Sunday, May 29, 2016

Keep Your Eyeballs Open!

We have another little weekend guest and she is an angel.

Bagheera - I hope someone adopts this sweety soon!

Last week was all about trail time! 
I apologize now for all the pics.
The most important rule of trail time is keep your eyeballs open! 

Friday after dinner I headed to my local park. 
Maybe the homemade pizza slowed me down.
Pizza kit in a box -

Okay, maybe it is just my fitness loss.
It is also the first time I really tried to run in 80 plus degree heat. I was drenched.

This is why you got to keep to your eyeballs open. A much better surprise than a snake!

He was faster than I was!
It is funny how the trail loooks so smooth in pictures, but the reality is pretty rocky, like above. 
The elevation gain was about 300 feet for the evening, which gave me the urge for a really good climb! 

“You’re off to great places!
Today is your day!
Your mountain is waiting,
So get on your way!”
― Dr. Seuss

Saturday I drove up to the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I conquered Harkening Hill first. 
3.4 miles round trip - 967 feet of elevation gain

I tried to run a little uphill, but I was huffing and puffing, so I just hiked at a good pace. 
I did stop long enough to admire some of the interesting rock formations. 

The brush is so thick, it blocks the view when you finally get to the summit!

Harkening Hill is one of the most runnable trails - it is very single track, but some sections are pretty smooth.
I did run a mile down the hill! 

Harkening Hill Trail

 Harkening Hill from a distance

I took a little stroll around the lake and then headed to Sharp Top,
 so I could take in some views for the day. 

It is only a mile and half up, but most of the trail is rocks, so it feels a bit strenuous.
It's 1182 feet elevation gain. I took my time for this one, some sections are steep.
It was hot!

I spotted chipmunks, squirrels, and lots of lizards on the way up.

The views when you reach the summit are pretty awesome.

Hey! that is the lake I walked around earlier:)

 ...and check this out!! Keep your eyeballs open! 

In all my travels up to Blue Ridge, I have never seen a bear. 
Several years ago, I saw a huge wolf at sunset and I was awed by the beauty. 
Spotting a bear was epic! 
I was so intrigued, just watching her. I could hear people and dogs off in the distance and apparently she could too, her attention stayed fixed in the same direction. She or he, seemed unconcerned about me. I always tend to think of bears as girls...I have no idea why?!
I could have watched her all day and it wouldn't have been long enough. 

At the top, I rested and ate some trail mix. I was feeling just a little wonky. maybe the heat, maybe just being out of shape, I am not sure. I was still extremely content and grinning from ear to ear, so I made the decision to do something I have  never, ever done...

I let the stubborn go, and I hopped the shuttle and got a ride down the mountain. I had hiked the best part - the up! The rocks are a little hard on the feet, so I rode down. I don't know who I am.
My feet were grateful. No need to overdo it, I guess. 

I have =  ❤  for hiking and running.
Peaks of Otter are the closest trails to me, about 2.5 hours from home.
There are tons of great trails 3-4 hours from me, just far enough so it is hard to make a day-trip of it.
I wish I lived just a little closer, so I could do this more often!

I am linking up with my favorite gals to tell ya'll about my trail time this week! Join in with Holly @ hohoruns and Tricia@ MissSippiPiddlin  

That's a wrap of the highlight of my week!

Discovered box wine rocks
Morning 5K -
3.11 mi 0:30:55
Walking -
0.25 mi 0:04:21

Circuit Training - 0:35:20
No Motivation To Lift - 0:20:45
Being On Time Is Over-rated -
6.65 mi 1:06:30
Cool Down -
0.16 mi 0:04:04

Stair Climber - 0:11:08
Upper Body and Leg Lifts - 0:44:34
Pocahontas Trail Run - 1.01 mi 0:10:19
Trail Walking -
2.31 mi 0:40:16

Pocahontas Trail Run - 1.36 mi 0:14:15
Trail Walking -
1.13 mi 0:20:08
Stretching - 0:10:54
Harkening Hill - 3.40 mi 1:04:56

Sharp Top - 1.57 mi 0:55:47

Bedford Walking - 0.50 mi 0:12:07
It is pouring rain again!

I hope you are enjoying some extra fun if you have off Monday. 

