. The low hanging branches in full bloom over a trail gives a whimsical feel to what would otherwise be an average day. The rhime frost clinging to their limbs in  the winter is truly enchanting. They provide shade to weary travelers in the summer. 

No matter how much of it I have to tear out, or blaze through, or get stuck in… I will always love the laurels. 

Coming home

Things I have relearned on this trip.  

My son is super easily amused. He found a rock. It is now his pet rock and he’s teaching it tricks. (Its name is Bob) 

Twinkies are gross. Like the texture is fine, but the cake and filling are so sickeningly sweet I don’t know how people eat them. 

It takes a long time to fill an air mattress. 

I’m thankful for an electric air pump. (But it still takes a long freaking time) 

The wind… is cold. Stand in 20 degree weather in the sun, and you’re fine. Let that wind blow through you and you’ll wish you were still safely tucked away in your mother’s uterus. 

A change of socks can change your whole outlook and give you more energy. 

Sometimes, nostalgia IS as good as you remember it. 

Going down is a LOT easier than going up. 

Be sure to bring yummy snacks for hiking lunches. Picnics are great. 

If you need a helping hand in the Appalachia, the rhodedendron will be there. Respect the plants and they’ll respect you. 

Attaining a long lived dream is amazing, but even better when you can share it with people you love. 

 At the top of Curtis Creek is a waterfall. You can only see this fall from the top of the road. I decided long ago that I wanted a different photo. One of the falls up close. So that’s what we set out to do. 

The List

So here is the bucket list. I’m sure it will be ever growing and ever changing as life progresses.

Generally in Life

  • Write and publish all of my books
  • Work on Web comic with Nikki
  • Renovate a travel trailer to live in while building dream house
    • Then take that travel trailer around on adventures after
  • Own my own home near Asheville, NC
    • I’ve dreamed of a multi story home with a hobbit hole base it would have Victorian touches throughout.
    • A front deck overlooking the mountains.
    • Outdoor kitchen with grill, smoker, pizza oven.
  • Gardens to have around the home:
    • English style in front
    • Japanese garden in back
    • green house with flowers
    • enough veggies for the home
  • Farm life
    • Alpacas for yarn
    • ducks for eggs
    • highland cows for milk
    • goats for hiking
    • gypsy vanner horses
  • Learn to play instruments:
    • the ukulele
    • the banjo
    • the violin
    • the piano
  • Learn other languages:
    • Spanish
    • French
    • Gaelic
    • Japanese
    • Dutch
    • German
  • Take up photography and sell prints
  • Paint and sell prints
  • Screen printing of shirts and sales
  • Learn woodworking and make furniture and walking sticks
  • Learn leather working for gear and costumes
  • Learn to sew:
    • Custom clothing for hiking
    • cosplay
    • every day use
    • purses
    • backpacking Gear
  • Learn to dance
  • Train a search and rescue dog
  • Train an adventure cat
  • Become a park ranger or nature conservationist
  • Watch a meteor shower
  • See the aurora borealis
  • Layout in complete darkness to watch the milkyway
  • Learn the trick to bonsai and terrarium care and growing

Adventure and Outings in the US

  • Visit Biltmore estate
  • Cruise Mississippi River in steamboat
  • Attend Mardi Gras
  • Go hang gliding
  • Go parasailing
  • Learn to Rock Climb
  • Hike/backpack/camp/Climb/Kayak /Raft
    • Every public trail in WNC
    • The Appalachian Trail
    • The Pacific Coast Trail
    • Redwoods National park
    • Yellowstone
    • Grand Tetans National Park
    • Mountains to Sea trail
    • Continental divide trail
    • Zion national park
    • West Virginia Quiet Zone
    • Acadia national park
    • Denali national park
    • Rocky Mountains
    • Haleakala national park
    • Glacier national park
    • Black canyon Colorado
    • Pony express
    • Arches national park
    • Natural Bridges Utah
    • Sawtooth mountains
    • Olympic national park
    • Garden of the Gods, CO
    • Climb Devil’s Courthouse
    • Climb El Capitan
    • Climb Half Dome
    • Raft Rio grande
    • Raft and Hike Grand Canyon
    • Kayak around the Florida coast
    • Kayak around NC coast
    • Kayak around Maine coast
    • Kayak around the Puget sound
    • Thor’s well Oregon
    • Virginia natural bridge
    • Coyote gulch Utah
    • Witches Gulch Wisconsin
    • Alice Lake, Boise, ID
    • Kayak Cape Flattery, Washington
    • Kayak Crater Lake, Oregon
    • Maquoketa Caves, Iowa
    • Cathedral Caverns, Alabama
    • Mammoth Caves, South Dakota
    • Bat Cave, North Carolina
    • Linville Caverns, North Carolina
    • Carlsbad Caverns, New Mexico
    • Lizard Lake, Colorado
    • Handies Peak, Colorado
    • Watkins Glen State Park, NY
    • Slot Canyon AZ
    • Antelope Canyon, AZ
  • Take a hot air balloon ride over:
    • Appalachians
    • Grand Canyon
    • Lake Tahoe
    • Vermont in fall
  • Bungee jumping
  • Road trips and Drives:
    • Route 66
    • Pacific coast highway
    • Entire Blue Ridge Parkway
    • Hwy 179 Arizona
    • Hwy 163 Utah/Arizona to see Monument Valley
    • Covered bridges in new Hampshire
    • Last Dollar Rd, Colorado
    • Hwy 410, Washington
  • Visit lighthouses through new England
  • Watch the stars at the Mauna Kea observatory in Hawaii
  • Go on a whale sighting tour
  • Learn to ride a motorcycle
    • Tour of San Francisco
    • Key West
    • New England
  • See wild ponies in assateague island
  • Visit Atlantic City boardwalk
  • Waterfalls to visit or climb
    • Niagara falls
    • Shoshone falls, Idaho
    • Rifle Falls, Colorado
    • Crystal Mill,  Colorado
    • Havasu Falls, Arizona
    • Seven Falls, Colorado Springs
  • Ski/Snowboard:
    • Sun valley, Idaho
    • Green Mountain, Vermont
    • Denver, Colorado
  • Hot springs:
    • Hot Springs, North Carolina
    • Yellowstone, Wyoming
    • Umpqua
    • Conundrum Hot Springs, Colorado
  • Train ride:
    • Cass Railway
    • Mount Washington cog, New Hampshire
    • Great Smokeys
    • Silverton, Colorado
    • Tweetsy Railroad, NC
  • Run a 5k, half marathon, marathon and ultra marathon

