Confirming I’m a Mountain Girl (and a Lousy Newbie Hiker)

FOOD

Don’t have a stroke or anything, but I honestly don’t think I have any food pics for the last day or so.  It’s been a crazy couple days, and with being on the road, it’s been fruit, salads, and today I did have a veggie wrap.  Not a lot to write home about.  Oh, I did have some awesome Mexican veggie fajitas in a small mountain town though.

I did make homemade pumpkin seeds tonight though!  D saved the seeds from the pumpkin he and R carved the other day, and today I roasted them.  It’s amazingly simple – rinse the pumpkin guts out, spread out on cookie sheet, sprinkle liberally with sea salt, and roast for 45 minutes at 300.  That’s it.  So yummy!

we did this when I was a kid - and haven't done it since.  So tasty and easy!
we did this when I was a kid – and haven’t done it since. So tasty and easy!

FITNESS

Well, if I thought of NASCAR as a real sport, perhaps I could say my crazy amount of driving this weekend qualified as a fitness activity.  Alas….I don’t, so I can’t.

I did a lot of walking, both below ground and in the mountains, so that may count a little.

I also did yoga last night in our little cottage/condo.  R was wrapped up in a blanket in front of the fireplace working on her book (yes, my 10 year old is writing a book – love it), and started to do yoga.  After about 10 minutes, she stopped me and said “wow…you’re really flexible and fit”.  So maybe I beamed a little on that one 🙂

LIFE

After our trip to Northern VA, R and I took off for Luray, VA.  We had a hiking group meet-up planned to hike the Stony Man trail in Shenandoah National Park.

We made it to Luray just at just about 3pm.  It was a last minute trip, so I totally winged it when looking for lodging on Friday.  I booked the Queen Anne Cottage, which wasn’t so much a cottage, but a lower flat in downtown Luray (right on the river too!).  That said – it was awesome.  The owners were awesome – spoke many times on the phone, greeted me there, and provided a nice bottle of wine for me too!  They also provided some guidance on where to eat (and where to avoid), and were so incredibly sweet.  The flat was lovely – full kitchen, bath, fireplace, WiFi, big front porch with rockers, etc.  I would totally stay there again.  Extremely reasonable too!

As soon as we were settled, R and I took off for the Luray Caverns.  First stop though, was this crazy garden maze.  It was much trickier than it looked – the signs often fibbed about which way to go – but the objective was to find 4 goals, get a stamp on your Mission Card, and reveal not only the way out, but the secret message too.  It was a total blast, and R and I both loved it.

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we totally made a wrong turn!
we totally made a wrong turn!

After that, we went on the cavern’s tour.  Discovered in 1878, it’s this HUGE underground cavern with stalactites and stalagmites, and underground lakes, and all these amazing formations.  A bit to note – the normal stalactites grow 1 inch every 120 years.  The ones that look like waterfalls grow 1 inch every 300 years!  It was stunning.  To quote R all evening long…”I have absolutely no comment”, as we looked in awe at everything.

if you look closely - this is actually a lake!  Called Dream Lake because the water is so still, it shows a perfect mirror image that looks like a cavern below.
if you look closely – this is actually a lake! Called Dream Lake because the water is so still, it shows a perfect mirror image that looks like a cavern below.

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they have a wishing well, and they scoop out the money every Jan to donate to charity.  Here's the chart of donations since 1954!
they have a wishing well, and they scoop out the money every Jan to donate to charity. Here’s the chart of donations since 1954!
unlike any other formation down below.  These are called the "fried-egg" formation.  They're tiny too - about the size of a real egg.
unlike any other formation down below. These are called the “fried-egg” formation. They’re tiny too – about the size of a real egg.
I shouldn't make fun, but this sign totally cracked me up.  Maybe it was the huge jazz hands, I don't know...
I shouldn’t make fun, but this sign totally cracked me up. Maybe it was the huge jazz hands, I don’t know…

After the caverns we grabbed dinner at a Mexican place that came highly (and rightfully so) recommended by the owners of Queen Anne Cottage.  Then we parked at the flat and walked to a local haunted house.  It also came very highly recommended from the owners, and with my family all being big Halloween junkies, it was fun to get one more scare fest in.  I will say – they did an AMAZING job.  They apparently prepare for it all year long, and it was really well done.  We were ushered in small groups of 4-5, and led through each phase by different people who really acted their parts well.  It was scary, and fun, and a total blast.

We went back to the flat, showered, chilled out, played chess, and eventually went to bed.

This morning we took our time getting ready.  We weren’t meeting the group until noon, so we had plenty of time to get our act together.  We got to the Skyland Resort around 1030, hoping to grab breakfast and chill out.  What we did – was find the restaurant closed, and chilled out.  Literally.  I was prepared for hiking weather of about 60 degrees.  I wasn’t prepared for what that meant when on top of a windy mountain.  Neither R nor I were appropriately garbed, so we had to wave off the hike.  I was really bummed out, because I’ve enjoyed the hikes we’ve done.  I need to really work on that “how to be a prepared hiker” thing….

We did stop at scenic overlooks, then head back to Luray to have brunch, walk around, and hit up a local artisan market.  It still ended up being a great day, but was a total newbie hiker fail.

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We were home at a reasonable time though, and I have everything organized for the weekdays to begin.

I will say I did confirm something about myself this weekend that I’ve suspected for sometime.  I’m a mountain girl – more than a beach one.  I live near beautiful beaches, but are drawn much more to the mountains.

Published by

RunCrissieRun

I am a 44 yo busy career single mom, attempting to find her inner athlete, be a gluten-free(ish) vegan, and find a way to balance it all without going crazy! I love to cook, read, run, box, do yoga, dance, travel, and learn as many new things as I can - which often gets me in trouble.... I am passionate about life in general, and if I didn't write about it, I'd probably implode.

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