Tag Archives: romantic

Princess Loral Loves Part Primitive

My Honey is part princess—the kind that you would normally think of—glamours dresses, jewelry and makeup. She is also the princess who can rule over her feelings and desires to endure some hardship to get to see the beauty out in nature that she loves so much.  Read her guest blog for tips on how to make it work—successfully see beauty and still maintain a necessary level of comfort.

IMG_2174
doing the check list before our original primitave adventure—ta dah!

She loves beauty so much that we have had rewarding nights in primitive locations. Primitive meaning no facilities, no water, no electricity and only what you can carry for your needs. The reward for such hardship is going to sleep under a full moon, a starry night or the waves crashing on the sand melodically twenty yards away. Or getting to experience a romantic sunset and fire on the beach completely alone—just us. No neighbors, no noise, no city lights and no interruptions.

We have been doing component adventures where we practice as little as one piece at a time of an epic adventure.  We are still putting together all that we need so that I can take her, for example, for 8 days in the Yosemite Wilderness. I want to retrace the steps my buddy Randy and I did so she can see the breathtaking beauty that I did. We are working our way toward epic one component at a time.

There are many aspects of a grander trip that we are now combining as we increase our collective skill. We did our load plan and carefully filled our backpacks to be gone for 48 hours of completely primitive fun. The trade off for my Honey was sand, beach and gulf waves. But we have a total melt down the first night, packed it up the next morning and hiked back to the car…not sure what to do to fix this failure. After a good meal and some soul searching, we decided that with God’s help we would try again and have fun—and we had a blast. What a perfect experience on that beach that night!

IMG_20160522_210650483 (1)
Beach camp fire deep in the sand

After this experience we coined the term partial primitive. We plan to do it again for three nights or so next time because it combines multiple one day loops and time in town. I get the hiking, making camp and living out of our packs in 20 hour chunks at a time; she gets to spend a couple of hours in town dressed in a cute sun dress being taken out to eat. Then we hike back in for adventure and romance alone for the next 20 hours in primitive land.

IMG_2035
back in town for a meal on the beach

This method we found to be inexpensive too.  No fee or a low fee for each night which gives us frugal hikers some wiggle room for a meal in town each day and a cheap hotel if a huge storm comes through. What a wonderful accidental discovery that is now another “our way” of doing some of our outdoor adventures.

*************************************************************************

What compromise could you work out with your Honey? Do you have a fun “our way” of doing things that is parts of both of you?

Why Do I Want My Honey on the Trail With Me?

Today, as I read my Honey’s blog that she posted last night at cowriterpro.com – her business site, I felt inspired to answer this question in the title of today’s blog. Here is what my quotable Queen said in her blog:IMG_2982

“So what can I do, today, to affect the spreading of love with a skill that I love—the skill of writing. I can encourage you to write to those you love. To tell them how important they are to you. To tell them that they are loved. Tell them about the two or three memories that you treasure. Tell them about how they made you laugh. Edit the part out about how they made you cry. Tell them about the good now because tomorrow isn’t promised. And Forgive.”

IMG_2357 (1)
Just knowing she’s there

There are many positive things I could say in response to this advice. I will try to only address why having her on the trail with me is so special – choosing to address just this part – because after all, this blog is about Hiking With Your Honey.

She makes the trail real.

I still like to hike with an athletic bent for speed and conditioning but I love hiking with my Honey because she sees every butterfly, snail, flower and water fall.  Now I SEE the real forest and the trees – through her eyes and mine. One day at Henry Horton State Park  I watched with joy as Loral stopped dead in her tracks to watch five butterflies. I laughed as I watched her try to follow them all with her head and eyes. She was the cutest bobble head ever.

IMG_1702
Bobble Head Honey watching butterflies

I love what we talk about

The deep thoughts and the superficial chatter. To hear her laughter and to watch her be silly. One night we hiked back in to the car and drove to near by Pensacola to have a nice meal and she dressed up in the beach bath house because she wanted to feel pretty. After dinner I had a hard time keeping up as she ran along the beach in her bare feet splashing in the surf, laughing, dancing, spinning and giggling at herself for this silly wonderful display.