 

Out of US

  • Travel by rail across Canada
    • Hike the Bruce trail in Canada
    • Banff national park Canada
    • Cliffwalk Vancouver Canada
    • Englishman river falls British Columbia
    • Kayak around Vancouver Island, BC
  • British Isles
    • Train ride across Britain
    • Rocky perch kilchurn castle Scotland
    • Isle of Skye, Scotland
    • Edinburgh, Scotland
    • Loch Ness, Scotland
    • Fingal’s Cave, Scotland
    • Visit London
    • See Stonehenge
    • White Cliffs of Dover in England
    • Giants causeway in Ireland
    • Dark Hedges Road, Ireland
    • Visit the Irish Castles
    • Dublin, Ireland
    • Cliffs of Moher, Ireland
  • South America
    • Backpack through Patagonia Argentina and Chile
    • Mt Fitz Roy Argentina
    • Take the train to the clouds in Argentina
    • Torres del Paine Park in Chile
    • Marble Caves of Patagonia in Chile
    • Nazca Peru
    • Inca trail to Machu Pichu Peru
    • Galapagos Islands
  • Europe
    • Check out Amsterdam
    • Visit the Swiss and the French Alps
      • Matterhorn
    • Kayak around Svalbard, Norway
    • Explore the Norwegian fjords
      • See Alesund
    • Crystal cave and Kirkjufell Iceland
    • Santorini, Greece
    • Kayak around Sermiljik Fjord, Greenland
  • South Pacific
    • Karijini national park Perth Australia
    • Sydney, Australia
    • Climb the blue mountains in Australia
    • Melbourn, Australia
    • Climb Saint Mary’s Peak, South Australia
    • Waterfall Beach, Australia
    • Bora Bora, Tahiti
    • Fiji
    • Palawan, Philippines
    • Backpack through all of New Zealand
      • I may have to upgrade this one to one day move to New Zealand to just experience everything. I’ve been in love with it since I was a child
      • Glowworm caves, New Zealand
      • Kayak around fjordland, NZ
      • Devil’s Punchbowl, NZ
  • Asia
    • Kayak around the island areas
    • Gyokusendu caves in Okinawa
    • Mt. Fuji Japan
    • Tokyo while the Cherry blossoms bloom
    • See Kyoto and Nara Japan
    • Bamboo forest Japan
    • Athirapally India
    • Chinnakanal tea fields
    • Travel the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway
    • Backpack through Har Ki Dun
    • Backpack through lower elevations of the Himalayas – see Everest base camp
    • Taktsang Palphg Monastery
    • Angkor Wat, Cambodia
    • See the Bagan temples in Burma
    • Lantern festival in Thailand
    • Backpack on a motorcycle through Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore and Taiwan
    • Danxia land formation China
    • Tianzi mountains Hunan China
    • Beijing, China
    • Glass skywalk in Tianmen China
    • Walk as much of the Great Wall of China as allowed

Dream Hike Love

I have finally finished my website. Well, finished I’m sure is all relative. I’m sure I will forever be adding and tweaking things. In time I will add a shop with some of my own upcycled/screen printed clothing, bumper stickers, patches and a plethora of other little things available. Any sales made will go towards three things. The first, will be half of the proceeds will go to hikes to work on cleaning up local parks and trails. The second will be to cover the cost of more supplies to continue “arting”, and the third will funnel into my North Carolina Migration.

Dream big, hike often and love ALWAYS.

Now… it’s been a long time since I’ve done any thank yous. This tiny little blog of mine has accumulated 55 followers. Yes I know to many people that doesn’t sound like much.. but to ME… that’s a big deal. I’m nobody. I’ve created this little blog as a pensive to store my thoughts, my dreams, my inspirations… and maybe. Just maybe bring a smile to someone’s face.

So thank you, to all fifty five of you wonderful people.