I Have a Confession to Make

I have been living in Maryland for almost 2 years now, and although I hate many things about the state (traffic, uptight people, massive housing developments encroaching on beautiful farmland, traffic, oh wait, did I say that already?), the one thing that makes me not regret my decision to move here in 2013 is the mountains.

Eric waiting for sunset at Shenandoah National Park

Growing up in Northwest New Jersey, I was fortunate to have mountains all around me, heck, I lived on top of a (small) mountain, but I didn’t take advantage of all that the outdoors had to offer the way that I do here in Maryland. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely loved going to Camp Mogisca as a Girl Scout to camp and hike. I was the girl who opted to stay in the tent by myself while the rest of the troop stayed in the cabin (camping cheaters). And one of my favorite childhood memories is the ONE camping trip that my parents took me and my brother on, even though my brother ended up throwing up on all of our shoes outside of the tent. I guess by the time I got my license and was really able to make some of my own decisions, I was already busy being a high school student, and I lost sight of how much I enjoy being immersed in nature.

Fast forward a few years. I decided to major in environmental engineering and while at school, I met a person that never lost sight of his love of the outdoors. We went on our first camping trip in October 2011, and have been together ever since.  Since that first camping trip, we have hiked and/or camped in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Arizona, New Brunswick, Canada, and Western Cape, South Africa. I think it’s safe to say that I found my roots, and Mother Nature and I are best friends again.

South Africa is absolutely beautiful

South Africa is absolutely beautiful

Back to Maryland, I think that I am better able to appreciate all that nature has to offer here because I know that I did lose sight once before. Now, when I go back to Jersey to visit my parents, I am able to appreciate the natural wonders there as well, and the area feels much richer because of it.

Camping in Dingmans Ferry, PA

Camping in Dingmans Ferry, PA

So where exactly is this whole story going? Get ready to shun me, hikers, because here is my confession. For all of the hiking and camping that I have done, I have yet to go on a backpacking trip! But don’t worry, all that is about to change, because this weekend, I am embarking on my first ever backpacking trip: a 3 night adventure hiking all 40 miles of the Appalachian Trail in Maryland. Depending on how this trip goes, you may see me section hiking the AT in New Jersey in July and who knows what else! Happy hiking!

-Tina (trail name TBD)

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