What We’ve Been Doing:

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Life: is that grand thing that keeps flying by me! I’ve been planning and executing our day trips and trying to finish up buying the needed gear for our first trip out! This is a daunting task for me. I am a first time backcountry hiker myself and so I keep checking and re-checking what is absolutely needed for everyone.

Here is a short “catch up” of what we have done in the past few months!

We went to West Virginia, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia and Florida in the month of February. We visited lots of National Parks and Monuments and a few State Parks. The trip was about 3 week and was filled with lots of learning!

Everglades National Park and Big Cypress Preserve, FL,

They were AMAZING. The rangers were attentive and helpful teaching us about the habitats and animals near and around the welcome centers. I would highly recommend the trip across Alligator Alley to see this amazing ecosystem. Our hikes here were less than a mile at each stop but they were event filled. Should we ever have more than a day in the area a backcountry trip would be well worth it.

Fort Matanzas National Monument, FL:

This was an ok stop. I was disappointed that the ferry was out of service and the rangers were not as helpful as we had become accustomed too. Abbie finished her ranger badge and we were able to take a 1/2 mile hike. I would not return to this location. **One neat note the meaning of this monument is slaughter** That is what the kids took away from it!! 🙂

South Mountain State Park, NC

This was my absolute favorite stop on our trip. We did the High Shoals Falls hike which we found quite challenging. The stairs kicked our hiney and our backpacks felt super heavy. The falls were amazing and the visitor center was very well done for a state park! We had a picnic after our long hike and the facility there was very welcoming and clean. I had no idea NC had state parks that offered so many backcountry sites and amenities. We are looking forward to going there sometime in the near future! #ncstateparksrock

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Zaleski State Forest and Lake Hope State Park, OH:

These are some of Ohio’s finest locations for good hiking. We saw a few people but not a lot. Those are bonuses for us! Zaleski offers some great backcountry hiking trails with water at the sites. Matt and I checked those out and feel this will be a good place to do some “practice” before we head outwest. I was very impressed with our time there.

Hocking Hills State Park, OH,

Who doesn’t love Hocking Hills?!?! We certainly do! I am always falling back in love when we go here. Cedar Falls to Old Man’s Cave hike is about 6.5 miles round trip and we found it to be challenging and beautiful. It was just what we were looking for. We are planning another trip down there tomorrow and I hope to write a more detailed blog post about it after that trip.

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We’ve hiked Battelle Darby Metro Park twice and Highbanks Metro Park 2 times and we’ve also went to Blues Creek Preserve for a quick 1.5 mile hike to try out some new packs.

We’ve also hit the REI garage sale on March 18th and the Eddie Bauer Outlet and the packs are almost 90% done. We can’t wait to get out backcountry camping in Ohio as soon as we can. We would go out now if we had the proper equipment to sleep in the more cool-ish weather. Just a few more degrees up and we will be ready.

Happy Hiking!

Brandy

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