IMG_2202
So happy spinning in the surf

And then I love her presence

Just being together quietly swinging in a hammock, sitting on a log eating snacks and looking out over a lake, snuggling by a fire. On our second night primitive camping on the beach on Perdido Key I woke up over and over because the moon was so bright. Waking up was magical though because each time I would marvel that she was there with me – sleeping peacefully in the gulf breeze.

IMG_20160417_155328679
Just a swingin’

Loral Pepoon, I love you! I’m putting it in writing and giving it to you! Three happy thoughts with three special memories. Thanks for the inspiring post:-)

*************************************************************************

Could you stop, write down an “I love you” thought, story or tender tribute? Then give it to the object of that affection? Sure you can – give it a try –  It doesn’t have to be eloquent, cute or funny – just be real and make it permanent:-) Who will the loved one be?

A Beautiful “Do Over” Moonlit Night

IMG_2321
“Our favorite time of light when the sun kisses the night”

“Fighting is terrible but at least you get to make up,” someone said to me once.  I’m not a big fan of this idea but when making up follows real resolution, I’m all about that.  Still seated in the coffee shop where we hashed out the 9 Ways to Decorate Your Camp Site…our skin was suffering from the hot air outside and the air inside was still warm from the fiery debate. But our hearts were aglow with the joy and satisfaction of having been heard and appreciated. Unsure what to do now with this hard earned vacation day, we just sat pondering over our useful solution to our ugly problem.

It was in the happy but tentative silence of that moment that my Honey quietly asked a question: “Is there any part of you that wants to try this again?” I immediately responded, “yes”.

Almost without words we committed to each other to do the same primitive night between the dunes and the waves of the Gulf that we had tried to do the night before. With the energy of excitement over certain success, we repacked all our gear and checked our supplies.

Back to Perdido Key we went. Our park pass that cost only $15 dollars for the week was still good so we whipped the car in behind the Ranger’s Station and filled out another primitive back country registration form.  We giggle as we drove in with that deja vu feeling…or maybe more like the movie Ground Hog Day where the main character got to repeat the same day over and over until he got it right.

We dove past all the public beaches, past the last legal parking spot and down to the end of the blacktop. We made a nest for Loral to soak up the sun and watch the waves and I drove the half mile back to park the car. I returned to kiss my Honey and help her into her backpack. We made silly puns and meandered along the shore looking for perfect sea shells.

IMG_2291
My Honey – so happy to be barefoot in the sand!

My honey was barefooted, clad in her one piece bathing suit and 40 pound pack. She walked on the packed wet sand and let the waves tickle her toes. I have a bit of bad background with direct sunlight so I was in my hat, long sleeves, pants, boots and 60 pound pack.  I walked along in the loose sand and occasionally on the packed sand when I could dodge the waves.

We stopped and talked to fisherman and other campers while we covered almost a mile more of beach to get to a secluded spot. With all that we learned we discussed how we would set up camp satisfying all our practical concerns and her nesting decorating concerns. Camp was perfect and our meandering trip through the dunes carefully stepping around the protected vegetation was peaceful.

IMG_2341
The dunes washed in pastel light

We set up our tiny chairs on the other side of the key, got out our snacks and water and settled in to wait for the most glorious sunset we have seen to date.  The fish jumped from the water and the birds flittered all around as if celebrating our restored joy. As the sun melted into our Favorite Time of Light we held hands and gushed on and on about the beauty of what God had made.

IMG_2271
Wow!

We slipped back to our camp – which looked awesome as we approached – and throughly enjoyed our evening and night under the biggest full moon I have ever seen. We slept with the flaps open on the tent letting the gulf breeze blow through and carry away the heat and cares of the day.

The next morning we spent in our beach cabana reading our Bible and talking to the Creator. We watched the hermit crabs surface tentatively from their holes and scurry back at the least sign of danger. We watched the fish jump and the birds float on the air currents and then reluctantly left that happy time to pack up and break camp.

