• Adventures,  U.S.A.,  Virginia

    The Camp, the Creek & the Devil’s Marble Yard

    I had no choice but to move my windshield wiper selector switch to rampage level. The rain was coming down in king-sized sheets and as much as I hate the crazed swish of wiper blades moving at top speed, I was driving on unfamiliar back roads and needed all the help I could get. I was going camping and as my phone pinged with increasingly dramatic weather alerts, I cursed, felt the whisper of anxiety catch in my chest and started laughing. It was going to rain for as long as it was going to rain and no amount of angsty nail-biting was going to change that. Maybe it’ll stop,…

  • Adventures,  National Parks,  U.S.A.,  Virginia

    Self-Doubt & Caution at Old Rag in Shenandoah National Park

    “It’s worth it,” I said when I voluntarily heaved myself out of bed at 4:45 a.m. on a Saturday. I’d spent a week deliberating, talking myself in and out of hiking Old Rag and then, finally, in a fit of decisiveness, I stopped making excuses and decided to just fucking do it. Old Rag is one of the most popular hikes in Virginia. It’s 9ish miles, depending on how you hike it, there’s a 1.5 mile rock scramble I’d been repeatedly warned about and it’s listed as hard or very strenuous, depending on your reference. I was, to be completely honest, a little afraid of Old Rag. The National Park…

  • Life,  Running,  Virginia

    That time I ran the Shamrock Half Marathon, Cried & Set a PR

    I spent the last four minutes of the Shamrock Half Marathon telling myself not to cry. I’d done the math. I knew I’d made it, knew I was about to set a new personal record and so, when we turned right at the Atlantic Ocean, hit the boardwalk and pushed toward the finish line, my chest tightened, my eyes watered and I felt a lot of things. “Not yet,” I said to my tears. “Breathe first, run fast, cry later.”

  • Adventures,  National Parks,  U.S.A.,  Virginia

    Repeated Scampers on the South River Falls Trail at Shenandoah National Park

    The last trail I hiked in 2018 was also the first trail I hiked in 2019, the South River Falls Trail at Shenandoah National Park. I went the first time with this bitch a day before the government shutdown. It was her very first visit to the park, despite being born and raised in the Commonwealth of Virginia. It wasn’t the trail I planned to take her on, but a winter storm closed the southern part of the park and I couldn’t get her out to this waterfall-filled trail, so I improvised, opting for the southern-most trail with a waterfall that I could still get us to.