From the couch to the trails

Tag Archives: Chubby girl hiking

I am so looking forward to getting back on the trail this weekend.  We have not done any Autumn walks.  I really want to see all of the beautiful leaves.  BUT….  yes there is always a but in life right 🙂

My but is my fears.  If you are interested in my list of fears read on….

-I fear that I will not be able to hike as far as I had in the past due to the hiatus

-I fear that I am going to get out on the trail and my foot is going to start hurting and I will not want to walk back —this is the big one—

-I fear that hiking is not as much fun as I remember

-I fear that it wont be as much fun hiking when its too chilly to stop off at a swimming hole

I don’t know about you but when I go into something with no expectations…or do something for the first time it is a lot less scary that getting BACK into something.

So what is the solution to all of these fears?

The prescription I gave myself is from now until Sunday it will be nothing but positive self talk.  And a little extra at the gym to make sure my legs are nice and strong and ready for a walk in the woods this Sunday.




This was the first time since we have started on our commitment to hike once a week that I woke up and DID NOT WANT TO HIKE! It was hot, humid and I was tired. Not to mention the list of things that needed to be done at home.

But, I know from past experience that the list of things that needed to be done at home would still be there when we got home…. And the heat and humidity were part of the deal. So the verdict was …………….SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP!

This week’s pick was Jim’s pick. I don’t think he realizes that I know he had ulterior motive but, I went along pretending like I had no clue. 😉

This trail was an unnamed trail. It is actually a horse trail that is right next to the field where he hunts, hence the ulterior motive. So this trip had three missions. See what the farmers planted, scope out the land for deer oooooh and hike. This was fine with me. It is probably best that I know where he is when he is hiking, for safety reasons.

There were lots of choices as far as picking a trail to follow they went off in many directions. Some smaller than others. I am glad he was in charge of where to go because I would have gotten lost for sure. This was unlike most of the trails we have followed before. It was not as overgrown as our attempt at Prettyboy Damn. But part of it were pretty overgrown and there were a LOT of thorny bushes along the trail so pants are a must for this one. Yes, Yes we were in shorts of course. There were many muddy patches as well as REALLY overgrown parts of the trail. I have to tell you I can deal with the mud. I actually enjoy it sometimes….well only when I have a change of shoes with me. But overgrown and thorn bushes do NOTHING for me except scrape up my legs and make me itchy. Another thing about this trail was NO BLAZES. Some of you have hiked before some of you have not so if you are not sure what a blaze is its a marking that tells you where the trail is.

I found the lack of blazes and Jim’s knowledge of the land quite relaxing. It was nice to just be able to walk. I trusted him to get us out of there and that he did….safely and soundly. MY HERO!!


If you were curious the farmers planted soy beans this year instead of corn


which means there will be less deer around Jim’s favorite place to hunt. 😉

All in all I am glad that we went out and did the hike today. It is so great to have a partner who makes you get out there even when you don’t want to. I would have spent the whole week regretting not going if I would have stayed home to clean the house. Having gone, I will not spend all week wishing I had done housework. That’s just the way life is. Sometimes you have to leave the dirty laundry behind and get out there to meet toads.


This is probably not a trail I would recommend unless you have a navigational system or some familiarity with the land. I would still be wandering around in the woods if I did not have my trusty tour guide with me. Lucky he was there and it only ended up being a 3.2 mile hike.

photo (7)

I’ve seen a variations of this recipe but I this is what I did with the goodies I had in my house. I posted it on my Facebook page and got a lot of requests, so I thought I’d post it here for you guys…

1lb of lean ground beef
30 turkey pepperonis
1/4 cup onions
1/4 cup green peppers
1 bag of pre-washed spinach
1 cup of non fat Greek yogurt
12 oz fresh part skim mozzarella cheese
Small jar of Wolfgang Puck Four Cheese Red Sauce
4 zucchini
Garlic Salt

Pre Assembly:
This part takes about 20-25 minutes

*Brown ground beef, onions, green peppers and spinach together

*peel zucchini with potato peeler. Only the outer parts. Once you get to the seeds stop peeling. (I save the seedy parts for salads later in the week)

*Mix all of your browned ingredients with Greek yogurt.

