While I normally try and have an adventure post for you guys on Tuesday afternoons, this week will be a little bit different. It's not that I haven't been hiking, because I have, but because I do a lot of the same hikes repetitively. Here's a little update from the world of Sprinkles & NoKey.
Spring seems to be here now in the Smokies! The early blooming wildflowers have sprung, the trees are blossoming, and we even recently needed to mow the grass. While I still think we are going to have one more cold week in the near future (because we always do!), I think we've definitely transitioned into warmer weather. Due to my erratic work schedule and NoKey's mostly set, but strange, schedule we haven't had time to do much hiking together. The hikes I've been doing for work have mostly been short, less than 3 hours a piece, and I've done mostly the same routes each time. I do love being a hiking guide, but it doesn't really make for good blogging to write about the same trail over and over and over again! Also, many places we hike are on quiet nature paths or off-trail hikes, so they don't really translate well into adventure hiking.
I am feeling more comfortable being in charge of guiding people though! While I'm technically still "training" it actually feels very natural to me to point things out to people. I've done a little bit of testing this out on a few friends I've taken on personal hikes and I think it feels pretty natural in conversation to talk about plants, trees, the neat volunteer projects happening here in the park, etc. Even though the hiking part of the job isn't challenging, teaching people about the park I love so much has been such a rewarding experience. I'm truly lucky to have fallen into a job like this.
All this talk about hiking also brings me to another part of my hiking life - what is my next long hike? NoKey and I talk about this a lot. It's so funny how after the AT we were pretty much set on taking some time off, but after our shorter hikes in the summer of 2015 we just want to hike some more! We've been talking over long trail options and we've really narrowed it down to a few with one major contender (and spoiler alert - it's not one of the Triple Crown Trails either!). All of this will depend on how much money I can save up and when I can take the months off work. If we get another warm winter next year, that will definitely mean we will probably take off for a few months!
In other backpacking news, I recently did my first solo trip guiding a backpacking trip. It was a lot of fun to do a shakedown hike with a wannabe thru hiker. I have a newbie backpacking trip going on this weekend, which I am really looking forward to doing. I also have a week-long hike on the Appalachian Trail planned in a few weeks right after my marathon (because I'm a crazy person!) Anyway, I feel like this post has rambled on long enough. I just wanted to write down some of my recent thoughts to let all of you know what we've been up to recently.
Have you spent any time outside recently? Is the weather feeling like spring where you live or are you still stuck in the snow? Leave me a comment and let me know!