Tag Archives: explore

Backpacking Grayson Highlands

I spent Easter Weekend, and a few days extra, backpacking through Grayson Highlands State Park in Virginia. Having never been to this area I was not sure what to expect. I had seen pictures from friends’ trips and looked online but that still didn’t prepare me for the experience. Some highlights included visiting with wild ponies, splashing in creeks, bushwhacking, hiking the the highest point in Virginia and eating delicious food. At many points I felt as though I ways on another content, not just a few hours away from my home. The rocky terrain and the vast open valleys made me feel as though I was trekking through the set of The Hobbit. We spent 4 days in the backcountry, picking up and moving camps every night. Each new day came with its own new environment. One day we could only see trees in the distance and the next we were hiking through a mossy forest covered by the canopy of evergreens. One day we had to hike a ways for water and the next day we were swimming in a creek. It was rewarding to know that I was able to see all of this beauty by foot, that I had walked, crawled, hiked, climbed and traversed every mile. On the last day we pulled out the map to figure out where we started, days before, and it was now a peak in the distance.

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On our last night we ended up sleeping at Wise Shelter, the 500 mile marker along the Appalachian Trail. There must have been 30 hikers staying in that area and we actually had the opportunity to feed a pair of hikers some dinner. That night we saw people of all ages and all walks of life set up camp together. Some had accents and some didn’t, some where alone and some were in pairs, and some seemed like experienced backpackers and others appeared to be beginners. It was entertaining to witness their community that they had all formed. Many had been hiking together for weeks now, and others had just met at the town before. They all supported of each other, encouraged each other, and shared their belongings and stories with each other. I was glad I got to be a part of this literal milestone on their journey.

How cool is it that nature, and the simple act of hiking along trail has the power to change peoples lives and create such an incredible community? 

30 by 30

30 by 30. A list of 30 things I would like to accomplish by the time I am 30

I have actually been working on this list for a while now and many bloggers I follow have similar list. I wanted to make sure these were all things that I truly wanted to do before I am 30, not just before I died. It was hard differentiating this from a bucket list but, these are all things I decided I should do in my twenties. I am 20 years old which is the perfect time to make this list. I have exactly 10 years to accomplish these 30 things. It is my hope that through doing these things I grow and challenge myself. If this is what my next 10 years are going to look like…I am pretty excited about it.

1. Skydiving

2. Buy my own car

3. Fall in Love

4. Finish knitting a scarf

5. Get off my parents payroll

6. Run a half marathon and/or a triathlon

7. Go scuba diving on the Great Barrier Reef

8. Find a Job I love

9. Snowboard out West

10. Get a professional massage

11. Go on a solo backpacking trip for at least a week

12. Decorate my own office

13. Eat Gelato in Italy

14. Make money with my Blog

15. Give a motivational speech

16. Start a garden

17. Get a Henna tattoo in India

18. Cut my hair short

19. Drink Margaritas with my parents on Wrightsville Beach

20. Eat a fish I caught

21. Drink Wine in Napa

22. Live Abroad for at least a few months

23. Get lasik eye surgery

24. Host an adult dinner party

25. Visit Grand Canyon

26. Kayak the through the Everglades

27. Sit on a nude beach

28. Purchase a piece of local artwork

29. Refurbish a piece of furniture

30. Go parasailing

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Lets hope that when I am 30 I still have as much spunk and personality that I do in this picture from my 20th Birthday.

End of the Season

Well folks. The 13-14 snowboarding season has come to an end. Since December, I have spent countless hours strapped into my Burton snowboard cruising down App Ski Mountain. App Ski Mountain ended the season with their annual meltdown games and it was a blast to watch. Not that I am an incredible snowboarder or anything but this weekends closing ceremonies made me reflect not only on these past 4 months, but also but the past 3 seasons. When I first started snowboarding, my freshman year of college I was terrible, afraid of everything and my gear consisted of rentals and family hand-me-downs. I never thought it would become something I did more than a few times a season…but it did. I never thought I would ever attempt a rail or a jump…but I did. I never thought I would own my own gear…but I do. I never thought I would make so many friends out there…but I did. In the midst of frigid temperatures and unbearable downpours of snow, getting to go snowboarding kept my spirits high and gave my friends and me something to look forward to. I am thankful for every fall, every lift ride, every jump, every box hit, every ride and every morning I woke up sore. It was sentimental taking my last ride down the mountain. I took it slow and appreciated the view of the Mountains, the sunshine, the snow and the people surrounding me. Every season of life comes to a close so with that I say… bring on spring!! I’m ready for ya.

