Home, trips and Tulips!


Lovely morning everyone 🙂  I am so glad to be back into the swing of things.  I have been hunting for a new place to call home and I have finally found a wonderful place to lay my head 🙂  I was really searching hard for a place that is affordable and in my ideal location and I have found it!  I am able to go out my front door and WALK to my favorite bakery, natural foods store and the most important, my beloved Rocky River Reservation.  I have never been more excited and felt more whole and complete than I do right now since I have been back from California.  It was very important to me to follow what my mind and heart wanted.  What I wanted was something small, cozy and intimate with LOTS of character.  I have always gravitated towards much older spaces.  You know, the ones with skeleton key locks, original woodwork, built in cabinets and old cast iron bathtubs.    I really like my new home and I am taking my time to decorate it and make it my peaceful dwelling space.  

So now that you know what I have been up to for the past few months let get going!

It has been a long cold winter but I was able to get out a few times and lead a beautiful day hike and weekend backpacking trip.  

Jaite to Boston train CVNP.
Jaite to Boston train CVNP.

That was such a fun day!  The Jaite to Boston trail is one I originally did with my cousin Anna.  It is 5.6 miles one way (we only did part of it in the above pic.)  It is a great trail to hike in the winter because not only does it work your big muscle groups in your legs but it is a great hip strengthening trail because of the balance you have to maintain while trekking up and down in the snow!  I loved it and I know others did too 🙂

Back in February I led a small trip to Archer’s Fork Loop down in Wayne National Forest.  I first found out about this trail in an issue of Backpacker’s Magazine.  I was so stoked to see a local trail that was is only about 3 hours away featured in a national magazine!  Whoo Hoooo for Backpacker’s Magazine!  This trail was very cool because it feature a natural rock bridge and a really cool cave.  Now being someone who has explored our national parks well and has lived in California, I have to say that when I find these gems that are all over the Yosemite, Yellowstone etc, it is very nice to find them in your own backyard!  Beauty is everywhere,  big or small it all has an impact on our senses and psyche.  Breathe it all in.  Let it go.  But keep a small breath in your lungs and carry it with you always.  I was born in Montana and my family moved back to Ohio when I was only a few months old.  But I swear I breathed in the air of  Big Sky country and it has never left me.  My folks took us everywhere.  Camping and traveling to parks.  I am so incredibly thankful for that, for it instilled in me my sense of wonder/wander (lol…) and what really stuck with me is my parents saying, “Why not take you kids everywhere?  Kids are portable!”  My dad did the driving and navigating and my mom…. holy moly…she organized EVERYTHING and thought of EVERYTHING for her four children!  She was like a Native American woman who could set up and pack up  her Tipi (or teepee) in record time all the while being SUPER organized.   I hope to be that organized and resourceful one day!  

Archer's Fork Loop Trail, Wayne National Forest :D

Archer’s Fork Loop Trail, Wayne National Forest 😀

102 106 113 116 132 146 148 151 152 153 161 166 177

 The weather started out cold, then became much colder and then warmed up to almost 45 degrees by the end of the trip!  It was so much fun!  The trail is in the middle of what we believe is fracking country.  It was a really beautiful trail but I could have done without the gas lines that we would sometimes trip over.  We set up camp next to a small brook and it was the perfect place to meditate and do yoga in the morning.  What was funny was the guys were having a debate about some very close sounds that surrounded our camp that night.  Mihai believed them to be coyotes and in his true Romanian fashion set off to scare them off by hooting, hollering and running wildly up the hill!  Hahahaha!!!! Wish I had it on video!  Anthony on the other hand believed them to be owls and was a very perplexed as to WHY Mihai would want to scare off owls!  So for the remainder of the trip almost everything was a reference to coyotes and owls!    

I am excited to be heading out again next weekend.  Friends and I are meeting up tomorrow to vote on the place we want to go.  I am also in the works of planning a big trip out west.  More on that one later!  

Now I am on my way to wonder the woods and later take my best friend Sara out for her birthday dinner!  Little Italy here we come!