Layer your tray as follows
Red sauce
Peeled zucchini
Browned / Greek yogurt mixture
Pepperonis (15 per layer)
Peel or cut mozzarella ( I slice the ball of cheese)
Sprinkle top with Garlic Salt and oregano

Bake covered for approximately 1 hour at 375 degrees
Uncovered for 20 minutes

The secret behind the Yumminess of this recipe is for sure using fresh mozzarella… Don’t use the shredded stuff

I’ve also made this recipe with my friend Natalie’s homemade tomato sauce. Here is a link to that recipeNatalie’s Recipe

I entered this recipe into MyFitnessPal and this is the nutritional information it came up with


There are so many trails at the Patapsco State Park we decided to head back and check out a different trail.  Here is a link to the trail maps in the Avalon section of the park.  This just happens to be the most convenient part of the park for me to get to.  So, we tend to explore this area the most.

We actually paid to get into the park to do this hike.  While out on the hike we did find an alternate trail head in a neighborhood close by.  If you want to start from the street you would park at the intersection of Landing Rd. and Grovemont Drive.

If you would like to see the trail the way we did you would pay for entry to the park and then park by the swinging bridge.  We started our hike on the Cascade Falls Trail (blue blazes) we stayed right on the trail bypassing the falls. —not on purpose—  There was an intersection there was a neat looking little broken down building and the hill looked a little more challenging so we took that path instead.  There were quite a few decent ascents.  Enough to keep you on your toes but not tire you out.

We followed the Cascade Falls Trail (blue blazes) until it met up with the Morning Choice Trail (yellow blazes).  It is right after the blue trail meets the yellow trail that you would start on this trail if you parked outside of the park on Landing Rd and Grovemont Dr.  Anywho we followed the yellow trail around.  This is where the creepiness began.  First my husband insisted on turning over rocks to find slimy things.  He was successful in his quest.  We found slugs and worms.  EWWWWW…..



I am sure I have told you guys before that I am a city girl and these kind of things do not excite me one bit.  But, I guess boys will be boys and Jim was quite amused at the ickiness of these guys.  I know that you would expect to see worms and slugs on a trail, especially when you are turning over rocks… but we did not expect to see this….


What is it you ask????  Yeah, I asked the same thing.  I looks like some sort of shrine?  I don’t have a good picture of it but there was a huge piece of hair on the opposite side of the turtle shell from the candle.  I don’t know if it was human hair or not but it sure was a huge hunk of  long blonde hair.  The only other animal that I could think that it would come from would be a horse?

Sooooo…. that was interesting!  We stayed long enough to take pics and then kept going.  Only to come across a series of old broken down buildings.  It looked like they used to be camping areas… maybe…. but they were a little spooky to see just after the shrine.

ImageAgain we only stopped long enough to take pictures.  We walked for a bit until the yellow trail met the orange trail.

The orange trail is called the Ridge Trail.  This can be picked up not far from the trail head of the blue trail (Cascade Falls) near the swinging bridge.   We climbed up pretty high on this part of the trail but it was pretty gradual so it did not seem so bad.  As we we walked along the orange trail we could hear the waterfall.  We could not see it but we could hear it.  It was coming from below so we decided to go off trail to try to find it.  This meant descending a gigantic hill.  It was a straight hill with no switchbacks so it was not so easy on the toes.  Jim taught me a technique though to help save the toes.  It’s a really simple technique and probably obvious to many of you but for me it was THE most genius thing I had ever heard.  Just go down the hill with your feet turned sideways.  HA HA!!  Genius!!!!

Once we reached the bottom of the hill there was a little bit of stream and lots of rocks and down limbs.  We could not see the waterfall yet but we could tell we were close.  We could have gotten back on the grass and walked along the side of the stream but we decided to try our hand at scaling the rocks.  There were not very tall and posed little threat.

