Friday, December 31, 2010

Starting the Florida Trail, see you in 2 moths!


Hello Friends and Family

I am leaving in a couple of days to start my hike of the Florida Trail. I am super excited to be starting! The Florida Trail goes from Florida City to near Pensacola, approximately 1200 miles and it should take about 2 months.

You might be asking yourself..."Why would anyone do that!" My only answer is that I believe that being around nature has made me a better person. I have learned to love better, to be patient, to appreciate the simple things in life, to appreciate my family, amongst a few.

I just finished my masters degree and this was the last time that I would have the time to have another "adventure"...smile. My friend Natalie is coming with me which is GREAT and we are meeting up with Chuck Norris and Friends on the hike which is going to be great. I will keep you posted.

Bridgette

-Brighty

Thursday, September 30, 2010

No Seriously...I am back...




Ok all, I am really going to be better about updating this. I am coming up to a bunch of changes in my life as I am finishig my masters in a couple weeks and then am going to be settling down somewhere:) Somewhere with mountains:) I am open to suggestions.

I have been plugging along in school, learning a ton about myself and the person I want to be in the world. I have learned the power of love more and more as I try to become better. I have come to realize how much change in my happiness and what I accomplish is up to me because often issues I have are because of my own perceptions and issues. It is very eye opening.

I cannot possibly update you all on all in my life but will b able to start from today. The pictures above are my sweet little niece Faye, she might be the most adorable and heavenly think on the plant. The middle one is me, a dear friend Jessica from MA and Sarah my older sister. Jes came to visit and this was the last day she was here. She is a great time and a great person. The left one is a picture of my roomie and our friend Steven:) he came over and she and I cooked him a vegan meal...it was AWESOME!!

A quick recap on what I am doing now are listed below:) If you want to hear more about any one thing in particular, comment and I will add an entry.
  • I am tying out being Vegan:) It is great...really changed te way I see allot of things:)
  • Met some great guys lately...mums the word:)
  • I am planning on starting the Appalachian Trail over in the summer but that is up in the air.
  • I am trying to find someone who wants to hike a couple months on the Florida Trail...anyone interested?...smile...
  • I am looking at where I want to move when I graduate...in the running...Denver, Ashville, Atlanta, Washington D.C. or Boston.
I am planning on going on a road trip as my grad present to myself so I might be coming to visit some of you, my friends:) I am also going to start taking dance classes at the Performing Arts Center starting next month...hip hop and flamenco:) I am also going to take Rowing Classes because I would love to join a crew team wherever I move...More info to come:)

I cannot think of anything else right now. I will keep posting and try to keep it only the interesting stuff in my life:)

Always
Bridgette

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

I AM BACK!!!!




This has been a long time coming and I am so sad that I have gotten so behind on my blogging and journaling. It seems like at the times where I am having the most significant things happening in my life is when I do not find time to write in my journal/blog.

I have had a very eventful two months. I had been struggling with big decisions about school, where I will live when I graduate and finding a full time job this coming semester. In the end I am still not sure where I will live when I graduate, I am not staying at my graduate assistantship as I need a full time jobs pay and benefits, and I made it through my semester with all A’s. This was hands down the most challenging semester of my schooling to date. It was not just the material in school, but the time to accomplish the hundreds of pages of reading and papers while not ever forgetting or mixing up my priorities. It was the strain of work, group meetings, studying, church obligations, quality time with friends and family etc… and INSOMNIA for 1 and ½ months. In the end I have survived and am trying to get my sleep back to its “happy place.” I am looking forward to my final semester and trying out the next leg of my journey.

There are more in-depth things that have happened that I wish I went into when they happened but will go over them briefly below.

New Roommate.

In May, Michelle May moved into our old roommate and friends room. She has been a great roommate, friend, and sister. What amazes me about Michelle is that she wants to give as much of her friendship and love that you can take. It was nice to find someone else who was willing to take the risk of rejection or difficulty in friendship. She and I will always be friends. The greatest friends I have are ones whose relationship is completely honest and safe. They are relationships where we love each other enough to honest and encourage each other and where you are always confident that you are dear to each other enough to work out the kinks in a friendship. She is that type of friend and I am thankful to have her as my sister. I have learned a lot about myself this summer.

