A Hike in the Whites.

Thank you all so very much for the Happy Birthday wishes!! ¬†You guys are the absolute greatest. ūüėÄ

Yesterday’s hike turned out more than fabulous.

It was one of those perfect New England fall days.

The morning air was crisp and cool, softened lightly with summer’s lingering warm breeze and sun. ¬†There were leaves zig-zagging across the air with a comical sort of ease. ¬†There were silent morning bikers, fellow hikers with their big goofy dogs, and the smells of pine and dirt and leaves.

Instantly, I felt peace.  Instantly, I felt home.

One of my life goals is to achieve and conquer each of the forty eight 4,000ft. mountains of NH. ¬†It feels a little overwhelming, a little out of reach, but both my Dad and my brother have accomplished it, so I’m determined that I can to.

(My brother also completed the Appalachian Trail, which I’ll forever be in awe of!)

Climbing Mt. Cannon has made this the 11th. ¬†A long ways to go, but I’m enjoying each step of progression. ¬†The views at the top were absolutely breathtaking, and I’m so glad that I could enjoy such a fabulous birthday experience with the family. ūüėÄ

The hike was a toughy (i.e., very steep!) but the views completely made it worthwhile. ūüėÄ

When we made it down to the base of the mountain, we were all starving for food, and so we hit the local pizza shop. ¬†Nothing beats a salty slice of pizza and an all-you-can-eat fresh salad buffet after a long day of hiking. ūüėČ

My 24th birthday was unbelievably delicious and fun.

Yes.  The absolute, most very best.

QUESTION: Favorite autumn activity?

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I can feel it coming.

Confession: Aside from Saturday night’s pizza, I haven’t whisked or sauteed or baked a thing in the past week or so.

Nada.  Zilch.  Zip.

I haven’t served much time in the kitchen. ¬†My cutting boards have been washed maybe once. ¬†In other words. Who am I?

But don’t you worry, not one bit!¬† That¬†irresistible¬†craving for whisking and kneading is coming right back at me, in one full sweep. ¬†Yep. ¬†It won’t be long now. ¬†And with a fridge full of produce and a $50 gift card to Whole Foods (which my friend gave me for taking pictures of her bridal shower & bachelorette,) I’m more than ready.

Because if that’s not inspiration, what is?

I have however, been all into my newest September goal of getting myself physically active in new and interesting ways.  Today was all about hiking, one of my favorite outdoor activities.

It was so humid today, Dad and I felt as if we had gone swimming after just 10 minutes into the hike.

Totally worth it though. ¬†I seriously need to hit the trails more often. ¬†It gets the heart rate up—just like running—and the scenery was a beautiful change of pace from my typical running route.

But anyways.  I guess, really, I simply wanted to forewarn you of all the (many) recipes to come in the very near future.

Because you can only carry on for so long without a whisk in hand, before it just doesn’t make much sense any more.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring?

QUESTION: Do you ever take a hiatus from cooking/baking?  Or are you constantly cooking something up in the kitchen?

hiking in the whites.

Hello, Hello from New Hampshire!

With Hurricane Irene heading in our general direction, our plans were to fit in our hike this morning and stay cooped up with a good book (and possibly a game of air hockey too!) tomorrow.

Sounds pretty perfect to me. ūüėÄ

Mt. Hale was chosen by Dad (who knows the White Mountains like the back of his hand, so we tend to always trust his judgement!)

Mom and I went along for the ride. ūüėÄ

Sometimes I wonder what it is that I love most about hiking.  And since hiking certainly offers a lot of time to think and ponder, this is what I came up with.

Well.

Besides the peanut butter, bagels, gorp, granola bars and those other bits of tasty hiking food (because I’ve learned that everything…and I do mean everything…tastes good when I’m hiking and hungry!)

I love the simplicity and how slow paced life suddenly becomes, the moment I slip my hiking boots on. ¬†It’s just about taking one step in front of the other. ¬†Slow and steady. ¬†It’s about focusing on your breathing.

