Monday, May 18, 2015

Relaxation & Uncertainty

I have finally begun to settle into the pace this summer brings.

This summer brings an odd combination of relaxation and uncertainty. Sweet Briar's graduation was this weekend, and now the campus parking lots have cleared out, which triggers relaxation mode. Although it's not here yet, the uncertainty of where we will be in the next 3-6 months is on the horizon.

We had a similar summer after we graduated from graduate school in 2011. We both were on the job hunt and moved into my parents house in Arlington. Our weekly plans were made based on job interviews and phone calls; our daily plans consisted of finding new job postings, sending applications and emails. Our monthly plans were too far in advanced to know where we'd be or what we'd be doing -- thus, we live day-to-day.

Much like the summer of 2011, Ryan and I are being intentional to take advantage of our surroundings and our time off. Not to mention, we are focused on doing both while conserving our funds! That summer we biked around the DC monuments and all over Arlington (after fixing up my parents bikes) and played lots of tennis. As this summer has gotten underway, we have been to two Lynchburg Hillcats games with free tickets and have been getting into the hiking scene.

Here comes the hiking journal part....

Last weekend, we hiked up one of the Peaks of Otter mountains, Sharp Top. It was sunny, partly cloudy skies with lots of families and couples on the narrow trail. It was about an hour straight up hill. Curving around all sides of the mountain as we climbed, there were peaks through the trees of the valleys and mountain range. Near the top, there were rock formations that had been formed into a lot of stairs and lookout spots with a 360 view at the top. In the east, we could see the LU hill in the distance; and in all other directions we could see the amazing Blue Ridge Mountains.

East view on Sharp Top
Sharp Top - view from Buzzard's Roost

Saturday, we headed out in the afternoon for a shorter/closer hike, Spy Rock. The weather was cooler and cloudy. All the way to the top, we shared the wide, rocky/gravel trail with a large, hispanic family. As we approached Spy Rock, it flatten out for 1/4 mile or so, until the trail seemingly stops at the foot of at the large rock formation. The family, probably 70-80 of them, of all ages, were scampering up the rock using numerous routes. I was impressed that they all made it up the hill and rock face to see the great view! The view made you feel like you were in the middle of the mountain range, much like a treehouse when it's nestled in the perfect spot in the trees. When we were up on spy rock, it rained for 5-10 minutes which cleared out the group, so we enjoyed a quieter walk down the mountain. It took about 45 minutes both ways.

Top of Spy Rock
Beginning decent

About 2 miles down the road, we turned into Crab Tree Falls area, just to see what it was about. We hiked along mountainside waterfall as it tumbled down the steep, slippery rocks. It was already 6:00, so not many people on the trail, which was well-kept with stairs, railings and viewpoints. Definitely worth the second hike in one day. 

So, that's where we are. Making a list of hikes to do, relaxing, and starting to enjoy the summer before big changes come our way!