New Niece

My sister had her sweet little baby. The doctor had told her through all her visits and sonograms that she was having a boy and then when she was having the baby and it came out, the doctor said, “OOPS” because it was a GIRL!!! So funny. I could not be happier. She is little angel and seeing her made me think even more differently about my life and what I want. I am trying to continue to be better…a better friend, daughter, human being…but all this leads up to my desire to have a family someday I look forward to building a relationship with my husband; loving him and supporting him and learning from him. I look forward to the safety found in finding your mate for eternity and the ultimate peace it seems to give. That is my ultimate goal and so I am working towards that indirectly I guess. I like learning in school and about people and I hope that my efforts here will help me be a good mother and wife someday.

I really have the best people in my life. I have people in my life who let me love them and give me more than I could ever want in return. I love the feeling of safety and acceptance that I feel with my friends and family. Thank you all.


Bridge

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Back to the grind...


I am back in Tampa after my adventure of driving a Penske moving truck with my friend Suzanne.

Here is the background information. Suzanne French and I have been friends for a while. I trust her and love her as much as you can for a dear friend. She is getting married to Anthony Hildoer on June 11th but Anthony moved out to Colorado 6 months ago and so Sue needed to get her stuff and his out there before their wedding. Anthony could not have time off since he has not earned Paid time off yet and so I said that I would goJ Road trip!!!

We left after I got out of class early on Thursday May 20th at 8:30pm on route to Denver CO. I have never driven past the east coast and have only been away from the East Coast 2 times, once for the MTC and once to drive around the Grand Canyon. Needless to say I was excited to be on a road trip with such a dear friend, a new challenge, and spend 3 days seeing the countryside of the Midwest and west.

Can I say that Kansas is Beautiful!!! We were driving in the afternoon looking out on clear blue skies with the tall plains grass waving the in wind. I looked out and it looked like a green ocean, oscillating and waving to the wind. I was thinking about what it would sound like if what I was seeing could be made into music. One thing I know is the song would have been calming and mesmerizing which is how it felt to me.

To be fair just in case Suzanne is reading this, driving through Kansas was a little tense at first. The wind was exceptionally strong 20-30 MPH. We stopped at a remote gas station and the attendant said “watch out for trucks because if one is empty that it could turn over in these winds…” We are like…great… The drive was comprised of one of us driving with both hands on the wheel, white knuckled, ram rod strait, looking forward, all to keep control because the wind would just send a particularly strong gust that would make you drive off the road if you were not ready. Even with that said, Kansas and our time driving through it was amazing. We met really nice people like a police officer who pulled me over at night and told us our tail lights were out…and rusty who fixed the lights (Penske tech), the stake and shake guy, and the hotel clerk. People in Kansas are great.

We got to the suburbs of Denver at 7pm and unloaded the truck with the help of people from Sue and Anthony’s new ward and then settled in. The evening and Sunday were relaxed. We went to church and then went for a long drive through the mountains…I saw snow on the mountains and we were going to hike up a trail and as we were heading up we heard multiple gun shots so we changed plansJ

Anthony was an excellent tour guide who drove us downtown in Denver and I fell in love with the city. It is a mixture of REI and Bohemia. There is music and little shops. There are bikes rushing by and people lying on the grass in the parks eating a picnic. It is clean and fun and happy. I love the downtown and then to have a people that embrace challenging themselves and enjoying the outdoors is amazing. I am definitely open to Colorado being a future home. We shall see.

I am glad to be back in Tampa and catch up on thing that I am behind in and look forward to seeing many happy years of my dear friends Suzanne and Anthony marriage.

Love

Bridgette

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Appalachian Trail Hiking Adventures



Hello Everyone:)

This entry has been delayed some but here I am talking about one great experience while starting another. I am in the cab of a pensky moving truck on route to Colorado with one of the most dear friends I have in my life, Suzanne French. We are driving the truck with all her stuff to her and fiances new house there. They are getting married June 11th and so want to be settled before that. I will make a blog entry every day for this trip but this one will be dedicated to my hiking trip to Atlanta for almost 2 weeks ago.

