“I grew up during the last years when kids were still allowed to be wild. We played outside all day, free and in nature. When I became an adult, my priorities changed, and I studied hard, went to medical school and became a doctor. It was an all enveloping process that took up a decade of my life, and I stopped making time to be outside. During my training I suffered an injury that almost cost me my medical career, and made it difficult for me to walk for several years. I retreated inward and was lost in anxiety and depression. Gradually, I started to heal, physically and mentally, and I finished my training. I found I had more time for myself, and I started hiking anytime I could. I wanted to be closer to the wilderness that I loved so much, so I moved my family across the country to Oregon. Now I live in a valley surrounded by mountains, and I hike or ski any chance I get. The outdoors has been my saving grace, and hiking has helped me find calmness in a world that fills me with anxiety. I couldn’t be more thankful.”—Jenny (@doctorofacertainsize)
📍Oregon Coast, this land originally held in stewardship by the Tillamook, Chinookan, Nez Perce, Modoc, Conferederated Tribes of Coos, Coquille, Clatsop, Cayuse, Shasta, Walla Walla and other tribes.
Trail Review - Adam Run Trail
This is from my first real winter hike of 2020, where the ground was frozen, the air crisp, the sky clear, and the beauty was REAL. I doubt I would have given this trail a try, if I hadn't strained a muscle and needed something a bit more on the chill side.
Normally, I much prefer loop trails – I’ve found I really dislike retracing my steps on a hike. While I’ve found I can do the same loop over and over, covering the same ground in the same day makes the hike feel MUCH longer to me.
I’m very glad I got the opportunity to hike this trail – it’s very pretty and removed from the road for the most part. It’s shorter – 3.3 miles – without much elevation, so it’s ideal for those just starting out, folks with minor injuries, or if you just want a quick out and about. They called it a “primitive trail,” which meant it narrowed to single file in sections, but was otherwise well maintained and very easy to follow/well marked.
Here’s all the pertinent details:
· Loop Trail
· 3.3 Miles
· 308 Ft. Elevation
· Dogs Allowed: Yes
· Wheelchair Accessible: No
· I didn’t see anyone else on the trail, despite the “moderately trafficked” rating on AllTrails. My guess is it’s fairly deserted in winter.
· It’s very pretty in spots, with several minor creek crossings.
· There’s an archery range at the trailhead, be kind of neat to do both in a day! (note: have to bring your own bow/arrows, but it’s free and open to the public)
· The “Top of the World” was a bit confusing. I went the little extra bit to check it out, and truthfully, I didn’t think the view was all that – it was pretty, but nothing really out of the ordinary.
· It’s 3.3 miles – a very pretty hike, but the downside is that this loop doesn’t connect to any other trails in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, so there isn’t really an option to extend your hike if you want to.
Have you hiked Adams Run? Have a trail recommendation? Let me know below or email me here!
I Would Walk 500 Miles...Wait, I Did!
Lucy and I did it!! 500 miles since July. BOOM. DONE.
BUT...funny story. With the holiday and having a chest cold, I didn't actually pay attention to the date. I wasn't going to go hiking today (Monday), cause it was raining and cold and I kept hacking up a lung, but I said &^%$ it. I actually thought I had another day to finish it off - as in I thought New Years Eve was on Wednesday.
But, it's done. I did it. Despite quite a few setbacks, even with my back, I did it. Hell yeah.
Hiking has opened up so many new horizons and connected me with so many new folks. I can't wait to see what 2020 brings.
P.S. I don't actually give a *&^% about miles, it was a random goal I set mainly cause I like the song.
Tag #misfithikers to be featured!
📍Sagamore Creek Loop, Bedford Reservation, this land originally held in stewardship by the Wyandotte, Mingo, and possibly others.
As always, please feel free to leave a comment or contact me here.
I need to be kind to my body. I have to remind myself of this more often than I care to admit. I often get frustrated by my limitations when I'm in the outside world. I want to hike further, explore new and more remote areas, and climb technically difficult summits.
And I can't always do that.
It's my back injury. I know that if I push too far, go too far, I'm going to end up in a lot of pain and unable to get back out there for weeks, maybe even months. And that's definitely not worth it.
I have to do things differently. I have to use lighter equipment. I have to make sure my boots have the right support. That my pack doesn't press in to certain areas of my back - 52 packs later and I finally found one!
I have to take breaks and do stretches throughout hikes, even shorter ones. I need to remember that high mileage hikes two days in a row may be a problem. Heck, even hiking two days in a row may cause a problem.
In other words - I need to be kind to my body.
Despite my frustrations, I need to remember to thank my body for what it CAN do. It CAN go on hikes, and take me to places I haven't seen, deep in to forests. And that there are people with able bodies that will never see the hidden, secret places I will.
And while I may have to take it slow and easy, that's just part of what makes it my journey.
So happy birthday to me - and my body.
And remember, be kind to yourself and your body.
Do you ever get frustrated with the limitations of your body? What do you do? Leave a comment below or contact me here!
Always In My Heart - Sagamore Creek
This is my favorite hike at the moment. There are parts where I really feel in the woods, and because of the varied, beautiful scenery I like to pretend I’m like Anne of Green Gables, giving unique, totally overblown names to all the different sections.
When I started hiking again, I was self-conscious and had a lot of anxiety about it. I had to go slowly, take a lot of breaks, and the hiking clothes, while awesome, were still more form fitting than I wore at the time.
Plus, I was a fat girl, all alone, trying to figure out how to be on the trails. I didn’t really want to constantly run in to dudes on the trail that inevitably give me the look. Or would say things in a patronizing manner like, “Only a few more miles to go! Don’t stop, keep working up that sweat!” Uh, thanks random guy.