(Much like yoga, really!)

It’s about talking about whatever crosses your mind at any given moment and not feeling like it’s a waste of time to discuss such a topic.

It’s about spending as much time eating snacks and lunch as you want.

It’s about breathing in the freshest air that you have ever tasted.

It’s about not wearing makeup.

Throwing your hair up in a ponytail.

And just not caring.

Yep.

That’s what I love about hiking. ¬†Besides the food and the exercise and being far, far away from technology and everything fast paced.

After our 4-hr hike up and down Mt. Hale, we went off to ice our legs in the nearby river.

Delicious.

Vacation has been lovely so far.

Off to dinner now…

…I’m starving and it’s time to refuel. ūüėČ

QUESTION: What is your favorite outdoor activity?

facing the thunder.

My sister was always the brave one.  The one who stood next to the door with my dad during a frightening thunderstorm.  Taking in the majestic power, the unbridled ferocity, and the flashing lights all around.  A look of awe and wonder spread across her face.

Me?  I was either downstairs reading or upstairs in my room with a blanket over my head.  I hated thunder.  I hated rain.  Hated.

And then, I went on a 12 day hike in the Adirondacks in New York as a freshman in college.  The possibility of rain and thunder storms was inevitable.

One of the “requirements” for the trip was that we spend some time in solitude and quiet. ¬†Two nights to be exact. ¬†And if you’ve ever been to the Adirondacks, you know it’s not at all hard to find a quiet spot. ¬†Seclusion is part of the experience.

The first day that I spent in “quiet time”, I actually kind of enjoyed myself. ¬†We’d been hiking for 7 full days and I was tired. ¬†Completely wiped out. ¬†It felt absolutely indulgent to be able to finally rest and think. ¬†And breathe.

And then the second night came. ¬†It began to rain. ¬†Hard. ¬†Which was all fine and dandy, except for the fact that my shelter that I had made wasn’t as sturdy as it looked and it began to sink with the weight of the water. ¬†But then, really, even¬†that¬†was okay. ¬†It was the rolling sounds coming quickly over the hills that brought my hands together into a tight clasp, my eyes squeezing firmly shut. ¬†My heart was pumping so loud, so fast, that I feared it might pop out of my chest. ¬†I once again resorted to pulling my sleeping bag over my head, but unfortunately, ¬†it didn’t seem to have the same effect as when I was small.

I was alone.  I was outdoors.  It was raining and thundering.

This was quite possibly my worst nightmare. 

And then this Bible verse popped in my head:

“Be still and know that I am God.”

I don’t know where it came from, as I’ve never been good at remembering verses or quotes or anything of the sort. ¬†But regardless, I suddenly felt my breathing return to normal. ¬†My hands turned from a fisted clasp to a relaxed grip. ¬†I opened my eyes and I saw the flashes. ¬†Bright, crisp flashes. ¬†Flooding the sky with light.

I didn’t sleep that night. ¬†Instead, I had the most deep, heart to heart talk with God that I have ever had. ¬†I did consider begging Him for my life, but then I thought that this was probably an entirely useless component of time.

So I just talked.  Then I stopped talking.  And then I was completely still and came to the conclusion that I would always have fear in life.  Nobody is fearless; there is always something.  Thunder.  Interviews.  Heights.  Promotions.  New school.

What matters is that we delve into these fears. ¬†That we come to grips with what we want the outcome to be and that we stop worrying over every inch and detail. ¬†I was out in the middle of the Adirondacks. ¬†Incredibly alone (but not really.) ¬†And whether or not I felt fear didn’t change a single thing.

And so, I faced the thunder.  I just let it be.  I let myself be.  And then I witnessed the most beautiful calm the next morning: a sunrise that would blow anyones socks off.  I experienced the most delicious feeling of satisfaction and contentment.

Never facing our fears means never seeing what is possible if we get through them. 

QUESTION: Have you ever faced your fears in a really big way?  What happened?  What fear would you like to conquer?  

I’m still attempting to conquer my fears of public speaking!!