Keeping to my routine, after dinner (and a little extra time for digestion), I donned my workout gear and headed to the basement for a solid sweat session.
One set of squats later, I’m doubled over, out of breath and my heart going insane in my chest. I took a short break, gathered my breath and regained normal heart function and went into the next exercise. I managed to struggle through a single a set of seven moves, taking breaks betweem each to regain my composure, but I had to l listen to my body. A long, cardio and muscle strengthening session was out of the question without causing myself undue pain. Enough was enough. So I stopped.
With my short cool down, I did a total of 15 minutes. That’s not a lot, but something is better than nothing. Tomorrow is another day and I will try again.
So while I may have “failed” my exercise goal today, I did what was best for my health, and I will be better for it. A minor setback will not define me.
Sometimes you have to stare at Google maps and try to find a new and interesting place to go hiking. Follow the Appalachian trail north of your normal treks and you may discover a new section that has a road and approach trail that leads right to it.
That’s how we discovered the Appalachian Trail at Addis Gap. The plan was to head to the trail head at the end of Wild Cat Road and hike up to the A.T. and then go for distance.
The drive there was bordering on magical. Peak color, an undisturbed dirt road covered in yellow leaves, and even a water fall along the way. It took a solid 30 minutes to drive down the long, narrow gravel road known as West Wild Cat Rd, and it was certainly a beautiful adventure.
After being on approach trail (the old end portion of Wild Cat Road) for about 15 minutes, we were met by a couple of cyclists, which meant we had to scramble and get the pups out of the way (we had Scotch and Beans with us). The second dude who road by let us know that more folks on bikes were coming down the mountain.
There was a race going on.
Our secluded hike was going to be interrupted by a lot of people in tight shorts, and our nerves were going to be shot by trying not to have a corgi vs. bike accident.
But we trudged on, luckily being able to see a relatively good distance along the path.
But behold! a fork in the trail. To the left, the continuation of Wild Cat Road/approach trail. To the right, though, was another old forest road, showing up on Google Maps as “Deep Gap Road.”
When we got to the fork, our decision was basically made for us. A large group of cyclists were speedily coming down the mountain from the approach trail. We took the road less traveled, and honey, that made all the difference.
The rest of the hike was peaceful, and while we were constantly climbing the mountain, the grade was easy. So while we didn’t exactly get to the A.T. this time, we found a place where we can come back to later.
In total, we hiked five miles (2.5 in, 2.5 out). We enjoyed it immensely, and the pups did as well.
This week is peak color-change week in the North Georgia Mountains. I know this, because I read it about five times in the fifteen minutes I perused Facebook this afternoon. That means that one of the most glorious sites of Autumn has arrived – the leaf change, bringing with it my favorite color palette.
But there’s so much more to see and take in during Fall. It’s not all about the leaves! Just last week, we were entreated to the glow of jack-o-lanterns. Kids and pets (and adults) took to the streets in the greatest of costumes, and I love looking at those pictures and seeing the creativity.
Mums of many varieties are blooming! I have a patch of white ones in my back yard, and then two other types potted around my property. They make for beautiful late-year color.
And with the cooling weather, comes a rare sighting in these parts – the migration of the Monarch Butterflies as they lopingly make their way South, only occasionally making pit stops here in the North Georgia Mountains. I’ve seen three so far this year, and they’ve been a treat to behold!
Autumn brings the return of crackling outdoor fires, lighting up the darkness of an early dusk.
And don’t forget that Thanksgiving spread! The food not only smells and tastes delicious, it looks so very inviting and comforting.
And of course, as the color fades from the forests and the leaves slowly flutter to the ground, a new vista emerges. The mountains, hidden for most of the year, become visible once more.
Take a moment and visualize your perfect fall day. What sorts of things do you see and take comfort in?
On Monday, Greg and I grabbed some Taco Bell (What? I can’t be super healthy all the time. Beside, I love me some Fiery Doritos Locos Tacos with Diablo sauce. I live for the SPICE), and then we took a drive up Richard B. Russell Scenic highway and stopped at a couple of the roadside pull-offs. It was very chilly and the wind was not helping that fact at all. We did manage to grab a couple of self-indulgent selfies and a few photos of the splendor of the beginnings of the leave change in North Georgia.
