This past Saturday was, yet again, another perfect day for hiking so Brady and I went down to Shenandoah National Park with my dad, brother, step-mom, and step-sister. It was a day full of crisp autumn air, colorful trees, and mountain views. I think the last time I was in Shenandoah was back when I was in middle school when I didn’t appreciate long drives so I can easily say that I appreciated this trip way more than I did back then. Adventuring with my husband is probably the biggest upgrade. 😉
We started our first hike just before 11 am with a .7 mile hike from the Lower Hawksbill Trailhead to Hawksbill Summit – which is the highest peak in the park. The hike was pretty much straight up hill from where we started but the views were worth the effort.
I tend to enjoy reading “What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW)” posts or watching WIAW vlogs and I decided I’d like to start sharing posts of my own! One of the things I’m working on currently is more consistent meal planning to cut down on food waste as well as to save money from eating out. I’ve done meal planning in the past but I’m trying to be more dedicated with it now. Not only is this helping to save money, it’s more nutritious eating and healthier all around. Overall it’s just a big fat win. I’ve been using the Knock Knock What to Eat pad to plan our meals which has been working well. It’s $15 on Amazon right now but I found it at my Books-a-Million store for $6.50.
I’ve been staying on top of planning lately and I’ve tried out quite a few new recipes in the process like this vegan Chai Butternut Squash Soup last week that was absolutely fantastic. I had my doubts but I was truly blown away by how amazing this was.
I’m trying to incorporate better snacking food into my diet. I’ve been avoiding bringing home snacks like chips, crackers, and in my husband’s case, peanut butter. This leaves a hole in our pantry because snacking food or “lunch accessories” are pretty important. Some ideas I’ve had are: homemade scotch oat cakes, fresh veggies and vegan ranch dressing, frozen yogurt – I really like the So Delicious Coconut Yogurt – berry bites, roasted chickpeas, homemade pita chips and hummus. Brady and I would also like to shift towards eating more vegan food and less dairy but that’s going to be implemented at a fairly slow pace.
This year has been flying by and it’s hard to believe we’re sitting just about 2 months away from Christmas and the beginning of a new year! Brady and I have been trying to soak in all the great weather and fall colors while it lasts. A month ago we hiked the Billy Goat Trail, we were at the beach in Delaware a few weekends ago, then we went backpacking, then hiking with my family, and this past weekend we went out to Western Maryland to ride the rail trail and enjoy some fall colors!
The specific trail we rode on has 2 parts: the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) that runs from Pittsburgh, PA to Cumberland, MD and then it continues on to Washington D.C. via the C&O Towpath for a total of 335 miles. We started at the Eastern Continental Divide and rode the last 25 miles of the GAP trail down into Cumberland on Saturday afternoon. The best thing about this section of the trail is that it’s all downhill (1800 ft elevation drop <- I wouldn’t want to be going the other way!) So it’s not like you can just sit there and coast but even with breaks and minimal effort, you can make the trip in 3-4 hours. The only thing that’ll be sore after this trip is your tailbone if you don’t ride often.
It was a 2 hour drive to get out to Western Maryland and the weather Saturday morning was abysmal. Dreary, misty, foggy, damp and overcast yucky weather. As soon as we started driving up the mountain to our start point, we left the clouds hanging on the mountains behind us and we were in instant sunshine! By the time we rode our bikes into Cumberland a few hours later, it was if it had never been overcast at all. The weather for our ride couldn’t have been more perfect. It was 70 degrees with just enough cool in the breeze to keep you from overheating while riding in the sun.
Hello there and happy Thursday to all you lovelies! I’ve had a bunch of random thoughts lately that aren’t worth turning into a blog post each so here are some of my Thursday Thoughts <– linking up with Running with Spoons.
- In my quest to be an overall healthier individual, I’ve been getting quite a few groceries from Whole Foods recently. The last few times I’ve been, they’ve had an enormous jackfruit for sale at $1.99/lb which means those things cost at least $20-30. I know that jackfruit turned into fake meat is a big trend in the plant based world at the moment but it doesn’t look that appealing to me. I haven’t tried it yet and I don’t think I have the desire to either. Maybe it’s because I’ve never had pork (or any meat) so I don’t feel the need to replace it with anything.
- Where are you, autumn? This weather is crazy. I live in Maryland and it’s been too hot to even consider running outside this week. 85 degrees outside and 92-100% humidity. Not cool Maryland, not cool. I may be writing this while sipping on a cup of hot cinnamon apple tea but that’s just because it’s supposed to be fall and I’m ready for it. This was fall a year ago…
Last weekend Brady and I did our 4th and probably final backpacking trip of the year. We hadn’t gone backpacking since July so it was about time to plan another trip. The weather was looking like it was going to be the perfect hiking weather – topping out at 69 degrees both days – so we decided to section hike another portion of the Appalachian Trail in Maryland. We’ve previously done a couple overnight hikes going north of AT-40 parking lot which goes by Annapolis Rock and Black Rock as well as the southern 17.5 miles of Maryland to Harpers Ferry.
For this trip, we did an out-and-back from the AT-40 parking lot down to the Rocky Run shelter – overlapping a previous backpacking trip by about 1 mile.
Our hike started by crossing over I-70 and passing between a couple of private properties before heading into the woods. About 3 miles in, there’s a short spur trail to the Washington Monument which is the only real vista view for this section of the trail. The monument is a small stone structure built in 1827 by the people in Boonsboro, MD and it’s the first dedicated monument to George Washington.
About a month ago, I had my first surgical procedure and while there’s nothing I could have done to avoid that outcome, it’s still made me seriously consider how I need to improve my health. Improving my overall health has been a goal for a long time, but the last three months have given me extra motivation. This summer took a huge toll on my emotional and physical health so I’ve been brainstorming ideas to rebuild my overall health and I’ve created my own 4 steps to a healthier life.
When you’re trying to overhaul how you live your life, everything can feel overwhelming. To make everything more manageable without losing motivation, I’ve condensed my goals into 4 areas I would like to improve on for overall health.
My 4 Steps to a Healthier Life
- Minimize harmful chemicals in personal care and home cleaning.
- Eat Healthy Portions of Wholesome Home Cooked Food.
- Improve Physical Fitness.
- Declutter and Organize.
Minimize harmful chemicals in personal care and home cleaning.
Reducing harmful chemicals in my home has been on my mind for a long time and I have already begun making adjustments. I’m very concerned with the amount of chemicals I’m putting on my body and using to clean my home with on a daily basis. The problem is that even “natural products” are full of unhealthy chemicals so it won’t be a quick transition and I know that it will probably take more time to accomplish than anything else on this list.