Recap of 2016 | outdoor adventures

I’m late on this blog post, I know! But since I didn’t update the blog much in 2016, I wanted to recap some of my favorite outdoor adventures.

Cabretta Beach and Sapelo Island

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Kayaking to Black Beard Island from Sapelo
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Cabretta Beach on Sapelo Island

My first trip of the year was early in January, and in the spirit of the New Year, it was for a great cause! I was selected as a trip leader for Georgia Conservancy’s Stewardship Trip to Cabretta Beach on Sapelo Island.
Read my adventure here on RootsRated.


White Grass Ski Touring in West Virginia

outdoor adventures
Cross country skiing at White Grass Ski Touring Area

outdoor adventures
The week after Valentine’s Day, Rob and I took a long road trip (10 hours!) to West Virginia to try cross country skiing for the first time.

We found White Grass Ski Touring Area in the Canaan Valley of West Virginia. This is a great place for beginners, with 60km of trails including an easy gentle sloping trail that we mainly skied on. Gear rental is budget-friendly at only $20 for gear and a $20 area usage fee.

The week before our trip, the region experienced s blizzard but when we arrive the weather was 60 degrees and sunny. The only snow was packed man-made snow on the cross country ski path. We only skied one day because by the end of the day even the man-made snow was melting!

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Seneca Caverns
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Blackwater Falls

We took advantage of exploring the area’s cavern tours at Seneca Caverns, and we took a snowy hike through Blackwater Falls State Park.
I’m pretty experienced with downhill skiing, but this was Rob’s first go on skis. At 6’4” he finally learned to get low in order to stay more balanced.


Assault on BlackRock Trail Race in North Carolina

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At the summit of the race, all was foggy
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3rd place in Assault on BlackRock

My first trail race of the year was in March and proved to show just how out of shape I was! The Assault on BlackRock trail race in Sylva NC was only 7 miles but gained 2,770 feet of elevation over the first three miles. The race traveled on the Pinnacle Park trail to the ridge line of the Plott Balsams. But it was the last ⅓ of a mile was the most challenging.. I was forced to grab tree branches and crawl on my hands and knees up the steep slopes and slippery rocks. My goal for the race was to finish under 101 minutes to win a belt buckle for the 101 Challenge. I succeeded and finished 3rd female overall, with seconds to spare!


Jackson County, North Carolina and Jacksonville, Florida

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April was a busy work month for our media trips at my PR job, and I got to travel to Jackson County, NC and Jacksonville, FL to lead groups of media on outdoor adventure trips. I hiked to waterfalls and sampled craft beers in NC and surfed and kayaked in FL. Check out our experiences via a social media story on Storify.

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Surfing in Jacksonville’s Atlantic Beach

Highlands, North Carolina

The cycling is beautiful in Western North Carolina. Rob and I rode a few days of gravel and mountainous terrain on country roads in Highlands, North Carolina. We went up with some friends for Memorial Weekend, and we explore the many waterfalls that are located off Highway 60. If you are ever up in Highlands, make a visit to Sunset Rock. It’s a short hike to the summit, where you’ll have an epic view of the surrounding North Carolina Mountains. It’s nicknamed Sunset Rock because its an ideal spot to watch the sunset.

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Cycling with Whiteside Mountain in the background.
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Sunset Rock
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A view of Dry Falls.

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3 Gap 50 Cycling Ride

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My 3 Gap partners, Rob and his friend Ben.

By late summer I had built up my cycling mileage, and as a rite of passage for a Georgia cyclist,I rode the front 3 gaps in North Georgia- Woody Gap, Neels Gap and Wolf Pen Gap.  To test my skills, I did the popular 3 Gap 50 in Dahlonega and finished in the top 25 females!

Strava


Hiking in Vegas

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Cheesy romance shot

Two of my very good friends got married in Vegas, not eloping but their families actually live there.. So Rob and I took advantage of hiking in two different Nevada parks: Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area and Valley of Fire State Park.

Hiking in the desert is much more difficult than the hardwood forests of Georgia. The trails, we discovered, we more ambiguous and not as well marked, but the views were so open that you could see the surrounding red canyons and mountains for miles.

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Red Rock Canyon

In Red Rock Canyon, we drove the 13-mile scenic loop to get a view of the whole park, before hopping out to hike one of the short desert trails.

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Valley of Fire

In Valley of Fire, they weren’t lying…the temperatures were hotter than 105 degrees! We drove the roads before doing a short 1mile hike on the White Domes Trail.


Paddle Boarding in Tampa, Florida

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Mastering side crow on the SUP board

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My parents moved to a new house on the water, and as a treat, my brother and I bought a stand-up paddleboard. I love it for a workout- it’s total body and works your core, arms, chest/back and even legs! An added benefit for balance is trying to do yoga on the board… it’s a little more challenging than you would think!


Epic Trip to Pacific Northwest!

Read all about it!

outdoor adventures


Battle for Black Rock Trail Race

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Finish line at Battle for Black Rock

For the second year I ran the 12 mile trail race for Battle for Black Rock in North Georgia at Black Rock Mountain State Park. The course is comprised of about 2,986 elevation gain.

By this time in the year, my training was on point and I was excited to see how I improved from the previous year, when I first ran the race.

I paced myself better going out on the course, which started with most of the course’s downhill throughout the first 4.5 miles. Instead of hammering too hard downhill and wrecking my quads, I went out easier and was able to run and hike more aggressively on the long uphill climbs.

I improved my time by 8 minutes and finished the race feeling much better physically than I did the previous year!

 

That’s a wrap for 2016! Here’s to more adventures in 2017!