This was my favorite part of the hike.  I have been wanting to climb some rocks since we started but I seriously doubted my ability so I did not want to take on a huge venture with out the proper gear.  The rocks were about 6-8 foot tall and had pretty easy footing to spots to follow.  We made it up.  At the top of these rocks there was a small waterfall.  We stopped here to take a rest and Jim cooled off in the water.



It still sounded like there were bigger falls above so we decided to take to rocks up again to the next level.  Again about a 6-8 ft climb but with a little less footing spots.  But we made it!  The falls were pretty.  Not a large fall but pretty non the less.  Jim said he has been going to this park exploring since he was a little boy and never seen this fall before.  And here it was just a few yards away from the road and the swinging bridge that we have been to hundreds of times before.Image

Next to the waterfall was the blue trail.  It was the part we bypassed on the way in.  It was a very short walk back to the trail head and our car.  🙂

Of course I had technical difficulties while on the trail and MapMyHike did to record our journey (User Error 🙂 )

But we the trail information says that

Cascade Falls Trail is 2.79 miles

Morning Choice is 1.8 miles

Ridge Trail is 2.2 miles

I think that we missed a total of about 1 mile of the trails.  So that puts us at about 5.5-6 miles give or take.

If you are hiking with kids I would recommend going into the park and taking the Cascade Falls Trail.  When you come to the intersection with the steeper hill and the old building at the top of the hill go the opposite way 🙂  This will take you a short walk to get you to the falls.

All three of these trails are easily picked up and easy to follow so you could make this one as long or as short as you’d like.

This is how I feel after a good hike 🙂


I started out today wishing I could just hit the trail all by myself but it wasn’t long into the hike that I realized with my sweet love is where I belonged. More about the hike later but for now here is a picture of my rock on top of a rock


We set out on this hike with big ambitions of hiking 8 miles.

Online information as well as the signage said that the trail was 4 miles each way. This did not account for the 1+ before and after the trail or the 200+ steps to the viewing areas. We ended our hike as a one way hike and it was 6.8 miles.

4 miles.... Yeah.....NOT SO MUCH :)

4 miles…. Yeah…..NOT SO MUCH 🙂

They had a shuttle service that took you from the end of the trail to the beginning of the trail. It was $16 well spent. Plus the driver of the shuttle gave us some great information about the North Country Trail. We had never heard of this trail but its a crazy ambitious hike. It looks to be tougher than both the Appalachian Trail and the Pacific Coast Trail. It starts in up state New York and goes allllll the way to North Dakota. It’s 4600 miles long and if you thru-hike you are bound to encounter freezing temperatures being that far north. It takes on average 7-8 months to complete the entire trail. I just could not imagine … Brrrrr!

Speaking of Brrrr… When we set out to do the River Trail at Tahquamenon Falls it was quite nippy. But we warmed up pretty quickly.   The hike started out with a nice view of the lower falls.

lower fallsIt was a boardwalked area with lots of look out points.  Once we got off of the boardwalk there was a pretty decent ascent. That got our blood pumping…. But the middle part of the trail was pretty flat. There were lots of planked walk ways and bridges, along with a few sets of stairs. The trail is very clearly marked, it almost impossible to get lost on this one…. Even for us :). There were also plenty of benches to stop and take rest. The river itself had a reddish brown tint to it. This is because the water filters through a Cedar River and the trees change the color of the water. Although discolored this water is said to be very clean. The city girl in me doesn’t really trust it but, that is what they say.

They say its clean?

They say its clean?

There was another ascent at the end of the trail. Then you leave the trail and walk for a bit on a paved road. At this paved road there is a sign that says 116 steps to the gorge. This is one of the look out points to see the upper falls… So we did the 116 steps down and 116 steps back up. Thinking we had seen what there was to see, we started walking towards where we thought the parking lot was. Well then we came to another set of stairs. This one said 94 steps down. So we did the 94 steps down. This was a view from the top of the falls. And my personal favorite view. The look out points for both the upper and lower falls were pretty crowded. You are able to park in the parking lot less than a mile away from each of them. There was a yummy restaurant/ brewery right in the same parking lot of the upper falls look out area.