Hope you all have an amazing day!

I would love to hear some of your travel stories so please feel free to post in the comments section!

“Give what you have.  To someone it may be better than you dare to think.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Backyard camping, packing and Christmas

Good morning everyone and Merry Christmas Eve to all who celebrate!  I have made a couple of changes to the blog and I hope you like them 🙂  I am still learning how to tweak my page so please bear with me if it changes several more times…lol I went to the movies with my mom yesterday and we saw Wild.

photo courtesy of www.imdb.com
photo courtesy of http://www.imdb.com

I did attempt to read the book but could never quite get into a rhythm with it.  I appreciate the authors story but it didn’t hold me in like other self-adventure books. The adaptation (I can only speak for how much of the book I read) was so-so.  But the cinematography was gorgeous!  And I do believe Reese Witherspoon did a relatively  good acting job.  I am a backpacker but I don’t know if I would want to hike the entire Pacific Crest Trail as it constitutes a whole lot of desert. Now Eat, Love, Pray by Elizabeth Gilbert?!  That book I LOVED because I could very much relate to it.  Her struggles with the spiritual person she was/is, the relationship issues…  I felt like I was reading my story.  Except for the part with lots of money and world travel.  India has been on my bucket list for a while now.  I’d love to go somewhere and take a vow of silence.  I re-read that book sometimes and I never tire of it.  I even checked out the audio book from the library and listened to it my car.   Now the movie…blah.  Didn’t like it at all. So I was inspired last night none the less and decided to pitch my tent in my backyard.  I am in the middle of packing and moving and I just needed to be at my house but not in it.  Lol…  I don’t have much to pack so it isn’t like it is a huge feat but still…I’m moving…again.  I have appreciated my time in Oberlin but I am so excited to get the heck out of there!!!  It is a liberal arts college town, has 1-2 good restaurants but lacks diversity and a great coffee shop.   Plus it is in the middle of nowhere.  Good things about Oberlin: bike trail, Gibson’s and the deer that would come and frolic in my backyard.  But I am moving way closer to Cleveland proper and can’t wait to be at the entrance of the Emerald Necklace.

Photo courtesy of www.friendsofbigcreek.org
Photo courtesy of http://www.friendsofbigcreek.org

The Emerald Necklace is a link of Metroparks that form a “necklace” around Northeast Ohio.  Where I am moving I will be with in biking/walking distance from one of my favorite parks in Ohio.  Plus I will be really close to Lake Erie and about 35 minutes closer to the Cleveland Rock Gym!  I CAN”T WAIT.!!!!  With all due respect… Civilization here I come!!!! I hope everyone has an amazing Christmas.  I will be working today 3-11 but I am off tomorrow and will be visiting my senior friend at the nursing home and then off to a few other places. Peace, love and exploration, Lori “Give what you have, to someone it may be better than you dare to think.” ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Backpacking Spruce Knob, new faces and the funniest and longest conversation I’ve had in a long time!

Good morning on this crisp autumn day!

I hope you had an amazing week. 🙂  I tried to post from the road via my iphone but I just couldn’t make it work.  I am new to the blogging world so I KNOW it will take me a bit to figure it all out!!!

So let’s talk backpacking!  I had the most AMAZING weekend!  I left Friday morning and drove to a meetup spot to carpool with a few people and let me tell you…hahaha…it was nice being a passenger!  I usually drive every trip but this time at the last minute I hopped on the El Cap train to West Virginia.  El Cap (his trail name) is the founder of our group.  Being able to sit back and enjoy the scenery and take a mini cat nap or two was GREAT!  So thanks El Cap for doing ALL the driving!

For those of you who don’t know what a trail name is, it is a name that you earn from other backpackers after being on the trail for a bit.  Sometimes you earn a name right away and sometimes it takes a good while.  I do not have one yet…when I do one I hope it fits me perfectly.  Like…Awesome Sauce?!  J/K

Moving on…I met a ton of new people this weekend!  I loved seeing all the new faces out there in the wilderness experiencing Momma Nature in a way they never have before.

