3rd Time’s a Charm (and the 1st and 2nd…)

One of the things I heard repeatedly when I decided to attend Virginia Tech is that there are a lot of really cool outdoorsy things to do around here. While I haven’t really been an “outdoorsy” type person in the past, thanks to some key figures in my life, and some fun trail runs, I’ve begun to embrace the wonders of the outdoors. People like…

Bekah (right) and me

Bekah (right) and me

Bekah is one of my dearest friends from my last couple of years at Mississippi State. She is one of the few people in the world who could on a whim say “Missie, let’s do a trail run! Want to go 10 miles?” and make it sound like a good idea. Then, while on the run (my first trail run ever) I completely wiped out – face down on the ground – 5 miles away from all civilization and she said in the most chipper voice imaginable “Well it’s not really a trail run unless you fall down”. I’m fairly sure that there are only about 2 people in the world that could get away with saying anything at that point in time, but she’s one of them.

Heather (right) as we prepare to depart again Eric (left) on an exploratory mission

The pictures above are my cousins Eric and Heather Watts (they’re married). As far as convincing me to do some crazy trail runs, Heather comes in a close second to Bekah. Heather’s like one of the most hardcore people that I know, and one fateful December day, she said “You should fly out to Washington and do the Badger Mountain Challenge!” Further description from her explained that it’s a 50K trail run across 3 small mountains with a cumulative elevation gain of approximately 6,000 ft. And for some reason, knowing all of that, I signed up. The picture with Heather (top) shows me gearing up at about Mile 22 before we headed off to finish the race. I did finish the race, but not without a lot of help from Eric and Heather.

So far, my “outdoor adventures” have been kind of extreme for the novice that I am. Now that I’m in a place with a lot of trails and hiking and things that are a little bit easier, I’ve tried to take advantage of that. For some reason though, everyone seems to want to go to the same place – the Cascades.

About a 66' drop

The Cascades

Now I can totally understand why people always want to go there, because they’re lovely. They’re about 66′ tall, so they’re a lot bigger than they seem in that picture. If a person was to stand in front of the falls, the person would look like just a tiny little dot. It’s just under a 2 mile hike to the falls for a 4 mile round trip excursion. I’ve gone three times with 3 different groups and every time I never fail to be impressed with the grandeur. One day I’m hoping to actually swim in the water, but for now it is just too cold! I’ve also seen a picture of the falls totally frozen over – I will definitely try to see what that’s like!

HFES Group

This is a picture of the group that went yesterday. Marc, Ari, me, and Ninja (from left to right) made the trek as an excursion with Virginia Tech’s chapter of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society. It was a fun trip and I can’t wait to go again…or if I’m really crazy, maybe I will check out another hike in the area!

3 Comments

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3 Responses to 3rd Time’s a Charm (and the 1st and 2nd…)

  1. heatherocks

    Looks like you had a lot of fun this weekend. I’m sure the cascades is beautiful in the fall too!!

  2. jjohnn11

    Sounds like a great run… and even better friends!

  3. mgrossman

    Finding time to leave grad school behind and enjoy life is really important to maintaining your sanity and I love hiking as a way to get away from it all.

    Many people don’t know about Barney’s wall, it is a fabulous cliff/overlook above Cascades. It’s two miles up to Barney’s wall, so an added 4 miles to your hike. When you are going up the steps leaving Cascades, instead of turning left to go back to the parking lot, turn right. The trail is pretty well marked. And the overlook is so worth it.

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