So I love being outdoors, it is not that I do not have happy times doing non outdoors things because I have many memories that have no affiliation with being out on some nature adventure or challenge it is just such a peaceful happy time for me every time. It is my experience that every time I have gone hiking, biking, kayaking etc...I have a great memory attached. It could be rainy and cold but when you get to camp or the top of the mountain or a beautiful place on a river I can see past the bugs, pain and cold and just feel completely at peace. I think sometimes when I cm climbing up a mountain that it is never going to end, then I tell myself that there has to be...someday...and then sometimes when I get to the top it is the most intense feeling of accomplishment and I can look out at the round tree topped mountains around me, with the warm sun on my face and smile with happiness.

So my trip this time to go hiking was different because I was getting met by a friend Mariah Turner. I have never been hiking in the mountains with a friend...most people are not interested in hiking for a week or do not have the time. I love the thinking time but it was great to hike with a friend:) Mariah is a person who does not view something as challenging as automatically something that will not be fun, or happy or fulfilling. It is one of my favorite qualities she has.

I met some amazing people this time around also, a woman, Becky who was hiking for 2 weeks on the AT without her husband this time. An amazing woman. We met and felt life we were always friends:)

I will write later about my current road trip.

Love
Bridgette

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Beach...Study...Study...Kayak...Study...Do you see the pattern?

Hello

Well, I am back. I would like to say that I have been so busy doing fun stuff that I have not had time to update my blog, Alas it is not so. I have had a great time, but much of my weekdays have been occupied with grad school. I have a couple of projects that take about 100 hours to complete between research and the 130 page paper…not kidding.

I did get to go with my friend Tiffany to the beach for a couple of days, near Tarpon Springs FL. It was beautiful outside it was nice to just relax at the beach with my friend. I read some and just kept my eyes closed. I do love everything about the beach but the sand.

Next weekend some friends and I are going on a kayaking trip. On the gulf of Mexico in the Everglades Region you can rent kayaks and then kayak in the Gulf of Mexico camping on little sandbar islands. It is amazing. I will put pictures up when I get back.

What else…mmm…I am almost done with this semester and then I will really feel like I am almost done with grad school. My classes end on November 14th and then I graduate in December. YAY!!! I am also studying for the GRE in case I want to go get my PhD. I am not sure about that but I am trying to keep my options open.

I hope all of you who read this leave me comments so I know how you are. If you have a blog let me know and I will log on and keep update with your lives.

More to come on school I am applying to and any new adventures that come my way.

Love
Bridgette

Friday, March 12, 2010

MY NEW BLOG for "MY Learning Club"

Hello All

This is a quick entry. I just finished a new blog I have dedicated to a club I just started with my friend Mariah dedicated to a search for knowledge and a desire to learn with the purpose of understanding the world better and those things in it.

We will meet every other week and I will post the papers we each write on the selected topics. The first topic was Homeopathy and Herbalism. We are open to idea for topics.

On the left side of the blog is the who what where why how and when of the club. On the right side is a list of topics which we will be studying.

The blog address is www.listenteachlearn.blogspot.com.

Thanks for all your support.

Bridgette

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Diligentia maximum etiam mediocris ingeni subsidium.

The title of this blog means "Diligence is a very great help even to a mediocre intelligence."

Hello All,

I am trying to be better about the blog. I am excited the semester is almost half over. Not as much because of the classes and exams...I really enjoy learning in college. I realize more and more what a privilege my ability to go to college has been. Really amazing to have a world of knowledge ready for the taking and the fact that with the great benefit of the learning it self comes a better opportunity when you get a job and a plethora of knowledge that will help me teach my kids someday.

I just went to lay outside and read and talk with my friend Mariah. She is open to new things and is always receptive to new thoughts and things like that. I had been thinking for a while about how I could get more out of learning. I fee like I get into the habit of doing well in school that I lose most of the purpose of learning. I get so focused on the A's in my class so that I will feel like me GPA will be high enough when I graduate and look for a job that I forget that the point of learning is to be able to understand the world and the people in it. Learning when really internalized helps increase my "knowledge vocabulary" so that I may better be able to articulate my thoughts or better understand what I may be able to do in my life, understand what God tries to tell me. I really do thing that knowledge help increase compassion. As I have learned more I have been humbled more since I feel how much more I need to learn.

