a couple weeks back i had the privilege of jetting to dc for a long weekend to visit my brother. we spent a day bumming around the city on bike shares, then headed to the shenandoah valley for some backpacking. we hiked through boulder filled hollers and along knife-edge ridges, with views of rural america and small towns for miles. i love hiking in the winter while the trees are dormant. we hiked sections of the tuscarora trail, a 300-mile appalachian trail bypass i hope to one day hike in its entirety.

i don’t backpack nearly enough, yet every time i get out i feel more recharged than a long weekend at home. i always find excuses and talk myself out of it – my job makes me sick of hiking, the mountains are too far, it’s too much planning and packing. joe and i literally did no planning and winged the food situation – it all turned out fine. i came home after being out in the woods and felt more like myself than i had in months.

here’s to a 2017 of no excuses – the woods are where i belong, and i shall visit them often.

mountain laurel along the trail.

mossy rocks at one of the few creeks we passed. water was scarce!

winter creek.

views of farm land and front royal, va.

lichen is so stunning in the winter.

rocks. there were so many rocks, literally more in one place than i have seen in my entire life.

view of the shenandoah river from our campsite.

letting my sweaty t-shirt dry out.

blessed with dry deadfall and roaring campfires.

i love geometric rocks.

classic AT shelter.

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