Virginia’s Apple Orchard Falls Hike

Often I want hikes to last longer than they do; I want time to slow. This could be for a variety of reasons: The view is so beautiful that the minutes, hours I have to take it in — It is never enough. Or the memories created at that spot, on that trail, on that mountain — They are ones I desire to hold onto because I know they will escape and fade, despite my attempts to grasp them. Or, like this day, I could want the hike to last for a more simple reason: To stretch time in the wilderness with my sister and fiance before life gets in the way again.

Virginia’s Franklin Cliffs Hike and Camp

It’s April Fool’s Day — a time for jokes and pranks and hoaxes. A time to instill doubt, second-guesses, concern, dare I say a smidge bit of worry. A time when trusting individuals are turned to fools, and loyal individuals become tricksters. April Fool’s Day — a time when . . . let’s be honest . . . a time when Andrew proposed to me.

Virginia’s Stony Man Mountain Hike

“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.

Virginia’s Humpback Rocks Hike

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.