I am babbling now...:) So I talked to Mariah about my new idea about learning better. I had just gotten done reading Benjamin Franklin Autobiography which was really interesting. The greatest thing I got from it, was my answer to get more out of learning. Ben Franklin would get together with friends and they would discuss topic or languages they wanted to understand better. They would pick a topic and then get together each having researched the topic and then shared and discussed the topic at their last meeting. This helped me decide to find a friend or tow who wanted to get together once or twice a month to do the same. Maraih said she would love to and had been wanting to get more out of learning herself. We are both in graduate school. We are getting together at the park ever other Friday. This Friday we are going to prepare and research homeopathic remedies and herbs uses. I will post how it is going.

Love
Bridgette

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Reading books.

Good Morning,

Well, I have wanted to read more books for pleasure. The past semesters I have just read my scriptures and my text books as that was all the time I could give without sacrificing the spending time with people in my life. I have a partial list of books I have read, am reading, and want to read on Shelfari.com which is on the right column of my blog. I have tried to read for 30 min or so a day, the most recent one that I finished yesterday was, Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card. I loved it. It is a old sci-fi book but it blurred allot of lines; age, ethics, straight, etc... I felt myself asking myself what I thought about many situations in the book.

I thought I would attach this picture of Zakopane, Poland as I was fondly remembering my backpacking experiences and the many things I learned on my Europe expedition.

This is short, but needed to update:)

Bridgette

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Why do I let my life get so cluttered?

Friends

I ask myself, why is life so complicated sometimes? Then if I am sincerely asking the question and am really going to be honest with myself, most times if I feel my life is complicated it is me who does it...ie...too many activities or feeling pressure from others about what they think I should be doing with my time.

I have said this before but I think the reason that in the beginning trying out things that were intimidating to me or a little scary was fathomable to me and I pushed through the discomfort is because stepping outside of my comfort zone allowed me to look at my life in a raw way so I could take out the trash so to speak in my life, reorganize my life into a way to make much more sense, focus on a plan for my life and strengthen my relationship with Heavenly Father. For instance, when I was going on my mission, I had petition Heavenly Father for strength, I had to get my life in order both physically and figuratively. I got my finances in order and worked to save money and re-assess my priorities. The list could go on and on. The end result of me doing what I knew was right for me but what was scary and hard was that I had a new beginning when I got back. An uncluttered start. The same went for when I wend backpacking in Europe, started college again, when hiking the Appalachian Trail, and started grad school.

Conclusion: On a small scale I am going to have to do a review so that I can do what is in my reach to change. I know that this will relive some of the clutter in my schedule and brain:) I am super happy in my life and per the last entry have a lot I want to accomplish but not at the expense of being able to appreciate my life and the people in it.

I have excellent people in my life who love me and make me laugh. SO thank you again to my loved ones.

I am open to suggestions about a new adventure in my life:) Let me know what your ideas are:)

Love
Bridgette

Monday, January 25, 2010

To All

I have started my new semester and am trying to adjust my life so can be as successful in what I am doing as possible while not forgetting my priorities...work in progress. I have 2 midterm exams next week which is nice because then I know that I only have half of this semester left!!!

I have some things that I want to learn and am trying to decide on the most important instead of trying to do them all. See the list below.
  1. Pick up the guitar again. I can play but I want to be able to pick more music instead of all strumming.
  2. Paint in watercolor
  3. Ballroom dancing
  4. Flexibility
  5. Improve volleyball skills
  6. Increase vocabulary and make sure I actually know the definitions of the words I use already:)
  7. Memorize some information I have compiled about authors, countries, culture, science etc...
Also I want to make sure that I make time to read a book every week. I study my scriptures and study my text books a lot, but I want to try to make time for literature if I can. Any good books you guys would like to suggest I am open:)

My sister Sarah is pregnant, 3 month along I think. She and Jordan are going to do a great job. This is them to the left. I am so excited for them:)

Also my friends and I are starting to play volleyball again. It has been like 6 months I think since we did it regularly. We started last week and it was great to be with all my old friends again. I really know some of the best people. Well, love you guys.