IMG_2353
Camp is ready and we are off to the sunset

Loral jumped in the water to prepare for the hot hike back and once again I covered up from head to toe to lead the way to the car. This chance to repeat what had been so badly damaged was such a special treat. Thank God we get the chance sometimes for a “do over.”

********************************************************************************************************************

Is there something you need to hash out with your Honey to get resolved and move on? Is there any way to get a “do over” to reclaim what was lost?

Carter Cave Kentucky

During the third week of July we went to Carter Cave Kentucky to hike and hear bluegrass music. This is another great way to combine interests. We both love live music and hiking. We also threw in a little cave tour just because.

In a cave opening on Horn Hollow trail
In a cave opening on Horn Hollow trail

The park is pretty big so for reference for directions, the resort is 30 miles west of Ashland KY. We went North on I-65 out of Nashville TN, then East on the Bluegrass Parkway. Then we wiggled around the west and north edges of Lexington to get on I-64 East. We took exit 161 for US 60 east. We stayed on that for 1.5 miles and turned left on KY 182 north. After that we just followed the signs to get the Lodge. The latitude and longitude according to the website is N 38.36902 W -83.12372. I did not mark this one myself so I can’t validate the accuracy. It took us about 5 hours with a couple of little stops.

Curious formations in a rock wall along Horn Hollow Trail
Curious formations in a rock wall along Horn Hollow Trail

This trip was actually my sister’s fun idea—she and her family were going on this adventure and they invited us to meet up with them. It was probably a sneaky way for my sister to gently interrogate my sweetheart if the truth were told. My Honey accepted the invitation when I told her that I had planned to rent her a separate room since we weren’t married yet.

We arrived in Olive Hill Kentucky, introduced my Honey to my bother and his wife and enjoyed dinner at the Smokey Valley Truck Stop. They can find the most unique yummy places to eat.

Then we went to a blue grass concert in a cave.

Band stand inside a cave!
Band stand inside a cave!

It was so cool! A bring your own chair event but be careful. Don’t unfold your chair under a steady drip from a stalactite.  The acoustics were great and the husband and wife band were truly gifted.

The trail we choose was the Horn Hollow trail. It was a two mile loop with some cave entrances featured along the way. It is scenic, hilly and takes you from the ridge to the bottom of Horn Hollow.

DSCF4888

Here are two links to help you get more information if you would like to  go do this too.

http://parks.ky.gov/parks/resortparks/carter-caves/trails.aspx

http://parks.ky.gov/!userfiles/aParkBrochures/Maps/CarterCaves.pdf

this cave is about the size of a 1.5 man tent and dry
this cave is about the size of a 1.5 man tent and dry

You may notice that the trail description says it’s 1.5 miles and the map says it’s 2.0 miles. This is something to watch out for and very common. A hiking venue website will sometimes have conflicting information about trails. Then when you get to the trail, you may find a different distance altogether and confusing unmarked trail crossings. I think this happens over time as trail maintenance workers make adjustments for the changes in the forest. Hikers often create unmarked trails that after a while start to look like the main trail too.

DSCF4865

This trail was a good choice for the mix of adults and children from the toddler my sister had in a carrier on her back to the “old man” of the group…me. We had a blast soaking in the sun, enjoying the shade and exploring the cave features.

Pondering Your Path

Would visiting a park be a good way to combine interests and get in some hiking? What park would satisfy the vacationing desires of a group of your family or friends?

Oh, by the way…my newly found hiker honey passed the sister scrutiny!

Celebration after Struggle

IMG_2027Our first night in a tent was in Florida in Fort De Soto campground in Pinellas County near St Petersburg FL. We had decided to take on back country backpacking one component at a time and see how she liked it. This would just be the overnight component in a 1.5 person backpacking tent. Breakfast would be back country style too but that was incidental. There was a real bathroom, electricity, and the car was parked right there. It was to be followed and proceeded by restaurant food and an indoor bed. This way we only tried on the tent for style and a little outdoor cooking.

That night we sat on the shore and watched dolphins and fish jump out of the water. When we were ready for bed the wind was blowing about 10 miles an hour in the tops of the palm trees. This was a melody to me but sounded scary to her. You never know what emotions sound will trigger.

