What to Expect

a view from Floyd, VA
a view from Floyd, VA

At this current moment in time, I feel there is a dearth of subjects to write about.  I don’t know why, but maybe I’m just not thinking hard enough.  So for now, I’ll just write about what you can expect from my blog in the upcoming months.

As I never found a ‘outdoor recreation’ job for the winter , I am currently substitute teaching in my home school system.  At first I was pretty bummed to not be working outdoors, but I soon realized some benefits to substitute teaching for the time being.  First, I can set my own schedule.  I can take any day off I want.  I do not have to accept a sub job if I don’t want to.  This is not me saying I never work, I have to work to get paid, and I work more often than not.  However, being a hiker, it’s nice to know I have this option in my back pocket, when the intense desire for a day on the trail sneaks up on me.  Second, as a sub, my schedule is subjected to all school breaks.  I have my weekends to myself, as well as any additional vacation time.  Quite frankly, for a 23 year old who has very few expenses (due to the fact that I live at home – no rent, food cost, etc), the pay isn’t bad at all, and will definitely be enough to fund some excursions.

So what does this mean for hiking and this blog?  Well, I’ve taken the time to plan out some trips for the upcoming months.

February

In February, our school system has a nine day break.  For this break, I plan to spend an extended amount of time in the Catskills of NY to enjoy some hiking and snowshoeing, possibly some snowboarding if the mood hits.  As of right now, I will be going alone, unless I can find anyone who wants to come/wants to hike/can take time off during the week.  Not the safest option, especially in winter, but I feel a burning desire to get some quality Catskills time in, for longer than an average weekend.

What to expect:  trip reviews, hints of Catskill folklore

a view from the Catskills
a view from the Catskills

March

Early this March, I will be taking advantage of my schedule flexibility to take the biggest trip I’ve been on in a while.  This east coast boy is heading out to Colorado, for 13 days!  Aside from a 5 day snowboard trip to Utah my junior year of high school, I haven’t been out west to the Rockies.  I expect this trip to include a strong mix of hiking/snowshoeing, snowboarding, brewery visits, and maybe a touch of live music.  I plan to spend my time within the general areas between, in, and around Denver, Boulder, Rocky Mountain National Park, and Winter Park.  I am particularly excited to visit Rocky Mountain National Park!  I was awarded a free park pass for a year for my service in the Smokies, and I can’t wait to put it to use.

park pass
park pass

When planning this big trip, I had trouble deciding between Colorado and Texas.  Ultimately, I decided on Colorado because Texas felt too big, and I’d be alone most of the time.  My personal points of interest in Texas were so spread out, I felt it would be more of a driving trip.  As for Colorado, I have a general “smaller” area I wish to visit, and I’ll be spending this trip amongst friends, who will hopefully show me the ropes of the Rocky Mountains.

To readers:  If you have any Colorado tips (great hikes, great eateries, hidden secrets, etc) definitely let me know, I’d love to hear them!

What to expect:  Trip reviews, lots of pictures, “Pairing: Hiking and Beer” post(s)

April

April brings with it another nine day break!  For this break, I cannot help but to head back below the Mason-Dixon Line to my old stomping grounds.  Off to Virginia Tech and Great Smoky Mountains National Park I go!  I can’t wait to visit old friends and co-workers in southwest Virginia and east Tennessee!  You guys already know how much I love this area, so I do not have to explain how much I can’t wait to feel those southern trails underneath my feet.  I am particularly excited to see the Smokies in the spring, with wildflowers in bloom and fragrance abound in the warmth of the southern sun.  Certainly, I couldn’t go without a bike ride around the Cades Cove loop as well!

What to expect:  Trip reviews, A Comparison: Smokies in the Spring and Fall

a view from the Smokies
a view from the Smokies

Any hikes on these trips will most likely be day hikes, with the only exception being a potential overnight in the Smokies.  I would love to backpack in Colorado, but being completely unfamiliar with the area and already struggling to find a way to take my gear on the plane, I think I’ll have to stick to day trips.

In Between

While I am very much looking forward to these trips, don’t expect me to be sitting around twiddling my thumbs in the interim.  I will be continuing to explore my local area, with hopes of uncovering more joys of the trails of CT and southern NY.  Hopefully these local trips will help reveal some compelling writing material.

On that note, I may dive into the realm of literature reviews.  Maybe I will review some hiking specific books (mostly guides and maps), with the hopes that such reviews will be helpful to some readers, if not myself.  These reviews will include a book I recently received, The Connecticut Walkbook:  West.  I may review this in conjunction with my local travels.  I am also particularly interested in a new book called Hike Of The Week, which is a complete guide with 52 hikes for each week of the year, located around the New York Metropolitan Area.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Lastly, I recently have become a Interpretation Volunteer at Weir Farm National Historic Site.  This NPS site in Wilton, CT, is one of only two in the country dedicated to American Art.  However, I find it to be a compelling natural site, as this estate and the natural surroundings had a dramatic impact on J. Alden Weir’s paintings and general outlook on life.  Not to mention, it features a few gentle, but pretty nonetheless, hiking trails.  While visitor activity is low in the winter and volunteers aren’t particularly in need, I do hope my involvement there increases with the onset of spring.  I imagine this location will provide some inspiration for future blog posts.

What to expect:  trip reviews, book reviews, and a commentary on J. Alden Weir, nature, and Weir Farm.

I look forward to sharing my future experiences, as I hope you all will do with me.  Until next time, keep hiking, folks!

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