Bridgette

Monday, January 18, 2010

When the student is ready, the master appears.













My Dears,

Why is the trip home always feel so much longer than the trip going? I felt like the drive from GA was twice as long...I did get to finish the Hobbit by J. R. Tolkien on my rest stops:) On to the next book. I am going to try to make some time to read even though school started.

In the first picture on the left you will see Brenda and Tom. They are a 60 year old couple who just retired as professors at a university in Alabama and started their thru-hike on the Appalachian Trail Jan.1st. They we so interesting. Everyone in their lives thought they were crazy but they prepared as best they could and then moved forward as it was what they wanted to do. They are taking it one day at a time and enjoying the journey. I am excited for them and will keep an eye on their Trail Journal (http://www.trailjournals.com/entry.cfm?id=288300).

Just being on the trail a couple of days reminded me of what a challenge it is to climb the GA mountains especially and how much love and support I send to those starting. I am different these 9 month later and I wonder what it would be like to start my hike again and pending any disasters make it to Khatadin. That thought is for another day:)

It was a peaceful Sunday which is always a great Sunday to have. I did not go hiking yesterday as it was the Sabbath. I headed home in the late afternoon with the intent to stop at the brown historical signs I saw as I headed home. I found this state park off the interstate just south of Atlanta. It was a dammed river that had a falls which you see behind me. Outside the visitors center/registration office I sat on an Adirondack style swinging bench and read and listened to the water. It was calming and nice to get out of the car into the breeze even though it was a little chilly.


It is good to be home, I feel happy to be home. This is where I am supposed to be. It is a great experience to step out and do something that although is difficult, the experience trumps all. The quote in the title of this entry is a old Eastern proverb and it is so true. To go hiking makes me simplify my life. All I need is on my back. I am walking where I need to go. There are few distractions so my mind is free to think about those things I have gotten to busy to ponder. That is why I like the quote. I am open to learning when I go, these time on trails Heavenly Father comes to me in my heart and mind and opens up answers to questions I have had and shows me questions I did not know I had. Amazing!!!

Thanks for all your support you guys:)

Bridge (AKA) Brighty...my old trail name:)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

A little rainy, a little cold, a lot of fun, and a lot scary.

Hello All,

What a good day. As you can see in the pictures it is a little gray out but it was still beautiful. I left the hostel this morning and headed to Neel's Gap, which is a old store and hostel that has been there for 120 year I think. All the people that work there have hiked the trail and have all the know-how that a hiker would need as they were starting their hike. I went into the outfitters and chatted with some ole friends from the summer and then headed for a 4 hour hike to blood mountain and beyond...it was so peacful and lovely.

As I was hiking up the trail I was thinking about a lot of things, talking to myself really:) I am sure if someone passed by that I did not see they would be thinking "that girl is talking to hereself...she looks normal enough but obviously is not all there..." Too funny:) Anyways, as I continued to hike I was feeling a little lonely, wanting someone I loved to be hiking with me, the feeling came on me all of a sudden. I think it is okay when that happens because it made me think of all of you that I love that I would love to have with me in the great experience I was having. I have learned a great many things doing these "adventures" as you all would call them both alone and with friends, but the times I have been with people I cared about brought the most joy. So to all of you that I have spent time with somewhere in nature...thank you:) Also as I was hiking and passed a Appalachian Trail shelter i closed my eyes and could almost here that laughter and rumblings of old trail friends and memories from 9 months ago. I stood in the same place where I camped and laughed with a melting pot of people less than a year ago. A wave of nostalgia washed over me like a ocean wave. Such good memories, bitter sweet.