ALPS 1.5 man tent-about 4 lbs
ALPS 1.5 man tent-about 4 lbs

My tenacious tweety reported sleeping good when she slept because she really like the top of the line Big Agnus sleeping mat I had for her and her Northface sleeping bag rated for zero was certainly adequate for the 52 degrees.

The times she didn’t sleep was from the night mares of alligators coming to “chomp her”. So saying she was a little sleepy in the morning is an understatement. Be prepared that your girl may not be used to outdoors sounds at first. My Honey concluded as we talked the next morning  that her thoughts were irrational. I shared that time and experience would make her accustomed to outdoor noises and it would then be much better. I got really transparent and told her that I had been scared by some sounds during my first few nights sleeping outdoors. She recovered so much that she was even looking forward to the next adventure in the tent because the sleeping surface was so comfortable.

We settled in at the picnic table with the Jetboil, coffee and tea. Got our devotional books and Bible out of the car and tried to enjoy some quiet time with God. It was difficult because of the sleepless night and some other lessons we learned on that overnighter that I’ll share later.

To provide a reward for this effort…to apply salve to an abrasion…to cheer a cloud covered heart—we struck out in the car for a day in Tarpon Springs. It is a completely Greek town and they were having a town wide street party and we needed it. We sampled fun new food, ate flaming cheese and bought goat soap. We took pictures by the sponge boats, in the tourist cut out of a diver and with the big plastic turtle. It was a fun day that matched in intensity the level of the bad night.IMG_2054

We overcame some tough moments and rewarded ourselves with some very special moments. She now enjoys the tent experience so much more but sure needed a special day back then. She needed a romantic day exploring a very european-Greek looking town…to walk arm in arm all day relaxed and happy to be together.IMG_2058

From this experience we decided to always pair something awesome we know for sure we both like with a new experience that might be challenging.

Warm and Cozy by the Fire

Inside the beach cabana—our "cave" by the fire
Inside the beach cabana—our “cave” by the fire

Yesterday, I had fun telling you about hiking after getting to Mossy Ridge Trail in Percy Warner Park. Today I want to pick up where we left off as we got back to Indian Springs Shelter #4.

My Honey under one of the rustically beautiful designs.
My Honey under one of the rustically beautiful designs.

We celebrated our relaxing day hike in the woods—about 5 miles at a leisurely pace where we could talk—as we took more pictures at the shelter with it’s carefully fashioned cedar logs. Then before I went to work on the fire, cozy spot and food, we plopped down at the picnic table and munched on a few almonds to give our “dogs” a break.

A great cold weather use for a beach cabana.
A great cold weather use for a beach cabana.
IMG_3129
Our magic carpet

My honey took lots more pictures while I built a fire and set up the Cabana. With a couple of old blankets on the bottom, the floor of the Cabana and three more blankets inside, it was our magic carpet.

Within 30 minutes, the fire was crackling, the rain was making gentle music on the roof and the Jetboil was hissing a happy sound as the water began to boil.

IMG_3112
Ready to hydrate

 

Our Mountain House Chili Mac took two cups of water to hydrate and provided a yummy 300 calories with 15 grams of protein each when we split the package. Our hot beverage was Spiced Chai with honey and stevia.

Boots kicked off and ready to relax!
Ready to eat! Looking so sweet:-)
IMG_3121
Yum! Yum!
IMG_3119
One must be civilized…

My Hiker-Honey was very impressed that I knew how to fold a napkin as I made an attempt to be civilized.

IMG_3114
I’m so hungry, I could eat my fork!

We were so hungry that I will bring more food for us the next time.

We also decided that we would succumb to the “need” for s’mores on our next hike.

IMG_3105
My Honey in her hiker’s habitat

My Strider-Writer learned that she can handle more cold than she thought and still have fun. She says to tell you that in order to get the feel for it and do it comfortably, you just have to get started and learn as you go. Wardrobe adjustments are one of her happy things.

