It’s time to plan some adventures for 2018! I have come up with four bike tours for 2018. I hope to make all of them happen!
Steel City Loop
This is about an 82 mile loop around the city of Pittsburgh. It will incorporate the Montour Trail, Three Rivers Heritage Trail, the Great Allegheny Passage Trail, and a little road riding. I could do this all in one day, but I may make a two day ride so I can stop and sight see around the trail. I hope to do this in the early springtime, maybe April.
Ohio to Erie Trail
The Ohio to Erie Trail goes from Cincinnati to Cleveland, 326 miles. I am going to ride this in the spring quarter before it gets too hot here in Ohio. I don’t know yet how many days I will take or which direction I will bike.
North Bend Trail is a trail located in northern West Virginia, spanning from Parkersburg to Clarksburg, 72 miles. From what I have read, it’s a rather rough trail. I am planning on riding the fat bike on this trail.
I am planning on doing this in two days so I am not too rushed. Given that some of the trail has mud sections, I am planning on riding this trail in midsummer when the mud should be dried out.
Greenbrier River Trail
Greenbrier River Trail is in southern West Virginia, 78 miles long. It appears that the trail has been repaired after the big floods that occurred. This is more of a tentative plan, as the drive would be five or six hours to get to that corner of the state. But wouldn’t it be awesome to ride in October in the peak of fall foliage?
Any long bike trails you can recommend to me? Most of these are planned due to they are the closest to drive to, but I am always up for new ideas!
I knew December 20th was going to be a mild temperature day so I got myself out the door to hike a bit of the trail somewhat close to me, the Belle Valley section of the Buckeye Trail
Belle Valley Ohio
Belle Valley, Ohio, population 210 from the 2016 census. Very small village, with a gas station, two gun/hunting/fishing type stores, post office, bar. Belle Valley had its start when the Cleveland and Marietta Railroad was extended to that point. The Village of Belle Valley was incorporated in 1905.
I parked at Wolf Run State Park and walked west, thru Belle Valley to Valley Road, Township Road 60. I then retraced my steps back to the park where the off road section begins.
The North Country Trail Marker “temporary corridor” doesn’t look too temporary to me.
This section of the Buckeye Trail meanders around the western shore of Wolf Run State Park Lake. I guess that is it’s name? Yep, Wolf Run Lake, I just checked.
It’s a pretty trail, non technical, but with a bit of up and down as you follow the trail around the west side of the lake.
No More out and Backs for Me
I’m pretty grumpy this first half of the hike. All I know is I’m walking to Point 23, whereupon I’m going to turn around and go back the same way I came. Yes, the trail will look different coming from the other direction..but I’m still grumpy.
I get to the Group Camp area, which is Point 24, and debate going on. If I am serious about section hiking the Buckeye Trail, then that will be a section I will have to make up on another day…so I go on.
At the turn around, I get my water bottle out of my pack, and also eat my pear. This gives me a little cheer, and I am in a better mood on the way back to my vehicle.
I hiked about ten miles, it was a good day to be outside!
I am a bit behind have been keeping up with my Christmas Movie watching! Here are my reviews from Week One:
Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
I love it. I love the Claymation, the Bumble, the dogs that jump on Yukon Cornelius sleigh, Burl Ives singing. I love it all!!
Charlie Brown Christmas
Another special I love love love. It’s funny, even in 1964, the commercialization of Christmas was an issue. But Linus always slays with his monologue:
This movie was okay. Meh. A very young Juliette Lewis playing the daughter. I realize my husband drives like Clark Griswold! It was okay. I was wrapping a few presents, it was something different to view besides Property Brothers. Watch it again? Probably not.
The Santa Clause
This movie was pretty cute. I watched most of it while putting up my Christmas tree, so it helped both activities-decorating the tree and getting a bit into the holiday spirit. Would I watch it again? Probably not.
The Fun Scale, or Three Levels of Fun concept has been around the outside community for a long time. I first heard about the three levels of fun on The Dirtbag Diaries.
Level One Fun
Just a fun activity, you are having a good time doing it, no worries, like skiing, or running in the mountains. Just a cool day in the outdoors, normal fun stuff.
Having fun at the Black Hills 100K
Level Two Fun
Level Two Fun is being over your head and miserable. It really sucks being in the middle of it, but once it’s over (and didn’t turn into Level 3 Fun) it turns into a good story to be told. You kind of forget how badly it sucked.
My finish of the Wild Oak Trail 108 miler would be a good definition of Level Two Fun. An excerpt from my blog when the fun was Level Two teetering toward Level Three:
“Of course, I am getting colder and colder. I slip chemical handwarmers into my gloves, as I can’t feel my thumbs. But now my thighs are getting cold. My thighs never get cold, I can feel the cold on the outside. I’m getting genuinely concerned for my well being.”
“Everything hurt, mostly due I believe, to the calorie deficit, and the tense body contracted against the cold. I was so punch drunk from the sleep deprivation. I felt awful.”
But spoiler alert, Level Two Fun led to this..eventually: ” I felt more beat up mentally than physically. Jill mentioned “it was all between my ears” and perhaps, 95% of this event was for me. I’ve had several private mental reviews of the weekend so far. It’s amazing what you can do and what you perceive you CANNOT do. “
Level Three Fun
It’s not fun when it’s happening, you still aren’t laughing about it afterwards, and it’s still miserable to discuss. Level Three fun could possibly involve search and rescue, or becoming the subject for a case study. You don’t want to go there!
