From Couch Potato To Explorer

Hi guys! I’m Breanna. IMG_4429

I’m a full time hairstylist, full time student and part time mini explorer. I am 26 years old and survive off coffee (really just any caffeine), the occasional Netflix binge and more recently my growing desire to see the world. I live in a small city in Virginia, and while I love it here, I was getting bored.

We have all been there. You work 40 hour work weeks and on your days off you do the same things. You wake up, clean, run errands, maybe go out with friends, or maybe you sit at home the whole day with nothing but your sweats you wouldn’t even let your mother see you in, and a bag of snacks and you sit and binge watch Orange is the New Black. That used to be me. Still is me more than I would like it to be. So I started planning, and researching. I knew currently my bank account wouldn’t allow me to be the world traveler that I wish to be, so I started small. I planned a hike up to the Roanoke area in Northern Virginia (also referred to as NoVa). There are three different hikes in the area I was headed, and I only had enough time off work to do one. So i chose Mcafee Knob.

I called one of my best friends and told him to take these two days off, because we were going on an adventure.

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Say hi to Mitchell!

 

So, we packed up what we would need for a day hike, and got in the car to drive 4 hours out to this mountain I had read about. We got in late at night and rented a hotel and then went and got more Burger King than is probably healthy. We were off to a good start. The next morning came and we awoke right as the sun was coming up, and put on our hiking clothes and headed for the trail that would take us to the top.

 

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3.9 miles. Easy, we thought. We were somewhat wrong. Both of us are smokers (gross, I know) and after consuming more fast food than is healthy for any living human the night before, I knew we probably were going to struggle after about the first half mile.

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Looks fun right?!

One mile in, my thighs were screaming and my butt was hurting in ways I wasn’t sure were normal, but we pressed on. After drinking a lot of water, we discovered this small outhouse along the trail. It smelled like someone had left Taco Bell in there when the chain first opened and it’s been there ever since. I held my breath like a professional swimmer under water, entered the out house and more than likely made the fastest recorded bathroom visit in the history of man kind. I came out, breathed in the sweet sweet fresh air, and we pressed on.

Now, the cool thing about most of the trails along the Appalachian Trail is, they have these shelters you can crash at during the night if you’re a backpacker or just want to spend the night in the woods. They also have campsites too. While they look more like an empty field of grass and a possible battle of picking tics off your body the next day, it looked pretty cool.

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The campsites and shelters were really close to the start of the trail (about 1.9 miles in)

 

We trekked on, only stopping occasionally when one of us felt like we left a leg or other working body part on the trail behind us, and to switch out the batteries of my GoPro. It took us roughly 2 and a half hours to get to the top. I was hot, sweaty, out of breath and really thinking about the burger I was going to inhale later on that day when we left to head back home.

When you get to the top, the Knob doesn’t appear right away, there are some trees still when you’re coming out of the trail, but when you get through the opening, get ready to take in your surroundings. There have only been a few times in my life when my breath was taken away; Once when I jumped into the lake in the end of winter in my hometown in Michigan, and the day my niece was born. This view was the third.

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Who knew Virginia looked like this?

It was windy up at the top, and my hair was everywhere and my fingers were cold. Normally, I’d complain but the view over took any thoughts I had as I stood there taking it all in.

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The ledge looks scarier in photos, but once you see it in person, it’s a lot bigger and easy to walk out on. It’s the perfect viewing spot to take in some of the Appalachians.

 

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This was the moment that changed things for me. Looking out at the mountains and the houses that looked so small I realized how small we all are compared to the size of this Earth. How much nature there is that has been untouched by many. I also realized that I wanted more days that took my breath away instead of days where I follow the same routine of a boring twenty something adult. Bars are fun, sure. Seeing the world is better. And while  I haven’t traveled much outside of my two home states (Michigan and Virginia) I realized there were places right in front of me that I could explore. I am still learning to get myself out there and to break out of my comfort zone (I just planned a impromptu trip to Iceland), I am taking it one day at a time, and one adventure at a time.

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