Have you ever had any epic wildlife spottings? 
Have you ever hiked in Blue Ridge? 
What driving distance is comfortable to you for a day trip? 


  1. Your pictures are beautiful. I love the Blue Ridge area and would have enjoyed this immensely. We've hiked a bit in the North GA mountains around Helen and Dahlonega and a little in NC too. We have seen a bear in the smoky mountains, but just stopped at a scenic overlook. I think about 2 hours one way is max for my day trip cut-off. Thanks for linking with us Karen!

    1. Two to two and half is my comfort range too, but I am going to try to go out a little farther for my next hike. I have done the same trails over and over now lol
      I was dying to find a trail in NC when we were there!
      How awesome to see a bear at a lookout!

  2. Wow, beautiful and amazing! How fun, Karen. Thank you for "taking us along" on your journey. Have a wonderful rest of your weekend.

    1. Thanks Susan :) I got lucky we had a pretty day, the rain started again yesterday and continues this a.m.

    2. You inspired me to take a hike today! Rick and I did a very easy 3.1 mile hike at Pinewood Lakes Trail not too far from our house. I hope the rain stops soon. Take care, cutie.

    3. Awww! Very nice :) CO is so pretty, I am sure the scenery is very inspiring. I am glad you got out with your hubby, that's even better.
      That makes my day!

  3. Wow what gorgeous views from the top! I wish we had mountains near us. Because we don't every time we go hiking it's pretty strenuous since we're not used to going UP but the views from the top are always worth it!

    I am impressed that you saw a bear and remained calm. I would have been in awe but also totally scared, especially after seeing the new Leonardo DiCaprio movie where he gets mauled by a bear in the worst way!

    1. I have hills, but nothing close to me is like the elevation, it does feel strenuous, but that is why I love it so much. In some ways it challenges me more than running.
      I was totally calm when I saw the bear, but I didn't see that movie LOL

  4. What an adventure! It looks so beautiful- very similar to PA mountains. :) OMG A BEAR!!! I never saw one. Were you afraid she would attack you? Did you have a plan in case?

    1. Yes it is very similar! I just remember PA had some much higher peaks.
      No I am dumb, I wasn't afraid at all! She never really looked my way, she was tuned in to the noise from a distance. Maybe if she would have really looked at me I would have felt nervous. I know she could smell me, so I was thinking obviously, she doesn't care I am here! lol
      The plan, if she looked my way, make a lot of noise and hope she moved on or ball up and lay down. I had zero defense so it is what it is. I didn't have bear spray on me.

    2. Ahhhhh I remember this now! Karen, it was prob good you stayed calm.

  5. Sounds like a fantastic hike. The photos are gorgeous though I would have freaked out over a bear sighting. Good for you for taking the shuttle down. Sometimes you need to listen to your body ! Have a great week.

    1. Thanks Karen :) I am working on trying to be more responsible and not overdo it lol
      The bear was awesome! I was glad no cubs were nearby though, that is usually when bears are more aggressive.

  6. I love your pics. Looks like a perfect place to hike. I love to hike but I need to find someone else who does. Or go by myself. About 2 hours is the most I'd drive.

    1. Thanks! I went solo for this one. I have very limited buddies who hike, I do have one friend who lives up that way and I try to go when her church group goes.
      I wish you were closer so we could hike!

  7. I wish we had trails like that here! Gorgeous. I'm heading to northern Wisconsin in a few weeks, so hopefully I'll have some trail pix to share. Along with a lot of mosquito bites!

    1. Fun! Take lots of pics and bug spray lol I did not wear bug spray and regret it, I got a few good bites.

  8. Wow, that looks gorgeous - and challenging!

    1. Yes :) The perfect combo for me. I love the challenge of up!

  9. OMG, THANK you for the photos! That looks so peaceful & beautiful!

    Even injured, you are NOT. A turtle!

    1. Thank you Judy!!
      It was a perfect way for me to spend an afternoon.
      Ha! I will try to remember that I am not a turtle :0) he was a fast little guy! I think he wanted me to go away lol

  10. I run on some trails like that but your view is better..haha.

    I just saw a raccoon on my run thiss week and I thought it was cool cus I never saw a "live" one before and this one was climbing up a tree! I didn't know they were "tree climbers".