You think you can’t encounter Level Three Fun in your backyard? Think again. My Type Three Fun happened in my local state park:
“The mud on the trail was shoe sucking awful, so I decided to go off-piste. I follow a creek bed downhill. But my path is short lived, as the creek goes off a precipice.
I scrambled around the drop off and crawl back up the creek bank. This is fun until some logs are blocking the creek, and I have to hike through the greenery beside the creek.
I’m hiking through these plants, and realize my legs are on fire with little tiny stinging bites-all over! I realize I am covered in tiny bites! It feels like I am being bit by tiny bugs over and over again! It hurts enough that I want to cry!
Multi Flora Rose
I go up in the woods to escape the nettles. Now I am running into multi flora rose. This is where it all starts going south. I run into groves of multi flora rose bushes. Multi-flora rose is an invasive species, a perennial shrub. It can grown into impenetrable walls. Ask me. I tried to go through them.
I would follow a deer trail, which would then go through a thicket. Then I would try to find another way. I was frustrated and irritated. I was lost, yet I wasn’t. I was between the lake and the bridle trail. I was trying to get back to the trail, mud or not!! It was truly hideous. I was so irritated at myself, for getting stuck in this mess, for not bringing the compass (if I had the compass I could at least tell if I was wandering in circles). I tried to pretend this was good training for Barkley, good heat training. My legs were getting shredded. I had blood all over my legs.
I finally made it back to my vehicle. The legs are still warm and inflamed. It’s lucky I’m still on an antibiotic due to my teeth!”
That my friends, is Level Three Fun. It is now amusing to reread, a few years later, but it was never fun.
Do you have any Level Three Fun you are willing to share?
For some of us, it is the winter season in the United States. If you are not a skier, this may be considered the “off season”.
This is a good time to start dreaming and plan your next adventure.
Now is the time to write stuff down! Everything you can think of that you would like to do. Take an art class? Ride a Ferris Wheel? White water rafting? Visit a new park or city? Bike tour? Run a race? Here’s a cool list or try this list for some ideas.
Is this the year of big adventures? Will you travel to another country..or another state? Make a list of what NEW things you could encounter in a different town or city to try.
Is this not the time for a big long epic wildlife safari? Then it’s micro adventure time. But there still needs to be a bit of planning for these. Life does get in the way, let’s make sure adventure time happens too.
My 2018 List
My 2018 is going to be split between hiking and biking. I want to log more miles on the Buckeye Trail, and I want to take several biking tours. As I need a pair of boots that will last me the year, I’ll always take a look at a hiking boot guide to ensure I get a pair that are top quality and really comfortable!
Our big vacation this year will be visit the Caribbean island of Grenada, where lots of adventure will occur.
I meant to ride the Ohio to Erie Trail this past fall. I let life get in the way. I am not going to let this happen again! I’m going to ride from Cincinnati to Cleveland, or vice versa. This will happen in the first six months of 2018!
Other bike tour possibilities: Erie Canalway Trail; Katy Trail 237 miles. Shorter, but farther away.
Other Outside the Comfort Zone Adventures
Polar Bear Plunge? Karaoke? Karaoke after a polar bear plunge?
Keep your List Handy
Keep your 2018 Adventure List out in the open where you can see it. Then it won’t be suddenly August and you haven’t clicked off any fun or maybe “not so fun” adventures off the list!
I’ve been stuck in a rut with Christmas movies. This means I have not watched a new Christmas movie since “Home Alone” and “Die Hard”aka 40 years ago. I’ve never fully watched “Elf”, “A Christmas Story.” Or even National Lampoon’s “Holiday Vacation”.
Why Bah Humbug
Working retail, I kind of hate the Christmas season. It’s shoved down our throats from Halloween on. If you only visit stores, your exposure is rather small. But spending ten hours in a store? You become rather immune, then rather allergic to the whole concept. You can’t wait for all the noise, all the fan fare, to just GO AWAY.
My Holiday Challenge is “to watch a holiday movie or “special” that I haven’t seen, every day, until Christmas.” The impetus came from a flyer I picked up shopping at Kohls, which advertised a different holiday movie every day. I don’t plan on blogging on each one; maybe just a weekly recap, on what I watched, on what I thought, and my rating on the candy cane enjoyment factor.
Taking November 24 off as a vacation day, I decided to Opt Outside and get more of the Buckeye Trail hiked. The Buckeye Trail wanders fairly close to where I live, so it will be easier for me than some folks to hike the BT.
My hike on Black Friday.
My husband dropped me off at Point One on the Belle Valley Section. He was going to go do all his grocery shopping, then meet me at Point Five in Salt Fork State Park. (I wanted him to meet me before Point Five, as I’ve already hiked up that big hill numerous times, but oh well.)
I found it interesting that Point One to Point Two are considered “off road” because it’s a private road that the BT is blazed up. Nope, it’s still a road that I hiked on.
It was a quiet day in the country. About five cars passed me. Two loose dogs, but old boys, who didn’t leave their yards to woof at me. Sunny skies but windy.
Points 1-3 were “new to me” as I hadn’t been in this area before. Ohio is a pretty state, even in our brown stage of fall. I enjoyed my solitary walk.
I’ve walked Point 4 to 6 before, so my last two miles were familiar. As I entered Salt Fork State Park, and started up the steep hill, here came my vehicle down the hill! Perfect timing, I don’t have to hike that hill!