It's finally warming up here and on Sunday we had the most glorious day of blue skies, perfect temps in the 60s and lots of new greenery and flowers bursting from the foliage. I highly suggest this eight-mile hike on the Elizabeth's Furnace trail in the George Washington National Forest. The forest is free (unlike the national park), and has surprisingly open, rocky and interesting terrain with good views from the top. It also appears to have some climbing routes, which I'll have to spend more time exploring on my next visit.
Swimming. Although I live in one of those very nice but somewhat personality-less complexes, I’ve been loving my pool. And the swimming holes last weekend were possibly the best day of the entire summer. The East coast had the best summer ever up until August. An article in Slate years ago said August should be removed altogether. It’s no good. I’ll second that (at least for any location below maybe 6,000 feet). Except for swimming August is the pits. Not only is it hard to want to go outside for lunch or to walk your dog, it’s difficult to want to pick up the camera. But I’ve been missing it so much that I had to pick it up again. I took a long break while I moved around and got a job and got situated and somewhat settled, but I’ve decided that whether it’s hot, humid, sticky, and horribly uncomfortable August or not, it’s time to get addicted to photos again. So it’s of no surprise to my poor friends and family when I focus the lens on them. Thank you Nicole and Wendy and Evan for being great subjects!
Many people don’t know this, but Virginia has some really lovely swimming holes. This one, “The Ponds,” is only about two hours from DC, but seems lifetimes away. Take a trip and you’ll be transported back to a simpler place, where people eat food from their farms, sit on porches to watch sunsets, and play in the woods. It’s a great escape from the hustle and bustle of the urban landscape, and it’s something I crave a lot, if not most of the time. The water was just cold enough to be refreshing and deep enough to jump in, and the hike in and out was easy so you don’t lose that whole nature-fresh clean feeling by the time you get back to your car.
Here lies the world’s most perfect snowball – that is, until it’s tossed in the air for the teeth-bearing dogs to attack and kill. While my friend Rachel was visiting from the California coast this week, we decided to go for a walk with the dogs in Truckee so they could play in the snow. This turned more into a snowball fest with the dogs tearing through the air, flipping and twisting and clobbering the oh-so-perfect snowballs. The warm weather the Sierras have been experiencing makes for nice hikes but rare snowfall, so we decided to enjoy the white stuff while there was still some on the ground. Considering that I just bit the bullet and bought a mid-week pass to Sugarbowl, we’d better get another storm soon or I’m gonna send out the attack dogs.
When someone says “I’m going to Grand Junction area for the weekend,” the typical response is “Oh… Why?” It’s not exactly the hippest spot in Colorado, but I loved it when I visited one of my good friends there recently. The mesas surrounding the city trap light and glow with crimson, and nearby Unaweep Canyon is an incredibly special spot, with no crowds, great climbing and two creeks flowing from its center. During our climbing/camping trip, a stray splinter snagged our friend Trevor while he collected firewood, but thankfully the good doctor Brian DiMarzio was there to remove it. And the next day of climbing was saved.