Tag Archives: travel

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? 

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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.

When the Banff Mountain Film Festival comes to town

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This weekend the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour made its way to Boone, NC. This Friday and Saturday event brought in families, college students, adults, youth and senior citizens to the Appalachian State Schaffer Center to view some of the best outdoor and adventure documentaries on earth. Banff Mountain, in Canada, puts on a yearly film festival. After the festival, a select group of films are chosen to go on the Banff Mountain Film Festival World Tour. Throughout the tour these films will be shown to audiences of over 390,000 people, at over 840 screenings and in over 40 countries.

I got to attend the festival on Saturday night, sitting front and center (it pays off to get there an hour early), with a group of High Schoolers that I volunteer with. Oh and did I mention that I also got to launch T-Shirts into the crowd with slingshots?? That was pretty cool.

All of these films grabbed my attention and had that “wow” factor. The kind of thing that just makes your jaw drop. Throughout the films it was not unusual for the crowd to burst into applause, not because the film was over, but because something incredible happened. I was in an auditorium surrounded by almost a thousand people and yet, these films spoke and moved each of us individually. I left the festival so inspired by the people in the films the settings they were located in and the underlying story that each of them told. These weren’t just extreme sports clips, they had a purpose and meaning but, most importantly they had passion.

This film, a 3 minute film about Bruce Kirkby and his journey as he crossed the Pacific from Vancouver to Victoria on a stand-up paddle board, is entitled, The Questions We Ask. Kirkby narrates the film and ponders what adventure means to him and why we partake in adventurous activities. This was one of his final statements-

“What is Adventure? I’m not so sure we know these days. Movies and magazines all scream extreme. Gore Tex suits and vertical routes, foreign trips and big cliff hits but, that’s not the heart of it. Adventure is curiosity, the willingness to embrace uncertainty and wondering about the possibility of just doing one thing differently than before.” -Bruce Kirkby

To me this quote serves as an inspiring reminder. A reminder that I do not always have to be doing an extreme sport or paying a fortune to be adventurous. An adventure can happen anywhere, in any aspect of my life, as long as i am willing to embrace the uncertainty.

What is adventure to you?

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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a fisheye life

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As I mentioned, my Dad gave me a fun little camera with a fisheye lens for Valentine’s Day. I have been having lots of fun snapping some shots. When I uploaded the pictures to my laptop, I realized just how much got in the picture. My shoes, the person beside me, my neighbors house…things I didn’t intend to be in the picture. The view through a fisheye lens is a little (more like a lot) wider. In other words, I can get a lot more in the picture. So, I got to thinking, shouldn’t we all see the world more like a fisheye lens, with a wider view of the world around us?

I asked myself, “Hayley, how can you make your life more like a fisheye lens?” So, I made a list, (what else would I do in class?) and came up with ways I can challenge myself to have a wider and broader scope on life. Here is what i came up with: caring for other people, paying more attention, appreciating what I already have, trying new things, breaking stereotypes and reading more. Pretty ambitious, huh? I came across this quote

” I live my life in widening circles,

that reach out across the world.

I may never complete the last one,

But I give myself to it. “

— Rainer Maria Rilke

That last statement really stuck with me, “But I give myself to it.” I like that. In my opinion, we can never stop broadening our view, especially as travelers. So, lets give ourselves to continuing the widening of our eyes and our hearts.

For this week, I am going to work on one of these, this week i am going to read more. I have some National Geographic articles to catch up and a few other magazine articles that I have been wanting to read. And by read, I mean actually read and re-read, to soak up the information and really let it sink in.  Next week, I will tackle another challenge. Stay tuned!

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A Spring Break Sunset

These pictures are just too good not to share! I have been having a blast this Spring Break. Laying on the beach, catching up with friends, watching movies, being with my family, relaxing in my hammock….are you jealous yet? I love getting to watch the sunset over the water, as apposed to the usual mountains, so I took my camera out to catch some pictures of a Wrightsville Beach Sunset.

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Hope you all are enjoying warmer days and sunshine.

Crowds, Cold and Chaos

This past weekend, a friend and I headed over to a local Ski Resort where we spent the day snowboarding. Well, I went snowboarding and she tried a version of it on the bunny slope. This day was comprised of my least favorite combination of C’s, crowds, cold and chaos. Being in college I have little sense of the public schools academic calendar. Apparently it was presidents weekend and every youth group and family seemed to have a trip planned to the mountains this weekend. I was there for the better part of the day and into the night. The lines for the lifts, rentals, shuttles and tickets were incredibly long. There was not adequate inside space to accommodate people, there was a crowding on the slopes, they ran out of helmets for rent and the parking extended outside of their parking lots and into local businesses parking lots. All of this and the temperature was in the teens.

However, through all of the crowds, cold and chaos I still had a great day. There was hardly a time when I wasn’t having fun and at times I was snowboarding by myself. So, why was i having such a good time despite the C’s? Once I made it to the top of the mountain, after getting off at the last ski lift stop I realized that it was worth it. As I type this it all seems terrible, like a horrible experience but yet, it was incredible. The wind can feel like little needles on your skin but the snow looks majestic as the wind carries it away, almost like ghosts, towering high to the people on the ski lifts. The powdery snow gets stuck inside my gloves but is a dream to ride on. Riding the lifts at night is like a mid-air haunted hayride but, the trees, covered in snow, look better from this angle. The lines can be a pain to stand in but, i’m glad people are here to experience the beauty of where I live.

Sometimes the weather stinks and people can be annoying but, thats the great thing about the outdoors. A beautiful landscape and some fresh air has the power to change your mood, lift your spirits and transform your day.

Have a good day friends and stay warm.