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Lyrics I Live By

Happy Friday Friends! Luckily, I do not have classes on Friday so my weekend started last night at 8pm, when my CPR/First Aid class was finished. This week my blog has taken a back seat, mostly due to my insane workload and my lack of internet connection. Which has lead me to The Local Lion, a local coffee and doughnut shop, to steal their WIFI and enjoy their doughnuts.

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Today I wanted to share a little peace of me, a little peace of my inspiration and a little peace of what keeps me going. As a tourism major and adventure junkie I have full intentions of traveling for the rest of my life. As I apply for internships and look ahead to my professional future I have no idea where my future lies. Alaska, out west, Australia, Europe, even Iceland, i’m willing to go apply anywhere and go anywhere. I am about 80% completely enthused with knowing my future could take me anywhere, 15% overwhelmed by all of the different directions my life could go and 5% scared out of my mind and want to live with my parents forever. (Twin bed 4 life…who’s with me??) That last 5% of me needs a little more encouragement and well…a little more inspiration on the subject.

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These lyrics, by NeedtoBreathe, replay over and over and over in my head each time I fill out an application, have an interview or just find an agency that I would like to work for, none of which seem to be in North Carolina. These lyrics, that are so beautifully sung in the song, “Keep Your Eyes Open”, give me the courage and the faith to leave home, let go and make my way to seeing the Great Unknown.

This blogging community has introduced me to a world of people that have experienced and are experiencing the same things that I am. I am thankful for this  community and my home community  that continues to encourage me through my journey.

Have a great weekend friends! Thanks for stopping by!

Costa Rica Part Tres: Manuel Antonio

Well folks, here we are. Part 3 of my 3 part series from my trip to Costa Rica. Don’t worry though, I still have a trip video that will be coming out shortly. (Caitlin Nancy–if you are reading this…I am coming for your video footage) This last leg of the trip was more low-key so I have decided to format it just a tad different.

We spent our time in Manuel Antonio, mostly playing in the water, but, on our way there we stopped to tour an organic coffee farm. It is hard to think about coffee while you are sweating in Costa Rica but, as I sit here and type this post with a coffee in hand, I now appreciate the knowledge that I gained from this tour.  Not only did we tour their coffee factory (all outside) we also got to witness the making of sugar cane liquor and take a short hike through their property. Special shout out to my Mom, who just this morning, texted me regarding how much she was enjoying the coffee I brought back for her. Please email me regarding where you can send my daughter of the year award.  🙂

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Once we arrived in Manuel Antonio we went straight to the beach, where we watched the sunset. This was the first time I had ever touched the Pacific Ocean or watched the sunset over the water. I am an atlantic coast girl, we wake up at 5am to see the sunrise on the water. It was a surreal moment and luckily, the water was warm.

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The next day we came back to the beach where we entered Manuel Antonio National Park. We had fun playing in the water, eating coconuts, climbing along the rocks and shopping around the local town. Seeing mountains and rock formations along the coast was a new sight for me. In North Carolina the coast is at one in of the state and if you drive 5 hours west, you will be in the mountains. Here I was hiking and playing in the water all at the same time. Dream come true? I think yes.

That same afternoon we went on a snorkeling and boating excursion with Iguana Tours. Even though it was raining we had a great time. We took a 2 hour boat ride where we danced, ate fruit upon fruit (go figure) and even caught a cat nap. Boy do I love falling asleep to the sound of the waves. It was beautiful. As the sun was setting we were served dinner and had an opportunity to snorkel and jump/slide off the top of the boat. If you give me a water slide, I can be occupied for hours. The rain cleared just in time for the sun to set and it was picture perfect. Shout out to our friend Thomas that posed as an enthusiastic tour guide and pal for our tour.

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As I wrap up this 3 part series I have been able to reflect on this incredible trip. This Blog has given me the opportunity to share and remember all of those special moments. Rain or shine Costa Rica is a beautiful country with so much to offer. As I look out the window in the library and see nothing but snow and ice, I have enjoyed reflecting on the warmth of Costa Rica. Hopefully i have helped convince you to get your tails down to costa rica!

Thanks for reading friends! Movie coming soon!

peace out–HAYUP

Avoiding Winter-Break Boredom

Christmas festivities are winding down, you have finished an entire netflix series, you are out of money from shopping, you have finally caught up on your sleep, your parents have gone back to work and you are home for 2 more weeks. Oh! And my personal favorite…your parents are threatening that if you don’t get off the couch you are going to have to go through all of your old childhood things (avoid that as long as you can).  Yep! I’ve been there and so have all my friends. My friends from home and I  have gotten pretty creative over the years trying keep ourselves entertained, spend time together and get ourselves out of the house, away from the leftovers. We are here to share our wisdom with you! This is to all the college freshman out there who literally have no idea what to do for another 2 weeks and are missing their friends from school.