Everyone did extremely well considering the almost 35 degree temperature change we experienced Friday- Sunday!

The Hopeless Wanderers!
The Hopeless Wanderers!

It started out about 65 degrees on Friday when we arrived at the Spruce Knob trail head and by the time we climbed back up the side of the mountain on Sunday to where our cars were, it was 29 degrees and WINDY!  My fingers were frozen while I was trying to unzip my pack to get dry clean clothes out.  Brrrrr….

Iceman enyone?!!!
Iceman enyone?!!!

The drive on the way down was so beautiful with all the autumn colors on display.  What I didn’t realize is that as we were traveling south, the trees became far less colorful.  When we were hiking, a lot of the trees were already bare.  None the less it was a site to be seen with all the elevation changes.

A meadow on our hike down on Friday.
A meadow on our hike down on Friday.

Friday we hiked about 6 miles until we arrived at our campsite and hunkered down for the night.  On our way to camp we passed Seneca Falls.  I didn’t get an actual picture of the main falls be here are some little ones.


My pack is waaaay old!  I like to purchase 2 big pieces of gear each season and a new pack will be one of those pieces!  But this pack has been all over the country with me and it has held up like a charm.  It is a Mountainsmith and I bought it at a discount about 10-12 years ago and at sporting goods store called Dunhams.  The other large ticket item will be a new sleeping bag.  I have an old Moonstone that a friend gave me about a 1,000 years ago.  They don’t make Moonstone anymore…LOL.  Funny story… we were trekking part of the AT (Appalachian Trail) back in July and I decided to by a warmer weather sleeping bag once I got down there.  I was SO excited to find one for $45.00!  It was a junior size(hence the low price), meaning it SHOULD be long enough for a person 5’3″ and under.  Well… I am 5’1.5″ and it is about 1.5 inches too short!!!  So now I own and oldie but warm heavy sleeping bag and one that is just a tad to short.  Oy!

I went to bed SUPER early on Friday and didn’t stay up to chat.  I was uuuber tired.  On Saturday we had breakfast and packed up camp so we could soak up more scenery.  🙂  Saturday’s weather was not as nice as Friday’s and the temp dropped about 10-15 degrees.   We encountered a little bit of rain.  Not enough to soak you, but a constant mist if you will.  A friend and I became separated from the main group because we stayed back to help two “newbies” (I say that with love!), who had a hard time making it up the hill.  It took us about 2 hours to get up the giant hill!  I was joking around and said, “Donner, party of four your table is ready.”  LOL…Then we caught up with three more people from the group and it became Donner party of seven!  Hahaha.. Just kidding!  We had a fearless leader for our little group and we decided to take a little shortcut to camp because a few newbies weren’t holding up too well in the chilly rain.  After what seems like a long time, the other half of the group made it to camp and we all settled into another night of good food, good conversation and a great campfire!  A friend and I ended up staying up until about 4:30am talking and laughing our butts off!  Again, I apologize to people who tented around us for my friends loud laughing and snorting. 🙂  And I am talking about the kind of laughing where you almost pee your pants and (not me :)), start snorting you are laughing so hard.  We covered everything from A-Z…literally..hahaha!  We played the alphabet game, “I’m going on a trip and I’m bringing an apple.  I’m going on a trip and I’m bring an apple, a big balloon…etc.”  It was seriously one of the best nights of conversation I have had in quite some time.  I will admit though it made the hike up the side of the mountain the following morning a bit rough but I hauled my tushy up that sucker so I could get warm and dry!

We always stop at a local joint on our way back to Cleveland and this time we stopped at Harper’s.  Harper’s has a fantastic view of Seneca Rocks.  They also serve a great local IPA!

