Adventure || Upward climb

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Am I the only one who gets in the mood for a good hike or time outside every weekend in the summer? It doesn’t happen every weekend, obviously, but I’ve managed to squeeze it in here and there over the summer and I’m excited for more, hopefully.

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Growing up, I had tough competition when it came to hiking. I was going to say, “sports in general” but in reality, I never was that great at competitive sports. I was better at solo sports like writing. Haha. Don’t get me wrong, I loved being outside and I’d climb trees every chance I got, but mostly just to sit up there and feel the wind and watch the squirrels and birds chase each other. #introvert

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My two siblings just older than me were both go-getters and when it came to hiking, they amped up the game. Not one to be left behind, I learned to push myself. Isaac was always at the head of any hike. We’d take breaks occasionally and only long enough to catch our breath and rehydrate. I always loved when he’d take us on “short cuts” that ended at the discovery of a cave or a quicker way to get to the car.

One thing Isaac taught me through all that was that determination is a mind-muscle that grows when we do hard things.  I’m thankful for that lesson now, on the mornings that I run through my neighborhood before work.

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I think there’s something so freeing to me about stepping outside, lathering on the mosquito spray and taking to the great outdoors. Stepping away from deadlines and agendas certainly takes intentionality but it is so necessary in order to thrive.

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I love to hike in the wilderness and to be surrounded by limbs and leaves and rocks and wind. To let the breeze play with my hair as I skip over roots (because that’s better than tripping) and pausing at overlooks to take in the scene stretching out below me.

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“Adventure with all its requisite danger and wildness, is a deeply spiritual longing written into the souls of mankind.” -John Eldridge

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I get caught up in this landscape that is so grand and majestic that it leaves me winded and speechless as I arrive at the peak of a hike.

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Taking this time to clear my head is allowing space for bigger thoughts, bigger dreams. Up here in the mountain air, I can see more clearly that I am simply a small piece in a much bigger story. But what’s amazing is that as small as I feel, I have a significant role to play in God’s big story.

“There is favor that falls on your life through faithfulness and obedience.” -Meg Delagrange

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One thing that I’m finding as I follow God, is that He’s leading me through pain and into deeper, better places. The burn I feel as I climb is my muscles being broken down and rebuilt stronger. I’m gaining endurance. The harder the climb is, the more I will appreciate the view at the top. I’m willing to burn my way through pain, if it means coming forth as gold.

“It is not the mountain we conquer, it is but ourselves.”

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On a side note, I was recently introduced to the app CharityMiles and I love the idea that my exercise is supporting nonprofits globally. “We know that you are excited to walk, run and ride.” And so CharityMiles has collaborated with big companies to raise sponsorships with the help of active people.

Tracking your activity with CharityMiles, you can earn 25 cents per mile when you run and walk or 10 cents per mile when you ride your bicycle. Their app is easily accessible through iTunes and once you’ve created your own account, you get to pick which charity you’d like to support. I chose Save The Children, since it’s an organization that I am familiar with since being in Greece this past year.

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Featuring: Table Rock Mountain in Upper Creek, N.C. It is a rocky mountain face that peaks out above the surrounding brown mountains. The 2.2 mile roundtrip has some steep climbs, so it’s somewhat strenuous. The views of the Linville Gorge below are spectacular when you reach the 3,930 foot peak. This is my personal favorite hike of the trails I’ve hiked in N.C. It’s just hard enough to make arriving at the summit feel like an accomplishment but just short enough to make for an easy afternoon hike. Distance: 2.2 miles; difficulty: moderate.

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Linville Falls, N.C. This hike is more like a walk in the park. The main trail is wide and winds its way through towering trees and let’s you pick between three different overlooks (or do yourself a favor and go to all three). The last overlook gives you the best overall view of the gorge. There is a more difficult trail that takes you to the base of the falls that I haven’t hiked. Distance: 0.60 miles; difficulty: easy.

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Happy hiking! -Gretta

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