When I got back to Neel's Gap I headed out to hike another trail...this was my adventure of the trip. I have my mother GPS with me and typed in where I needed to go, everything was fine, I was traveling down nice country roads and then I went down this little road and then it ended...a dirt road. I looked at the GPS and it said that I would be on the road for 2 miles and it was graded so on I went. I should have backed up right when I saw that dirt road but I didn't and so the fearful trip began for me. I was on this road for about 2 miles and then the road got worse...much worse. Great rocks in my path, muddy holes, sheer cliff edges. I kept looking at m GPS and taking turn after turn with each the road got more nightmarish worse. I heard rocks scraping the bottom of my car, I smelt the rubber from my tires through mud holes trying not to get stuck, I heard my car bottoming out as I went over bumps. Keep in mind that I was not going 20 miles and hour, I was going 2mph...it took me an hour to go 5 miles. I had gone 6 miles of terrane I am blessed to have made it through and the GPS said that I was 5 miles from a proper road. I had two choices, go back the way I came and I was sure my car would give up the fight or move forward. I do not know how many of you have seen my truly terrified and completely freaking out because of it? I hope none of you, not because I would have been embarrassed that I was hysterically crying as I am in the forest road, mountain, obstacle course but because you would see in my face complete helplessness and fear mixed with terror. I can chuckle a little about this now as I am writing you.

I kept my head as much as I could knowing that my car was going to get stuck on this God forsaken road and I would have to hike my way out and probably bump into Bubba and Buffort the brothers who live in the mountains. This prospect made me pray to Our Heavenly Father for the ability to keep my head and help me off this mountain and if I got stuck that he would help keep me safe. In the spaces of me singing church hymns to quell my crying I thought only of calling my sweat mother. Not because she would be able to help me get out of my predicament but because she was the first and only person I thought of to bring me peace at this time. I called that good woman and after she understood through my sobs that I was okay physically, stayed on the phone with me the whole rest of the hour it took me to make it to the road...and I did make it to the road, thanks to my mother and Heavenly Father hearing my prayer. Now any of you who make fun of my car...and I do understand that its many idiosyncrasy make it easy to find fodder but after today's ordeal the Honda has earned some new respect from me:)

Anyways. That was my day. I am not sure where I am headed tomorrow. I met a couple that are 60 years old, Brenda and Tom from Alabama who started their through hike this month. I am so excited for them. The just retired from being professors at Auburn I think in Applied Chemistry and Biochemistry. I will post the link to their trial journal if you guys are interested. Well I am bushed. Love you guys.

Bridgette

Friday, January 15, 2010

"The road diverged in a narrow wood"











The pictures above from left to right are me on route to Georgia Thursday, Amacalola Falls, the trail, and me at The Hiker Hostel tonight.

Hello All,

I had such a great day...did you all pray that I would have the best possible weather while I am in GA? Thank you if you did:) It worked.

I left Tampa in the late morning and headed to Georgia. I stopped by the Hildoer's (Anthony Hildoer's parents) house just outside of Atlanta. I spent the night there and laughed all night with Lourdes, Anthony's mom. I left there this morning and headed to Amacalola Falls with is north of Atlanta, it is where the approach trail is for the Appalachian trail. It is a beautiful place. When you start the 8 mile all uphill hike you are confronted with a 700 stair steep climb to the top of Amacalola Falls, when you get tot the top you are rewarded with a breathtaking view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. After that I headed towards Springer Mountain. I feel like with was so long ago that I started the Appalachian Trail but I remembered how hard it was at the beginning and was happy to see that hiking farther that I had my first day on the trail today with a significant change in effort. It made the hike so much more enjoyable.

I know that this entry is completely boring but I am sleepy:) I will post more updates and pics tomorrow night if I am not camping.

Bridgette

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Going to GA! These eyes will see the Appalachian Trail again.


Hello All

I am excited to be going on the trail again. I have 6 days off starting tomorrow...YAY!!! As I am thinking about the drive tomorrow up to Georgia, looking through my old trail pictures and had a welling up of love like a lump in my throat and I say to my self still in awe of the strength of the experience, "that was one of the happiest and genuinely happy time in my life.

