I Think It May Be Spring!

Thank goodness, right? If your winter was anything like my winter…ugh.

Father Winter was a big tease with lots of potential, but no big exciting events. In Maryland, we would get icy mix, a little snow, then it would melt and we were left with a few damp, chilly days in the mid-40s. Brrr…rrr

Thank you Goddess of Spring for finally taking control!

Last weekend, I led a “newbie backpacker” trip. We had 4 new and 5 experienced backpackers. The newbies had completed two shakedown hikes prior and felt somewhat prepared.

We began our adventure at Shippensburg Road trailhead on the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania. Saturday started as winter…very cold and windy! We got moving!

As we hiked the seasons turned. A lovely day indeed!

In general, we took this stretch slower, and with more breaks than I would take if I were going alone. Which makes perfect sense for new backpackers. They had plenty of time for adjusting the pack, stretching, resting, and enjoying the woods!

We rolled into Tom’s Run Shelter mid-afternoon, plenty of time for the newbies to set up.

It was a cold night and one newbie had not brought the recommended 20 degree bag. She learned and will pack accordingly next time. Sometimes, we have to learn the hard way. 🙂

Spring rebounded on Sunday! The trail was a slight disaster with tons of water flowing down it and many blowdowns that had to be climbed over, under, or around! Our newbie, who hadn’t slept much due to being cold the night before, just about petered out on the last hill of the day. We got some extra food in her and took it slow…she was determined to finish! She dug deep and conquered the last hill!

Everyone finished sucessfully at Pine Grove Furnace State Park with smiles (and a few emotional tears). I am so proud of these women! We stick together, push through our fears, learn from our miscalculations, and always Hike On!

Yankauer Nature Preserve Shepherdstown, WV

An hour. Not much, but a great respite in the middle of a day that left me feeling like yesterday’s recycled paper towel.

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Yankauer Nature Preserve is just north of Shepherdstown, WV off Scrabble Road. I arrived following Google directions which brought me through Hagerstown, MD, then down I-81.  I’ll go through Sharpsburg, MD, and Shepherdstown, WV, next time…more scenic.  After it was all done, I came back to Frederick that way.

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Stepping onto the trail at Yankauer,  my senses were overcome.  Cedar permeated and the quietness invited me in.  I inhaled deeply, closing my eyes.  The woods said “hello, we are happy you are here.” I answered, “thank you, thank you for being here.”

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The path wound through the brightest of green grass.  New spring grass, still fresh and untrampled.  Later, after spring goes and summer marches in, the grass will become hard and brittle in the intense MidAtlantic heat. 

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But for now, it’s new and inviting, begging for bare feet, picnics, laughter, and, possibly, a glass of wine and holding hands.  I was in love with this moment.  A kodachrome blip on my day of black and white. 

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Here’s to living in color. Raising my glass…Hike on.