Never in a million years. That would have been my answer a year ago (or five or ten) to the question: would you ever try mountain biking?
But, that’s just what I found myself doing this past weekend, my anniversary weekend. My hubby and I packed up our camper, loaded up the kids, and headed west, to the mountains of West Virginia. On our way, we dropped the kids at their grandparent’s house, and we proceeded to Blackwater Falls State Park.
I had visions of waking early to hike to the waterfalls, afternoons on the river, tubing and kayaking, and relaxing bonfires in the evenings. Two of which, we quickly learned, weren’t going to happen. A recent dry spell made the river too low and with a newly announced fire ban – river activities and bonfires were both out of the picture.
The upside – we stumbled across three live music happenings, one of which was bluegrass; the neighboring towns were absolutely charming; and horseback riding was a definite go.
The surprising side - my hubby and I ventured off on our bikes to explore the mountains and trails. We started with a short one by the campground itself – and after running over a snake, I wasn’t so sure of this new activity. But the more I did it, the more I loved it.
So, on our anniversary night, we decided to bike in search of an amazing view. We found an ‘intermediate’ trail that would lead us to a scenic overlook. Four miles in total. How romantic, right?
Wow, was it hard. We should have known, with the limited signs of use the path had. We were the only ones out there. Rocks, oh so many rocks. And roots, holy roots! Some bigger than the trees themselves. Three wooden, narrow bridges, straight down drop offs at the trails most narrow - my heart was racing and my hands clenching the handlebars. It was the hardest terrain I’d ever stepped foot on, and now I was biking it?!
But wow, was it worth it…
1) The spectacular view – appreciating it with my husband of seven years, after having done something we’d never done together. We stood in awe of the view, hand in hand, somehow understanding the meaning of life, and our place in it, differently than we ever had before.
2) My fortitude, and his kind, encouraging words along the way.
3) That holy sh*t moment when you do something so hard, something you would have never tried a year ago, or five, or ten. That kick-*ss feeling of accomplishment, deep in your bones. Of being scared and doing it anyway. Of pushing your body and your mind.
This weekend opened my eyes to a new hobby (and date night activity), and it reminded me to stop limiting my beliefs of who I am and what I’m capable of.
Blackwater Falls State Park (link) has breath-taking views, exceptional trails and the foliage is just starting to turn. It’s tucked between the two small, authentic West Virginia towns of Thomas and Davis. We enjoyed the live music, shops, galleries and the people. If you go, be sure to bring cash. Many of the spots accept it as the only form of payment.
If you’re looking to carve out time for yourself or family activities, check out the seasonal guide I created. It’s called ALL THINGS AUTUMN (link to PDF). It’s two pages and will take you 30 minutes or less to complete. It's time well spent.