Seneca Rocks!
Seneca Rocks!
Our post hike pic :D

Here are some stats courtesy of my friend Rob from the group, “Here are some bragging rights… Spruce Knob is the highest point in the state of West Virginia at 4863 feet in elevation. The elevation at our Saturday evening campsite at Seneca Creek was 3390 feet. The elevation change (excluding the ups and downs) amounts to 1473 feet which exceeds the height of the Empire State Building (including the antenna spire) which is 1454 feet tall.”  Thanks Rob for calculating all of that!

Alas we took one last picture and said our goodbyes until the next time we see each other on the trail 😀

Post hike pic :D
Post hike pic 😀 (Rob’s photo)

Thanks everyone for a great weekend!


“Give what you have, to someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Backpacking, coffee and conversations!

What’s up everyone?!  I am writing today from one of my favorite cafes on the westside of Cleveland, Erie Island Coffee Company.

Best coffee on the westside!
Best coffee on the westside!

There aren’t too many independent coffee shops (or cafes as I mostly call them) on the westside anymore.  It really bummed out my friends and I when a cafe called Caribou Coffee closed down about a year and a half ago.  Caribou Coffee was a great coffee shop that was only found in the midwest and northeast. (not exactly local but regional?)  They had the coziest cabin like feel complete with fireplaces!  I miss Caribou tremendously and their Ho Ho White Mint Mocha that I’d always get at Christmas time!!!  So now when I am out and about in Rocky River I always stop at Erie Island for some great black coffee.  I rarely order a foo foo coffee and don’t like cream or sugar in my cup of joe!  I seriously have a deep affinity for the coffee beans 😀  I swear I should roast my own beans but hey…  I want to take a roasting class just to learn about the different types of beans and the whole process of making a great cup of coffee.  When I lived in San Francisco there were great coffee shops everywhere!  One of my favorites was Blue Bottle.  I’m salivating right now just thinking of their coffee.  😛   Philz Coffee is another great one out there.  At Philz you can choose from a couple of dozen different types of coffee and they single cup brew it for you right on the spot!  It is heavenly.  I would kill for a coffee shop like Philz here in the Cleveland area.  (Westside please!?..haha)

Anyways I want to change the subject for a minute!  I NEVER thought that I could have so much to say on a blog.  I’m sitting here thinking, “Where do I start?”  There are so many things that I want to talk about and get information back on.  My brain is running wild with all sorts of topics.  I get inspired daily when I am at work.  I meet all sorts of people and have great conversations with them.  I also belong to an amazing backpacking group filled with all sorts of characters with crazy stories..The Hopeless Wanderers!

The Hopeless Wanderers!
The Hopeless Wanderers!

Speaking of those characters I am heading out on a fall backing backing trip to Monongahela National Forest in wild and wonderful West Virginia!  I can’t wait to get lost in the woods, cook my meals over a campfire and wake up to a beautiful view outside my tent!  I love being outside, as I have said before, and I jump at the chance to go backpacking whenever I can!  The autumn colors are going to be radiant!

My view atop Mt. Rogers in Virginia...bliss
My view atop Mt. Rogers in Virginia…bliss

I desperately need new hiking shoes, however I am going to try to get one more hike out of my current pair of Moab Mid Waterproof Merrells.  They are a great day hiking shoe but not the best for a multi-day trip.  I also need a new pack.  I bought mine years ago before they made them gender specific.  I am shorty McShortesen and my current pack takes up half my body!  It is a great Mountainsmith pack that has totally stood the test of time.  I have used this pack for over 10 years and it has been all across the country with me.  I will absolutely keep it as a keepsake!  Maybe build a shrine to it…LOL! Just kidding 😉  I’m not a total gear head as it is exspensive!  My dream is to be a field tester for outdoor gear companies.  I not a pro, but hey Jane Goodall wasn’t a pro when she ventured to Africa!

On that note I have to go “get lost” in my favorite park before I head over to my sister’s house for some twin time and of course some “E” time!!! (“E” is my 22 month niece)  My sister and her family are home now and busy nesting with their now family of 5!  Oh my stars…how life grows in love everyday!


“Give what you have.  To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.”

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Questions for you…

Do you camp or backpack?

If so what are your favorite spots?