I love mountain views. Being up high and taking deep breaths of cool, fresh air fills me with joy. I visualize these memories when I need to calm and recenter my focus.
That rock-faced mountain is Yonah Mountain. It’s the same mountain that I can see from my back porch, but from the other side. It’s one of my favorite places.
This quick drive, in addition to the hike the day before, was exactly what my spirits needed to feel revitalized and normal. My mood has been boosted, and I’m feeling almost human again.
I am grateful for the forests and the mountains of North Georgia.
Last week, I started feeling better. Less lethargy, less pain, more energy to get up and go! I forced myself to take it easy for a couple of days, knowing that previously, I’d start feeling a bit better, then go do something like a hike and become overly exhausted. But this time, after a couple of good days, I felt like I could take a chance and actually get a solid muscle strengthening workout in. I took it relatively easy, not wanting to overdo it.
And I felt great.
Two days later, I tried it again, with similar results. On Oct 24th, I decided to restart the fitness and wellness journey, and I took pictures of my “Day 1.” I plan on taking pictures about every 10 days to help keep me motivated.
I am proud to see that I hadn’t completely lost all my arm and shoulder gains that I achieved earlier this year.
The mountains of Northeast Georgia provide an amazing array of hiking choices for those who are outdoorsy-inclined. Hiking is one of my favorite weekend activities, especially during the cooler weather. After almost a full week of feeling almost like a normal human being, I wanted to take a real hike this weekend and not just a jaunt through the woods at Unicoi State Park.
So early on Sunday morning, Greg and I packed up our gear and our snacks and headed up the mountain on the Richard Russell Scenic Parkway nearby. This highway gets closed quite often during the winter months because certain parts never see direct sunlight and ice sticks around like crazy. We drove up to the top of the mountain, to where the Appalachian Trail crosses the road at Hog Pen Gap. From that particular trail head, we headed north for 2 miles and then returned.
A nice, relatively flat 4-mile hike was exactly what I needed for both my body and my spirits. The morning was absolutely invigorating, albeit a bit chilly at first. The trail follows a ridge, and we were hiking in fog for a good portion of the morning, watching it slowly evaporate as the sun rose over the mountains and peeked through the trees.
I feel a unique sort of peace while hiking, and there’s an added bonus of accomplishment when you’re done.
Oddly enough, this is the first time we’ve done this portion of the A.T. I’d like to return eventually and go a littler further than 2 miles in.
And as the temperatures start falling, the varieties and hardiness of food explodes into a veritable cornucopia of potential feasts. So closely entwined with your sense of smell is your ability to taste. Food and drinks are amazing in autumn!
Some people say that fall officially begins when the pumpkin spice latte becomes available in Starbucks. Personally, I prefer a caramel mocha frappachino, or my homemade mulled apple cider, but I digress. There are a few things out there that are pumpkin spicy that I do enjoy (my co-worker’s gluten-free pumpkin cheesecake balls are divine!), but I tend to enjoy the other flavors of fall.
It all starts with the candy. Everyone knows that pumpkin-shaped Reese’s are far superior to the everyday Reese’s, and every small piece of candy brings back memories of trick-or-treating and tummy aches. When you see the halloween-branded candy in stores, you know, in your heart, that that candy is the best.
But as we get older, our dessert palettes become more sophisticated. We crave the richness of pies – apple, pumpkin, pecan, oh my! A nice hot piece of pie, all topped with a scoop of quickly melting vanilla ice cream.
Admit it, your mouth is watering at the thought of it. Remember the last time you had a delicious piece of pie? Visualize the experience. Enjoy the memory, savor it!
Pie is a special treat in my household. We typically only have it three or four times a year, with Thanksgiving usually being the most pie-intense day. But dessert is not the only taste of the aptly named Turkey day, there’s a whole feast involved!
Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, green beans, rolls, dressing, gravy, creamed corn, casseroles galore, and so much more! Not to mention the leftovers and the inventive meals that you come up with to use those last remaining bits of turkey.
Oh, so good!
And think of all the other wonderful foods that don our cupboards and shelves during Autumn: Apples, nuts, oranges, cloves – things that not only taste great, but leave a lasting, comforting aroma.
And stews! Soups! and Chili! all those warm comfort foods that seem too hot to enjoy when it’s 90 degrees outside hit the spot when the thermometer drops below 60.