The picture is a picture of some friends from the trail at Fontana Dam right before the Smokies. I have more of these than I can say. Pictures of other thru-hikers from all over, different backgrounds and varying personalities all looking disheveled and tired but happy, at peace, thoughtful. hiking the Appalachian Trail is probably the most challenging I can think of doing. not just the physical part, hiking 2200 miles in 5months, but the mental and emotional part. Some days you are so tired that the idea of continuing the trek is inconceivable. Then you get to a shelter or camp with fellow hikers, who are just as tired, they hiked the same path you had and you sit and eat and laugh...sometime cry and help each other to make it the next day. The unity that I felt and saw formed was a unity I have never seen in my life. A love that transcends all boundaries is formed because all after a while have been humbled by the mountains.

I think when you start your 5-6 month hike you have already been humbled some by the preparations of travel, the doubt in yourself and the feedback from loved ones. You get to Springer your first day and have no idea of the profound change that is coming for you on that little path through the mountains, a change where you will never be the same.

To be able to challenge yourself in anything and achieve what you do not imagine possible is so beautiful experience and then to not make that journey alone like I though I would when I headed to GA on my own. I met guys that made me laugh until I could not breathe. I met people who's kindness and optimism made me hopeful. I met trail angels that convince you there is still so much service and humanity in this land. Most of all there was not one day that I did not feel the love of God with me. It took me a while to figure out why that was, it was like I was on my mission again accept there was no urgency and pressure that comes with such a weight call, just peace in looking around at the mountains and trees and animals and friends.

Like I said I am excited to go back for a couple days. I do not expect it to be the same as few people will be on the trail this early but I will have a smile on my face as I hike thinking about those memories last year.

Love
Bridgette

Monday, January 4, 2010

These are the days.



Hello All


Where to start. I love the outdoors. There is something that is freeing and comforting about doing activities outside, like hiking and camping. You carry everything you need with you, taking your day slow, listening to sounds that you normally are going to fast to appreciate. You have a chance to ponder what is going on in life right now. Really give yourself time to reflect. I love it. What makes that experience different but great is doing some outdoor activity with friends. This past weekend, some friends, Summer Anderson, Latoya Bell, Josh Peel, and Jeff Pope went camping in Ocala National Forest. What a funny and great time.


The Plan: (very rough estimate, we were all pretty flexible)

Meet at the church at 7am on January 1st, 2010

Head to Ocala and start hiking by 10ish

Hike 14 miles to camp site and camp

Leave camp site in the morning sometime and hike back to the car

Head back home by 5pm


Reality:

All of us were late to varying degrees. Jeff at 7:15, me at 7:20, Summer and Latoya at 8ish, and Josh at 8:30ish.

Josh was snoozing for a half hour before he woke up to my knocking on his door...very funny.

Got on the road to Ocala at 9ish and then stopped for breakfast, so on the interstate at 9:30am.

Got to Ocala at 12 after many detours and adventures down back-country dirt roads we parked at a trail head that was different than the original planned

Stretched, unloaded gear and figured out new hiking goal and campsite.

Into the woods by 1:30pm

Hiked until 4:30pm

Stopped at Farles Lake Camp site which is a campsite 5ish miles from where we parked (Hunting campground)…men with guns

Left camp at 11 or noon the nest day

Got back to the car by 3

Drove and ate at a BBQ place that was great.

Got home at 8pm


You can look and see the vast difference in the two schedules which provided many very funny experiences along the way none of which are regreted. The four people I traveled with were each in their own way a breath of fresh air. Some quite, others introspective, others quick to laugh, and others extremely gentle.


Did I mention that it was raining all morning on Jan 1st…and it was cold. It was funny because spirits dropped as the weather got worse but we endured. After we roused Josh from his sleep and glowered at him for getting 2 hours more sleep than the rest of us…smile…we got on the road and had a funny but uneventful couple hours of driving. The funny things that happened on our way and during the whole weekend could not fairly be put up on the blog but there were more than 10 times where I was laughing for 10 minutes strait… Those of you who know me well know when something hits my funny bone I can laugh for a while and struggle to breathe the whole time. Truly a great time. We live on an amazing planet!!!


Conclusion:

The camping trip with my friends is one that I will treasure in my memory for a long time. I am so thankful for the positivity and fun I had with my friends and feel a love that runs deep for them.


Bridgette