I got my first Runner’s World Box.

I got my first RW box!!! 

AND IT IS AWESOME.

That is all…


I’ve been wanting a flip belt! And I’d been debating buying a massage ball! But kept thinking I’d just use a tennis ball, except I don’t have one of those either lol!

I purchased a six month supply of boxes at a discount, including a discounted magazine subscription (which unfortunately has yet to arrive). For that cost I think I’m getting my money’s worth!  

My husband thinks the socks are ugly but, hey, it almost seems like a right of passage for runners to wear ugly things. (No offense but before I began running I looked at runners shoes as some sort of exotic wild foray into color combos and fashion risk taking. A big no no for this earth toned backpacker.) And performance socks are expensive. Okay, all running gear is expensive. Im happy to have anything so long as it fits properly and functions well. Which is in my opinion why runners wear crazy things sometimes. We don’t care what we look like so long as the products we wear keep our feet and bodies feeling good while running.  

Anyhoo, I’m super stoked about the first box. Keep it up Runners World! 

#RWbox  

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Parking along Pinhoti Section 12

So between my last Pinhoti post and now there have been several years and not many updates. I thought about going back and writing the posts for section 4 through 12 but I’m not certain that I’ll devote time to that. Just because WOW at the time that would take 😂

But, I recently finished section 12 and my hiking partner had to get off unexpectedly part way through. It was going to be an overnighter with two full days of hiking, and she was picked up early on the second morning. It left me with a dilemma and questions I couldn’t answer. 

Where was parking along the section and where could I have my husband meet me if I didn’t want to hike to the end but did want to hike a little further than where she had gotten off the trail?

So hopefully people in the future who find themselves getting off the trail, not at the trailhead to section 12 but somewhere in between, can use this post to see what parking is like along the route.

And actually, the answer to that question is parking is pretty damn good. 

Both trailheads (FS 500 & Highpoint Trailhead) have ample parking and seemed safe. At both trailheads there were other vehicles, though to be honest many of them seem to be hunters with only a few hikers sprinkled in here there for good measure. I did not feel unsafe and at least in the case of the Forest Service Rd I saw several Forest Service  vehicles go by both times that I was there. 

At Highpoint there were some locals who wandered out of the woods… carrying um, a bizarrely shaped root that was extremely large- like a tree root you’d dig up. They were dressed in anarchy shirts, mostly in black heavy clothes, and not exactly dressed for hiking. Looking a little high… Of course I wouldn’t know…  I do know that they unnerved me a bit but I’m going to assume they are harmless eccentrics… 

anyhoo….

On to parking! Here are pics of a few areas along the route.

Views of parking along Co Rd 70

View of parking along Co Rd 94

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Our Dirty Little Secret

Because I like you, I’m going to let you in on our dirty little family secret. Now I know what you’re thinking. And that’s not it.

What it is- is bugs, ponds, lakes, mountain views, trout fishing, train rides, mountain laurel and bears. AND easy access to some of the best trail systems around. Oh, and hands down one of the most dog friendly cities in the Southeast.

Im talking about Blue Ridge, GA. We found it the better part of a decade ago when looking for better “Gatlinburg” like alternatives.

It’s small town feel with quality. People vacation here, then often, move here. And I can tell you the locals and transplants are the sweetest most talented people. There are artists, chefs, engineers, retirees on sprawling mountain gift courses, and serious trout fishers.

You can find lots of places for guided fishing tours, and if that’s not your cup of tea you can while the hours away shopping quaint shops sporting local wares and eating gourmet nums.

Oh, and best of all? You can take your dog. Early on we  hit walls with our dog breed and size. But at Blue Sky Cabin Rentals you can book a dog friendly cabin stress free. Their pet friendly cabins are size and breed restriction free! AND we recently were able to bring three dogs on a trip (almost impossible).

We highly recommend them.

And as far as my running goes, I found that most places you stay if you search on MapMyRun you can find other people who have run those routes before. They gave me confidence to get out there and run the mountain roads even in the residential cabin areas. Here are a few pics from our Spring trip.