    1. Awesome! Raccoons are pretty crafty, I guess if something is good up the tree, they will climb lol I need to start running on the trails more often :)

  11. I love both the kitten and trail pics! I also love hiking, running in trails & seeing wildlife. I'd have been so excited to see that bear! Very cool!

    1. I wished I could have watcher the bear a little longer! I didn't want to press my luck though lol

  12. LOVE all your pics!!! I don't do much trail running (not much for trails in my area), but I enjoy them. You mentioned needing to walk up a hill...and I do that often. Depending on the grade (or slope), I can usually walk a hill quicker (and safer) that run it (especially on the downward side!).

    1. Hills are so tough! If I lived closer to the mountain I would work on it till I could run up, but you are right, walking is safer. I just am not used to that steep of a grade.

  13. Beautiful views on your run! Did you make it a goal to walk down the other side for the next time you go?

    1. I am sure next time I will have to walk down lol most of the peaks don't have a shuttle- that is popular one in the state park. I guess I shouldn't run if I want hike more lol

  14. What a beautiful place to hike! And I LOVE all the critters! LOL about the turtle :) I bet your calves and glutes were feeling those inclines!!!!

    1. Surprisingly my glutes have felt fine. My calves felt it for sure, but not until Monday lol and this morning when I tried to run.
      I love all the critters expect for snakes lol

  15. All your trail pictures are great! You are right, gotta keep those eyes open! This heat is brutal and makes me feel like I am running thru mud! My body will adjust I know or I hope! :)

    1. Thanks :)
      Mud is about right...I feel so much heavier in the heat, I just go into survival mode lol

  16. I tried to comment, but it was kind of hard on my ipod (especially with blogger). Anyway, your foster kittens are just too darn cute. I have a feeling we'll have a foster dog at some point soon. There will definitely be photos. :)

    And oh my those photos are so gorgeous!

    1. I have really enjoyed having little house guests, but it is hard to watch them go back if they don't have a home :(
      The young ones sure add some life though!!
      Thanks! I don't hike often enough, hence the excitement over the views lol

  17. Those views are gorgeous!! I can't believe you were not scared by seeing the bear! You are so brave!

    The mountain reminds me of a local trail! it is so calming to hike the parks, thank you for sharing your pictures !

    1. It is nice you have trails close to you!
      I guess I am just dumb, I just awed by the bear lol had she seemed more interested in me, I may have been scared!

  18. You have another precious house guest. I remember when my Lily was so small and sweet. Your hiking pictures are beautiful! I enjoy hiking when we go to the Smoky Mountains. There's so many trails there. We saw a bear when we rode bikes through Cades Cove. It was exciting, but a little nerve wrecking at the same time.

    1. The Smokies are beautiful too. I would love to hike there one day.
      I think the bear being so disinterested in me really helped my nerves. She was just so awesoem looking!

  19. What?! Seeing a bear didn't scare you? I can't imagine. I saw one once in Alaska but it was pretty small and it was fishing for salmon and I was on a bike. I think they are so adorable but I think I'd be scared. Your hike was beautiful. I'd love to go on that trail someday. There's so much green and what a great view from the top. Sometimes when I'm on the uphill portion of a trail run or hike, I focus on what I get to see when I get there. Best view's from the top!!

    1. I would love to see Alaska one day!
      You are so right, the view at the top is worth all the hard work going up :)

  20. What great pictures! I believe your slowdown was heat related for sure! Man it can rob you of the wintertime paces in a heartbeat can't it!
    Wow that Harkening Hill trail is small right? You are right the views are simply amazing! I so want to go back to Stone Mountain in GA and make the trek before dawn and watch the sun rise from the top! How cool would that be? You did all the work going up glad you got to enjoy the ride down. :)

    1. That would be a great view from the top!
      I wish I loved closer to Harkening Hill so I could work on really running it :) It is tight, I had my eyeballs open for snakes!
      Ohhh, the heat is really starting to work its magic on me now lol It has been so humid here.

  21. That kitty has a neat name - I love the Jungle Book! You got in some spectacular hiking with so much elevation gain. Nice! All of the trails off of the BRP are so gorgeous, but the Peaks of Otter area is especially beautiful. Very cool that you saw a bear! I had a run in with one during my trail race today. The mountains are alive.


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