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From Inspiration to Action

May 12, 2012
The View from Arthur's Seat

The View from Arthur’s Seat

In October 2011, I had the amazing opportunity to visit Edinburgh, Scotland and the Scottish Highlands for a short weekend before a business trip. The most memorable part of the trip was all the lush, green hills, in particular Arthur’s Seat in Edinburgh. Following a short hike to the top, I was able to see all of Edinburgh, including two castles, the ocean, and gardens. The views were breathtaking. Although, it could have just been that I was out of breath from the steep hike.

While I was atop this high hill, I remember wishing that there were more beautiful sites where I lived. I wanted to be outdoors more and see what nature had to offer. I was inspired to do more.

But we all know it is easy to become inspired in a short moment and let that motivation fade without action. After I returned from my trip, the holidays came and went. Then work has seemed incredibly busy since January, which is normally the slow time of year for me.

Fortunately, throughout this time, my husband was inspired as well. His interests in backpacking, survival skills, and hiking had slowly been growing. And he arranged for a backpacking trip with a group of friends.

As a result, in mid-April, four couples of varying fitness and interest levels filled their backpacks with the essentials: food, water, shelter. At noon, we began our hike into the Linville Gorge.

The weather was beautiful. The temperature was comfortable. The trails were challenging.

This is what I had been looking for.

I immediately fell in love. What wasn’t there to love? The unique trees and shrubs, a rushing river, and good friends.

But then we learned that none of us were that great at reading a trail map. So we each took turns leading the group in what one of us would believe to be the right direction. First, we followed the edge of the river, which is logical and very ideal in a survival situation. It wasn’t ideal in our backpacking situation. With eight people climbing rocks to follow the “trail” or lack thereof, our group quickly became frustrated.

After hiking in the wrong direction, we took a short hike in the opposite direction before deciding to follow a trail that took us up the mountains, but further along our original path. At this point, each and every one of us was frustrated. Some of complained. Some of us bickered. Some of us sulked. A couple of us were physically hurting.

Our Camp Site

Our Camp Site

So we stopped for a break on the trail. It seemed we couldn’t go on any longer. And that’s when we found our campsite. It was flat for those of us using tents. It had trees close together for those who would be using a hammock or lean-t0. It was clear enough to accommodate our large group and a warm fire. And it was at the meeting of three trails, which gave us options for the hike back to the car in the morning.

Three scouts went down one of the trails to collect water for the group and to ensure there were no better campsites closer to the river. I was happy to be one of the three. We ran down half of the steep trail, then jumped across the large rocks along the river. I was in heaven.

No other available campsites were found, but we returned with enough fresh, filtered water for cooking and the next morning’s hike. After dinner, we chatted until each couple called it a night.

The night was long and cold. I got the most sleep out of the group. Once I get somewhere, lay still long enough, and close my eyes, I can sleep almost anywhere.

The next morning, we cooked our breakfasts, packed up our shelters, and hit the trail again. We took a hike down to the river and relaxed for a couple of hours.

Along the River

Along the River

There is nothing better than a sunny day, some large rocks along the river, and a good book. Unfortunately, I hadn’t packed a book because I didn’t expect any long breaks, but I believe it will be a necessity for our next trip.

After we each took turns cooking our lunches and then we began the long, steep hike back towards our car. It took teamwork to make it back up the mountain safely. Our group split into two smaller groups to allow some to move forward more quickly and others to take their time as necessary.

Overall, it was a very successful trip. We each hold a lot of great memories from it. And it reignited my inspiration. Since our overnight trip, we have spent time in Sumter National Forest, where I had the opportunity to do some trail running. We also have plans for our next day hike in Jones Gap, near Travelers Rest, SC. And we would like to plan an overnight trip within the next few months.

It is also a wonderful to have a hobby that my husband and I can share. While we are both supportive of one another’s interests, we rarely find something we both really enjoy.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. Gaby permalink
    May 12, 2012 9:33 am

    And it’s great exercise! Glad you all had fun. I don’t camp. Too much of a city girl 🙂

    • May 13, 2012 6:33 pm

      This was the first time I went camping as an adult, but we had a great time. I am up for almost any adventure, whether it is in the city, mountains, beach, or country!

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