New ride means a new travel set up for Whiskey. He approved. It’s higher and a little harder for his old legs to jump in :/

Woods loved the train.

View from the train of the Toccoa River. Lots of trout fishing here.

💙💙💙 he knows he wasn’t supposed to be on the bed. Just look at that face!

I ran that.

Woods was in awe of the street improvements going on. He could have watched them pour concrete all day.

Sitting on the street watching concrete dry. Literally.

tunnel to no where on my run

Every morning I saw 20+ at least in deer on the road. Crazy.

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A wee addition and a three year hiatus

Hi!

So…. it’s been three years and some change since I’ve posted. My sincerest apologies. We kinda had a hiccup in our family life, in that we welcomed a wee bairn into our lives, and life went crazy like it does for most anyone when they become parents. He was three weeks late (Yes. Three. No. Really. And yes, it was awful.) and I’d like to be honest here. Things didn’t go easily. From the birth, to attempts at breast feeding leading to over a year of Exclusively Pumping, to ppd and anxiety that threatened to ruin our lives. I’d love to paint you a picture of perfectness, with us traipsing through the woods every weekend, dog and toddler in tow, exploring all sorts of wild thing and places and that’s why I haven’t blogged lately.

But, I’d be lying. Terribly dishonest. And while you’re not here to read about difficult times as motherhood changed our lives forever, and would like me to get on to the hiking, biking, and exploring bit- I feel the need to be somewhat transparent. It wasn’t easy or straightforward for me. Life carried on around me, but part of my brain stayed stuck in ppd (postpartum depression) for a long long LONG time.

I’ve been humbled and encouraged by all the comments and messages from friends who stumbled across my blog, years after the fact and from strangers thanking me for detailed reports (I’m a bit anal about those things). All those positive words, no matter how small, were bright spots of encouragement and I sincerely thank each of you who’ve taken time to read my blog, comment, like, or email.

I hope you all will forgive my absence from the blogging world, and will welcome some changes to the blog. Here’s some key points to how different our life is, and how it has resulted in no posts over the last three years and how it will create different looking posts as we go forward.

  1. Whiskey is sadly, getting older. His joints give him trouble. He takes daily medications. He just isn’t going to be out there exploring as much. And I know…sometime in the future he isn’t going to be with us anymore. It makes my time with him now bittersweet. I don’t know how the blog will change or grow or stop if Whiskey left us. When Whiskey leaves us.
    A dog & his cat

    Photographic evidence of Whiskey. He’s alive! Here he’s joined by 12- the newest addition to our family. Whiskey 💙s 12.

  2. We have a toddler now. Life looks….different… than it did before. Our daily routines now involve deep intellectual discussions about poop and if we are royally screwing our kid up somehow by following a peaceful parenting approach (spoiler alert- we’re not. but we’re still occasionally worried about it.) And routines also involve trying to figure out how to get as much sleep as humanly possible which means giving up lots of other things. Like long backpacking trips. Or fishing. Or even day hikes.
    The Wild Wild Woods

    A boy and his nanny (oh, and his mom) at said nanny’s bridal shower. She’s moving away forever 😩 Anyhoo, this is the three year old in question 😉

  3. I have not….in three years…lost one pound of baby weight. This, seriously affects my ability to backpack. I’m afraid of being a slow waddling burden to my fast hiking friends. So I have not gone backpacking once since our son was born.
    Being obese is horrible. Trying to lose weight and failing is horrible. Not feeling confident in your ability to physically do the thing that used to make you you is horrible. It’s all effing horrible. BUT… I haven’t given up. 

    Taking steps to get healthy

  4. I have taken up running to get back in shape. There will be running posts. No, Whiskey isn’t running with me. But you will see some posts where he gets to explore with me. Promise! 

    Me and Woods after completing my first 5k this March. I did okay at 39 minutes. Slow but steady right?

So this means for you dear reader: more kiddo friendly posts, a little less Whiskey, a LOT more running.