I wanted to take my dog, enjoy the outside, and figure shit out for myself without worrying about what others were thinking/going to do.
And that’s what Sagamore Creek Loop provided…..
The Sagamore Creek Loop Trail head is located at 7733 Canal Rd, Valley View, OH 44125 (Frazee House Parking Lot) and is part of the Bedford Reservation, near Bedford, OH. The easiest way to access the trail head is behind the outhouse, and take a left when you get to the bottom of the incline.
Note: At the beginning of the hike, you'll pass a place on the right where you can cross the creek. You'll do this at the end of the hike to complete the loop - I mention this because the alternative ending on the other side is NOT crossing the creek, but a muddy bog and ending the hike with a quarter mile walk on a main road.
Accessibility: Not wheelchair accessible.
Sagamore Creek Loop remains, by far, one of my favorite hikes. When I first really managed to get hiking again, Sagamore provided the reclusive atmosphere I yearned for, where I first recognized that I could this outdoor thing, despite the pain/anxiety/etc. It’s the first trail I ever completed a night hike on. It will forever hold a special place in my heart.
Do you have an outdoor space that’s special for you? Leave a comment or drop me line here!
The video at the top of this post is how I envision night hiking - always ready to FLEE. As the days begin to cool and the temperatures drop, the sun dips out of sight faster and faster.
And it's *F83king* scary.
I normally hike alone, which as a misfit hiker, already puts me on high alert thanks to the unique hazards that poses.
This post is specifically about night hiking for beginners......who hit those dark and dusty trails all alllooooonnnne.
If you have an active imagination like I do, you literally think the worst the whole time. Aliens. Monsters. There are two reoccurring images that constantly pop in to my head as I'm hiking in the complete blackness of the forest. First, that I'll turn around and there will be someone just standing on the trail, legs slightly apart and head cocked, and they'll be staring at me. Not moving. Just standing.
The second image is that someone will come running full sprint through the woods at me, like in "Get Out."
The third is it will be like the Blair Witch and I'll stumble upon a cabin in the middle of the woods.
The fourth is I'll be walking, and just keep walking. And walking. And walking. And the trail won't go anywhere. Okay, so maybe more than 2....
The dark has always been an awful and terrifying thing for me, every since my father terrorized my fragile five-year-old mind by stalling the car out on a wood-lined dirt road and yelling about how the Gamork (the monster in the Neverending Story was about to get us. He'd then "manage" to get the car started and would careen down the road to our house. You know, tender moments of parental bonding that last a lifetime.
But as the sun fades quicker, I don't want to find myself limited to hiking on the weekends. I want to still be able to go after work.
So what do I do to prepare myself mentally and so I'm physically safe when I'm out hiking alone?
1. Headlamp: I bring a lightweight headlamp with me, and I make sure I have extra batteries. I use the Black Diamond Spot Lite 160, from REI, which was a cheap $26.00 bucks and has done me well.
2. Know Thy Trail: I wouldn't recommend doing an unfamiliar area in complete darkness. Does it take some of the scary fun out of it? Yes, but losing your footing on some loose shale and snapping your neck falling down a cliff will ALSO put a damper on the fun.
3. Choose Carefully: The trails I head out on at night are ones that are moderately difficult, but not crazily technical. As a night-hiker beginner, I only do trails at night if I've hiked them a number of times in the light, after reading reviews and having an idea of the general safety of the area. I also familiarize myself with the wildlife, so I know what's going to be scuttling around me. Why take chances?
4. Cell Phone: I carry a fully charged cellphone with me so I can call for help if I need to, and it gives me a backup light. If you're going in to really remote areas, get a personal GPS - to figure out the right one for you, check out this article from REI.
5. Implements of Safety: get a small canister of pepper spray. I won't link what I have, because it doesn't have a keychain/way to connect it, and I wish it did. Make sure you can attach it somewhere, because the one instance I really needed it I couldn't get it out of my pocket in time. Pepper spray will help defend against coyotes, dogs, wayward hilljacks, etc. I carry 2 to 4 oz. I also carry a small knife. Though the rule of thumb is if someone/something (i.e. Pennywise) can get that close to you, you're probably &^%$$ anyway.
6. Hike Buddy: Make sure someone knows where you're going, when you start, and when you plan to be done. Every. Single. Time. If nothing else, they talk you down when you see crazy *&^% on the trail at night (see image on right)
7. Hiking Poles: I always use hiking poles, especially in the dark. Helps me keep my footing, and has saved me from tripping and falling a number of times.
*Always take your regular gear, too, like water and a map.
Once I'm on the trail, I check behind me at regular intervals (about every 50 feet). I don't wear ear buds for my book on tape, for two reasons: so night runners, etc. will know there's someone else around and so I can listen more acutely. I also keep an eye out upward for any potential deadfall (branches or trees about to come down on my head).
You want to be extra careful during hunting season, that some yahoo poaching deer doesn't mistake you or your dog for the big kill of the season. Be sure to check local park pages to see what's in season and when. At night, consider reflective gear, too.
Some folks like to turn off their headlamps and hike in complete darkness. That isn't me. Besides my imagination, it's a safety issue for me, as I hike in areas with a lot of rocks and tree roots. And monsters that I want to be able to see coming.
If you're like me, and your imagination can carry you in scary, unhelpful directions, have a phrase you can repeat to redirect your attention. I like a line from Stephen King's "The Stand" - He thrusts his fists against the post and still insist he sees the ghost.
And finally, have fun! Night hiking isn't for everyone, but if you're willing to try it, it is a TOTALLY different experience.
I'll be sure let you know if it gets any less scary!
Do you hike at night? Have a good story of terror in the darkness of the trail? Have any additional tips for hiking at night or have a question? Post away or contact me here!