In honor of the ending of 2018 and the beginning of a New Year, I thought I would share an accomplishment I am very proud of. I didn’t actually set out on this at the beginning of the year, rather it came to me probably about half-way in when I realized I had hiked on this same trail system every calendar month so far at that point. And I decided to make it a point to continue to see this little neck of woods at least once every month throughout 2018. And with a hike just the other day, I made good on my goal!
Where, you ask? Well, it is a trail system easily accessible from Tussey Mountain near State College, PA. The trailhead connects to several different trails heading several different ways throughout Tussey Mountain, Rothrock State Forest, and Bear Meadows Natural Area, to name a few! This past January was the first time I ever stepped foot on any of these trails (believe it or not as it is so close to where I live!) And they came to be a great way for me to easily get out and enjoy Nature while keeping myself in good backpacking shape throughout the year! Galbraith Gap to the Lonberger Path to Three Bridges (out and back) to Spruce Gap, up to the Mid-State Trail became a sort of 3-5 mile, 800-1,100 foot elevation ascent/descent Mantra for me over the changing Seasons depending on how far I would explore each hike.
Of the 184.9 logged miles I hiked/backpacked this year, almost 72 of them came on these trails. I just got done compiling 12 of my favorite moments, one to represent each month (and trust me, for more months than not, this was not an easy task for me!) Choosing one for each month just doesn’t seem to do justice to all the diversity and beauty I saw just within a 5 mile stretch of forest and mountain. I can confirm, though, that this excercise is an amazing way to begin truly recognizing Nature’s constant, changing (sometimes drastic and sometimes ever so subtle) Life Cycle. I could go on for quite some time about things I would notice day to day or week to week or month to month...
Instead, I’ll just close by saying 2018 has been full of both accomplishments and “wish I could have done’s,” but overall I take a lot of good learned lessons from the year and I look to 2019 to grow and build on those, as I set my sights on many new adventures! Ok, you may look at the pictures now... a few of which you just may see in the future as actual photographs ;-)
I hope everyone’s Holiday Season has been truly brilliant and wishing a Happy New Year to you all!
Howling at January’s Cold, Super Moon
Deep in a February Snow Storm
Admiring a Brilliant March Sunset After Fresh Snow
Damp, Earthy, Fresh April Fog
Vibrant Spring Green in May
Summer Solstice Evening Light on June’s Lush Green Forest and Mountain Laurel
Teeming Mid-Summer Forest with Rhododendron Blooms and Fireflies about to Glow in July
Blazing, Yet Waning Summer Sunset on the Forest in August
September’s Still Lush, but Slowly Fading Forest
Autumn’s Hues Aglow in the October Setting Sun
A Stunner Still Remains Amongst the Falling November Leaves
Clinging Snow in Higher Elevations on an Evergreen Lined December Pathway