for Ryan to see the joy that is the event we call backpacking.

Apparently when most of your hiking is with a 70lb-er pack on your back full of climbing gear, cams, ropes, water, etc.  And most of your hiking is already in beautiful places one begins to think, “Why bother hiking around to just hike and sleep some place else?” AND then have to do all the pppllllaaaannnnniiiinnnngggg about what you are going to eat and cook and how you are going to keep yourself hydrated?

The mystery though for Ryan was unveiled after he lead a bunch of EKU kiddos on a hike of the AT this Fall and I received a call that started out with, “We are moving to Damascus.”  (Something that happens quite frequently when ever Ryan visits someplace new and exciting like his conference in Boulder, CO, last week so don’t change your address books yet.)

We were only able to factor in a short hike that looped starting in the Grayson State Park outside of Damascus, VA.  It also afforded us to hike northbound and southbound on the AT connecting the two directions by an old AT trail.  The AT is an evolving trail, something that I was aware of, and at some point the evolvers added on 8 more miles to the trip.  Which was good for us.  The views are breathtaking.  We saw wild ponies.  Were awoken by a crowd of cackling coyotes at 0130. We felt as though we were going to blow away in our tent. So, heck YEAH, an all in all grand time.

I  hear there are some really great places even here in WI for backpacking.  ‘Course, we’d have to worry about bears then too.  GAR!  Time to bring out my mean face.

As a side bar, can anyone explain to me why my husband lets the short armed one of our duo do the “group” photo shots?  I think he often questions whether or not I’m actually getting us into the frame, as evidenced by the expression on his face in the above photo.  BUT if I left it up to him we’d probably see *just* a few more photos than you’d see of posts written by him…he’s just not that big on taking pictures.