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Year of the (3) Horses

My husband pointed out yesterday that he’s not quite sure when he last saw a post from me (busted). I’ve also found myself deleting my blog’s address from the signature line of my emails when I send them.

Ultimately I’m embarrassed I haven’t been updating the blog. But with good reason…

The last backpacking trip I was able to take.

The last backpacking trip I was able to take.

Here I am in May 2013, near the Dugger Wilderness part of the Pinhoti, getting McDowell, my then hiking partner to snap a picture of me trying to cheerfully indicate to the world on top of this mountain that I was five weeks pregnant. I will never make a good mime I’m afraid and this is why I refuse to play charades.

I fully intended to keep hiking/backpacking well into my third trimester. But on the 6th week when I returned to work from this trip I became violently ill and thus began my initiation into the sometimes rough road of pregnancy. I reeled from one oddness to another, clinging to my belief that despite my bodies apparent betrayal of its ability to do, well, anything easily, that this temporary weirdness would pass and I’d be back out there backpacking and hiking with my dog. I did not. I went from morning sickness to food aversion where the only foods I seemed to be able to tolerate were donuts and garlic bread. I went from not gaining any weight (food aversion style!) to sudden and crazy weight gain despite not changing much of my eating habits once the food aversion had passed. Then on to horrible scoliosis pain and then I lost the feeling in my knees as they were first bruised from various activities at work and also at home with physical therapy in attempts to help my scoliosis improve. My body, unused to the extra weight my knees then bared resulted in bruised, & eventually nerve damaged knees that went numb and tingly whenever I bent them with pain radiating out from where the nerves still worked fine (I gave up on actually using them, even crawling into the bed became nearly impossible without creating excruciating pain in my knees/legs).

The health issues sort of snowballed into colds that wouldn’t go away (“Oh, you’re pregnant, you’ll just have to tough it out…” they said) that eventually ended not long ago with a frightening trip to the labor and delivery room where they gave me the medicines you’re not supposed to have when your pregnant because there was no alternative. I had bruised (or cracked, who knows) ribs, pleurisy, and was unable to breath. Not to mention a two month old cold that was keeping me from sleeping, talking, breathing. The pain that wracked my midsection kept me unable to talk or move without assistance as we shambled in, and later, a very drugged, very largely pregnant woman, shambled out, wondering how in the world her dog would ever get walked again. But even then, well after I’d given up my dreams of backpacking into my 8th month, I still had new health issues arise as my feet and legs and hands began swelling suddenly to 3 times their size and my blood pressure soared. Truly sealing the deal that not only would I not backpack, was the fact that I also would not be able to drive myself, be able to touch my feet, get in and out of bed without assistance, and definitely, definitely not walk the dog.

So yeah. That’s why it’s been quiet around here. If 2013 had been kinder to me health wise I would have kept plowing on through the Pinhoti (I only had about 20-30 miles to get to the GA line I think), exploring local trails, etc.

I do intend to come back, but for now I felt that on this first day of the year I needed to put a big placeholder here on the blog to explain why I’ve been so quiet and explain potential future quietness.

I do regret not using the down sick time to get caught up on all the back posts I needed to post from previous hikes, but just the idea of how to make time to write seemed impossible. I’m not sure what our new normal will look like, or how I’ll incorporate writing into our new schedule, but I believe I will. I believe I’ll be back writing on here sooner rather than later.

As for Whiskey- he’s been doing pretty good with his new routine. He spends a good portion of the day “surveying his kingdom” as well call it, from a slight, barely noticeable rise in the backyard where he can watch the chickens and see most of the yard on both sides and into the back woods. Brandon’s been trying to teach him to turn off light switches, though I’d prefer he teach W how to pick up things off the floor for me! And he has a variety of visitors to dote on him recently.

I’m afraid our walks went from daily, to every other day, to every three, to once a week, to….the last time I took him walking was Thanksgiving, when we visited one of our very favorite places Blue Ridge, Georgia, which was the last time for several weeks that I was able to sleep laying down.

Dogs are truly amazing. He’s adapted. I’ve promised him life will slowly work back into routines of walking weekly, that he’ll get more attention in the arena of physical activity (He gets a LOT of attention, just not the physical exercise outside of the house kind).