Try to make a little extra money because, who can’t use an extra $10? Ask your family, grandparents, aunts, uncles or neighbors if they need some extra help getting things done. Bathe dogs, walk dogs, wash some cars, babysit, do some yard work, polish your dad’s “glory days” trophy collection or just go tap dance downtown. I guess you could say i had the “privilege” of bathing  my sister’s dog and now my gas tank has a few extra gallons in it.

Get outdoors! Try doing all the things you used to love to do as a kid. Rally the gang and ride some bikes, climb a tree, jump on a trampoline, ripstik, play tennis at the park, Rollerblade and take back your neighborhood streets from the new generation of munchkins.

Get creative. I would say that this is our specialty. We have made our own music videos, destroyed the kitchen baking cakes, played board games, dedicated a whole day to crafting for our dorm rooms and even tested out at-home kid’s science experiments. Now is the chance to unleash your weirdness and creativity because once college is over you are gonna be wishing for a random Wednesday to whip out the glue guns with your best friends.

Catch a weekday matinee movie…like I said, when is the next time you are going to be free on a Wednesday  afternoon to catch a cheap movie? Not to mention there are just some great movies out right now.

Explore your town! You are a student now so you get all kinds of discounts! Hit the museums, art galleries, local parks and town landmarks. I’m guessing that your local museum has changed a few exhibits since you went on a middle school field trip there. 

Hope this helps! And if none of these things work you can try starting a blog because I love it and it keeps you busy!

How do you Avoid Winter Break Boredom?

Hosting Your Broke College Friends For A Weekend

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WHOA BABY as in… Whoa Baby finals are over and I am slowly making my way home for my Christmas break. Just days away from Christmas, New Years and then Costa Rica! I am proud to report that I got straight A’s this semester (Merry Christmas Mom and Dad) and now that finals are over I will have lots of free time to devote to blogging and being present here on the blogosphere.

I had an INCREDIBLE mountain weekend with my friends! I love Boone always, but even more when I have time to enjoy it without the stress of class. We had two big sleepovers and two days that were action packed at Appalachian Ski Mountain. Even though my friends were braced with some not-so-ideal snowboarding conditions they still learned like champions and in the words of my friend Kenzie “Shaun White ain’t got nothin on us.” Here are some of my tips on how to successfully host an awesome snowboarding weekend with your broke college friends. These might be really obvious but they are my fun little way of recapping the weekend.

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1. Check Out Group Rates

We couldn’t get a group rate at the mountain this time because there wasn’t quite enough of us but, we got one with a big group last time and we all saved about 10 or 15 dollars. It is definitely worth giving the resort a call to see if they offer group rates and if you qualify.

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2. Make your own magic

We had all just finished exams so we were all pretty exhausted and spent out on Christmas shopping. Friday night we made our own magic in my apartment. We jammed out to Justin Bieber’s Christmas album, played games in my apartment and caught up with each other. As for Saturday night…let’s just say we all headed to bed early. We are college kids…we just need to be together to have fun!

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3. Pack Your Lunch

We saved a ton of money by not buying lunch at the Ski Resort and packing our own. We made a grocery list, divided the items evenly and took a group trip to Wal-Mart…which is always an adventure. Both Saturday and Sunday we took over a little space in the ski lodge and had our own picnic, complete with Christmas cookies. We may have received some dirty looks from the employees but I am thinking they were just eyeing our goodies.

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4. Get an Early Start

Ski Resort tickets can be very expensive, especially on the weekends, so get an early start and get the most out of your day! My friends loved waking up to Christmas music, coffee, my bright and shiny face, waffles and scrambled eggs. We made it to the mountain at quite an impressive hour, beat the crowd and had a FFFFFUUULLLLLLL day seizing the slopes.

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5. Rent Local

This is something that I wish I would have known long ago. Many local ski or snowboarding shops offer rentals which can save you lots of money from renting them from the resort. I have my own gear but my friends were able to get a student discount, faster service and a weekend rental from, First Tracks, a snowboard and ski shop literally seconds from my apartment. I give myself a pat on the back because that was my suggestion.

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For all of the things I can’t describe through my typing i have put together this fun little video that captures some of the highlights from the weekend!

I am still learning how to make videos and i dont have the best software so i apologize for all the glitches

https://vimeo.com/82099767