Although I wrote my Year in Review, I wanted a separate post to highlight the most amazing hikes from this year.
I have been so focused on running, for such a long time (since 2010, with my only breaks due to pregnancy or injury), I didn’t actively seek out any special hikes until this year. What started as a fun winter hiking trip with my brother to Mount Mitchell, the highest point in NC and the highest point east of the Mississippi, turned into a new goal–bordering on obsession–to hike the highest point in each of the 50 states. Though the jury is still out on Denali, Alaska 😉
Also a quick note–big thanks to Liz over at The Restless Wild for inspiring me to get back to working on art! Her bullet journal blog linked to some calligraphy pens, and was just the motivation I needed to go dig up my art supplies in the attic. I am out of practice for sure, but excited to get back to drawing and painting this year!
Without further ado, and in descending order to build suspense 🙂 My top 5 favorite hikes of this year:
5. Clingmans Dome–the highest point on the Appalachian Trail, this tough, snowy hike rewarded us with views for miles–and once again, we had the mountain to ourselves.
4. White Butte, ND. While I’m much more of a woodsy/forest type, and this hike was basically desert, I appreciated the beautiful views of a “foreign” (to me) landscape, complete with a rattlesnake sighting! This was a hike with my parents, and Asher came along too!
3. Mount Mitchell, NC. Where it all began for Joel and me, with our highpointing journey. This hike proved challenging–uphill in snow is never an easy task–but so rewarding, with gorgeous views of ice, snow, and the mountains nearby. Plus, we had the place to ourselves!
2. Mount Marcy, NY. Hands down, the hardest hike I’ve done so far–lots of elevation gain, and a VERY rocky trail that requires concentration, strength, and agility to properly place each footstep. We arrived at dusk, and the clouds parted (or split, since Mt. Marcy is called “cloud-splitter” by the Indians) seemingly just for us. Climbing this massive mountain provided a massive boost of confidence and accomplishment.
1. Black Elk Peak, SD. I loved this hike for so many reasons: my parents joined us, the weather was darn near perfect, it had just enough challenge, and it felt other-worldly. Highly recommend this if you’re ever in South Dakota. Go early morning so you can see the sun rise, and have the place to yourself!
My attempt at capturing these with colored pencils (Luna and Baby Kitty were here for moral support):
- Hanging Rock, NC–This is my favorite mountainous place close to home. I love Moore’s Knob, the Hanging Rock trail, and would like to return to Cooke’s Wall soon!
- Table Rock, SC–Even though we hiked through a downpour, the views at the top were definitely worth it! I would love to go back and bring my whole family.
- Mount Mansfield, VT–my legs were dead, I slept terribly due to the “bear” outside our tent, and the clouds obscured most of the views, but I loved Vermont and all its lush greenery.
- High Shoals Falls, GA–gorgeous waterfalls, and some excellent camp sites if I ever return. Not far from the lovely German village of Helen, GA!
What are some of your favorite hikes? Comment below!