People ask us all the time if he has acted any different since I became pregnant. I really don’t think so. From day one he’s pretty much been the same. He’s even laid his head on my belly while Baby R moved around and I know he could feel it, heck, he could probably hear it! But he didn’t move at all. Even when I was intense pain and crying and totally freaking out before we went to Labor and Delivery in the middle of the night he seemed mildly curious, but it didn’t seem to ruffle any feathers, er fur. He barely noticed us at all. Well, that’s standard Whiskey I guess.

But I don’t want you to think our lack of blogging or confession of not walking in the last month means a neglected dog. He’s had a full social schedule. He’s done a number of traveling bloggy type things….

He got to do a lot of walking on the local Rails to Trails.

He got to do a lot of walking on the local Rails to Trails up until November.

He got to see some snow in 2013.

He got to see some snow in 2013.

Whiskey spent most of the year convincing our feral cat that they were friends. After 3 years- it finally worked.

Whiskey spent most of the year convincing our feral cat that they were friends. After nearly 3 years- it finally worked.

We spent a lot of time teaching Whiskey not to chase or eat the chickens. It worked. He is now allowed unlimited unsupervised time in their presence and does great with them.

We spent a lot of time teaching Whiskey not to chase or eat the chickens. It worked. He is now allowed unlimited unsupervised time in their presence and does great with them.

He got to go to the River a few times and spent time adding to his "what can I collect in my fur" collection.

He got to go to the River a few times and spent time adding to his “what can I collect in my fur” collection.

He went into some buildings he probably wasn't allowed to go in on our trip to Cheaha ;)

He went into some buildings he probably wasn’t allowed to go in on our trip to Cheaha 😉

He went to Blue Ridge GA where his tail learned to match the clouds...

He went to Blue Ridge GA where his tail learned to match the clouds…

In Blue Ridge we also found this awesome sign.

In Blue Ridge we also found this awesome sign.

He featured prominently in the displays at our baby shower. Because if you know us, really know us, you know we would have *Had* him there if we could.

He featured prominently in the displays at our baby shower. Because if you know us, really know us, you know we would have *Had* him there if we could.

The banner of ribbons at our baby shower had pictures of our lives in the last 7+ years. Several of them, which you can't quite make out from here, were of us with Whiskey. We incorporate him into as much of our life as we can. We couldn't have had pictures of our shower without our first "child"!!

The banner of ribbons at our baby shower had pictures of our lives in the last 7+ years pinned throughout the ribbons. Several of them are from our outdoor travels and of Whiskey. We incorporate him into as much of our life as we can. We couldn’t have had pictures at shower without our first “child” or without showing our love of the outdoors.

Then because we love it, we took him back to Blue Ridge at Thanksgiving. Lucky dog!!

Then because we love it, we took him back to Blue Ridge at Thanksgiving. Lucky dog!!

He went to Fort Morgan where it was very wet, but he loved it.

He went to Fort Morgan where it was very wet, but he loved it.

He loved it so much this was how he was every time we loaded him up at the beach!

He loved it so much this was how he was every time we loaded him up at the beach!

He had the privilege of being the one who got to introduce the FB world of friends and family that we were expecting- that he would be a big brother come January.

He had the privilege of being the one who got to introduce the FB world of friends and family that we were expecting- that he would be a big brother come January.

Any day now, quite literally, a new little man will be entering the Robertson household. Since he managed to stay inside through 2013, this means we’ll be a household of 3 Horses if you follow the Chinese Calendar. Should be fun! I don’t know what the shape of our lives will be in 2014. But as for 2013 I can say that we are thankful beyond measure- for each other, for time with family, for friends who take care of one another, for dogs who forgive you for not walking them for a month, for all of it. I promise an obligatory “Baby R Arrives!” post once he does. From our growing household to yours, we wish you the best trails, the most trail magic, and lots of dog fun in 2014.

