Hike Fifteen: Virginia’s Stony Man Mountain

“I’ll burn my old boots,” I began thinking. “To save Usua and me, I’ll burn my old boots.” I was entering a moment of desiring hope, a moment of needing a pick-me-up, and that’s when Usua turned to me — red-nosed, hat icing over, hands stuffed deep into her pockets, scarf wound four times around her neck — and she looked right at me and said, “Vwe get loust to-gether, vwe die to-gether.” Reassuring.

Hike Fourteen: Virginia’s Humpback Rocks

It seems only fitting that on New Year’s Day, a day of celebration and new beginnings, I would reminisce over the last trail I’ve taken in awhile, the one that comes almost a year after I first bought my hiking boots and set off into the wilderness. And while this trail wasn’t filled with terror or death-defying adventures, it was nice to simply stroll up a mountain with some of my most true friends.