Right about the time we finished our meal and got snuggled up under our blankets by the fire, the rain became ernest in its decent. What a dreamy experience to hold my Honey by the fire with the rain pouring down and hear her happy sighs as the stress of a busy week just melted away.

 

IMG_3122
Boots kicked off and ready to relax!

Here is the trail talk from yesterday

Here is her wardrobe wisdom

Here is the recipe for a romantic day hike

Recipe for a Romantic Day Hike

IMG_3055
Come on Honey, let’s go!

Here is an actual list for a chilly fall day hike and the concept description—kinda like a recipe.

Warmth—stocking cap, base layer shirt, loose mid layer, jacket, rain gear, hiking pants, silk socks, smart wool socks, hiking boots, gloves.

Light—small pocket flashlight and solar charger with flashlight.

Fire—lighter, wind proof matches, starter block, kindling, eight sticks of fire wood (starter and firewood less than $8 at Kroger).

First Aide—first aide kit, emergency blanket, Tylenol etc.

Food—protein bars, Mountain Home Chili Mac with Beef, Jetboil, fuel, long handled spoon, large bowl to hydrate food, Nalgene bottle with measurement markings, paper towel, bowls and spoons, tea, honey, cups.

Navigation—directions to the park, GPS app in phone—Map My Run, back up solar charger for phone, map of park, detailed directions I typed out for each trail.

Hygiene—Sunglasses, tissues, paper towels to clean up before and after meal, hand sanitizer, emergency toilet paper.

Hydration—2 Liters of water each, day pack with bladder, filter just in case, water for cooking, water to put out the fire.

Memories—plenty of space for pics in phone memory and camera, blankets for the fire, pillows, stadium chairs, beach cabana for the fire.IMG_3084

Day hike concept—Sleep in a little, have our quiet time together with God, pack and drive to the trail head. Pick up fire wood on the way and get to trail about 11:00. Leave the meal and fire time supplies in the car and hike for a couple of hours. I wrote out some directions to a new trail that is not well marked…we’ll see how well I did. If it is short, we will explore and do some more miles. When we finish the hike and return to the truck, I’ll start a fire in the shelter fireplace. We’ll take a lot of pictures all day. I picked a shelter that has a short wall all the way around so that if it is windy we can sit on blankets in front of the fire out of the wind. We’ll make a late lunch using the Jetboil to heat water and rehydrate our meal. Then we will fix our tea and snuggle by the fire until we feel healed enough from the rushing demands of the week. Will douse the fire and head back home. Maybe we’ll get back in time for another game in the World Series.

An Easy Teaser Hike Whets the Appetite

IMG_2809Today, we were to start a one or two night adventure on the trail. Early in the week we made a change because that “time of the month” came early(staying flexible is critical, guys). My honey is exhausted so we picked a seriously scaled down event. One with a short distance, flat terrain, smooth surfaces, near a bathroom, ending with a restaurant meal, a Royals baseball game and good sleep in our own bed at home. (She’s from Kansas City and they are about to win the ALCS!) So I settled in ready to enjoy this time outdoors with her and moved my expectations of something bigger further out in my mind.

The hike was amazing! We hiked for 2.5 hours around Radnor Lake in our city and the trees were beautiful. We took lots of pictures of the lake and the colorful leaves. The temperature was a perfect mid 70 degrees, no rain in sight and more importantly, we were together. We saw lots of turkeys, a turtle, lots of chipmunks and several deer shelling acorns with their teeth.

IMG_2837To my delight, she said, “this is so pretty it really makes me want to go next weekend”. She went on to explain that this beauty, easily found, made her realize that she loves this so much it will be worth some hardship next weekend to see more of it. The plan is to spend two nights and most of three days hiking and camping in almost back country style.

IMG_2816I could have been irritated that we were being so domestic. We were passing lots of people; we were on asphalt part of the time and the location of the trail was so “remote” that we had to wait in line for a parking spot. If I had let my heart go there, I would have missed the magic of being with my bride. The experience of hearing her laughter and enjoying the perfectly timed kiss.  Please don’t miss what it right in front of you. Don’t be so focused on missing the grander adventure that you miss what will really make you happy too.IMG_2787