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Darling Companion

Darling Companion

A dog lover’s movie review.

darling companion

Not a movie for everyone, but a lovely easy going flick that flows like a short story, that definitely is for anyone who has ever rescued a dog. Also for anyone whoever arrived home with an animal and was met with “You’re not going to keep “that!” are you?” at the door from someone they loved. Also for anyone who has found themselves realizing they love their pet more than they love the imperfect humans around them. This movie reminds us that “love is love” regardless of whether you give it to your dog, your cat, or a human being. Love is a powerful force and is not any less powerful based on the size of the recipient.

I am certain there is more than one family where one spouse has said to the other one “You love that dog more than me!” and could not fathom the other person’s reasons or emotions. This movie will, if not help the confused spouse understand the other, will help the accused feel better about their unwavering commitment and attachment to their pet. If only we all loved our dogs as much the main character Beth, does. If we all had that much love and devotion for all living things, the world would be a better place indeed.

2012- pg 13 rating. Stars: Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, and Kasey (the Dog- a real rescue!)
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A (somewhat) wordless Wednesday- Pictures of Section 3 Pinhoti

I can’t go wordless. If you know me, you know this to be as true as the sun…

But I’ll try to go mostly or somewhat wordless.  All pictures are from day 1 of woods hike of Pinhoti. Roughly section 3, specifically from FS 603A to White Gap (? maybe….).

Here goes…. ::holds breath…jumps into the unknown::

I took tons of pictures of this tree… I didn’t know if it needed a pair of glasses, or a bra! Either way, unusual humanoid features in nature amuse me to no end…

I loved all the gentle slopes and clear woods we saw... it encourages you to just throw down your pack and wander.

I loved all the gentle slopes and clear woods we saw… it encourages you to just throw down your pack and wander.

This copse is very strange… it doesn’t show in the picture well but they all seemed to grow along the ground several feet before shooting up left or right. There were several groups like this on top of the mountain (off trail) where we camped. It felt very magical… like if you walked through the middle it might take you somewhere else…

I liked to call these L trees… but it would be better named a U tree I suppose… I saw several of these too. Pic taken from our campsite off trail.

The size of the mushrooms never failed to amaze me. I wish I could identify edible ones!

Despite how far away geographically we are from Cheaha, there are rock formations all along this beginning part of the Pinhoti that liken back to Cheaha’s rock thick woods… ❤ it.

These flowers were huge!! No idea what they are… Suggestions?

The Pinhoti makes use sometimes of existing roads, or at least crosses them (a lot) throughout Alabama. Here we passed by a tower and travel along the road for a ways. At the time we hiked Pinhoti Section 3 there was nothing available on the internet to tell us what we were passing where. The only directions were the old “road walk” directions. So I have no idea where we were or what this was. Still… interesting. Apparently I may have to do this same sort of “blind faith- trust the blazes” hiking up in GA as I hear they’ve recently completed “some” more woods trails but there is nothing online about its path. I say “some” because even the article I read didn’t say how long the new section was… Could be a mile, could be several… who knows!

It was so hot and muggy my camera kept fogging on the lens... I like the result though... even though it's a "woods walk" you do cross over several roads. I think this was a power line maintenance road.. But honestly I don't know...

It was so hot and muggy my camera kept fogging on the lens… I like the result though… even though it’s a “woods walk” you do cross over several roads. I think this was a power line maintenance road.. But honestly I don’t know…

If you want to see more but don’t mind wading through an onslaught of words you can visit these other posts on my Pinhoti trips…
Pinhoti Section 1
Pinhoti Section 2
Pinhoti Reflections
Also, the Skyway Motorway runs very close, over, and by the Pinhoti for much of its way. Several places you can leave water drops, help thirsty hikers (as we did) or just get out and enjoy the Pinhoti from various spots.

Happy Hiking!
g&w

PS. This would be a good section to take your dog on. I didn’t take mine because I was on for over a week and was unsure of the terrain, as well as Whiskey not being able to handle long week long hikes like this. But if I go back for a quick section hike I’d say- bring the dog, pack lots of water, camp on Rebecca Mountain and do it as an overnighter 🙂

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