Sunday Inspiration: Hiking to raise awareness about suicide

As part of my job for Recreation News, I spend quite a while each day looking (yes, I’m trolling) for great photos for readers to share using #LivePlayDo on Instagram.

hikingmiles4smiles - Home is not a place, it's a state of mind ⛺️

hikingmiles4smiles – Home is not a place, it’s a state of mind ⛺️

Today, I stumbled across a really inspirational account – @HikingMiles4Smiles.

These two ladies are hiking the Appalachian Trail during a campaign for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. From the website:

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) is the leading national not-for-profit organization exclusively dedicated to understanding and preventing suicide through research, education and advocacy, and to reaching out to people with mental disorders and those impacted by suicide.

Hannah and Danielle just recently started their hike in Georgia. They’re already 80 percent of the way to their $6,540 fundraising goal.

Donate to their cause here.

Danielle and Hannah online:


Idea: Turn off the notifications

A year ago, I was chained to my phone. As a digital media specialist, 99.9% of my time is spent attached to a device or online.

A few months ago, I turned off notifications to all of my apps while I went on vacation. I spent a week at the beach without hearing constant dings for emails, Facebook, and the seemingly hundreds of other apps on my phone.

New_Logo_Gmail.svgWhen I returned, I never turned them back on. Here’s what happened:

I started getting better at prioritizing things in my life, and therefore became much less stressed.

Guess what? It turns out that you don’t have to answer emails 24/7 to be good at your job — they’ll still be there when you have a free moment.

Instead of working on something the minute I’m asked (after hours), I do the things that I need time for in my life: I go for a hike, go to the gym or read a book. When I return, and when I have the time to focus on the task – that’s when I do it.

Turn off your email notifications. Turn off the social media constant updates. Tune in to the world.

Screenshot 2016-03-14 at 9.22.13 PM

An afternoon hammock nap. Something you can do when you’re not glued to your phone.

Instagram accounts I love this week

In November, I showed you some of my favorite travel ‘grammers. While I still love those accounts, there are some new ones I’ve taken to:

  1. TheAdventureProfessional

12. PNWonderland2




3. Wilderness_Culture


4. TreasuresandTravels


5. RecreationNews


OK, this one is cheating because I run it, but hey! We’re doing some pretty cool stuff over at and across social media.  Like this #LivePlayDo contest – all you have to do is use the hashtag to be entered to win travel prizes monthly!

Oh, and that’s me on the left, totally enjoying hammock life.


2016 Trail Bucket List

Since I recently joined the 52 Hike Challenge, I’ve been inspired to dream up a short hiking list for 2016 — and this year, I’m venturing out of Pennsylvania. These are just a few of the places I plan to see this year.

These trails are in no particular order, and I don’t know what order I’ll hit them in. But they’ll be hiked, I promise you that.

Descriptions of each trail are from the trail’s website.

Allegheny Trail – Blackwater Falls State Park, W. Va.

Buttermilk Falls, N.Y.

Buttermilk Falls, N.Y.

Blackwater Falls State Park is named for the falls of the Blackwater River whose amber-colored waters plunge five stories then twist and tumble through an eight-mile long gorge.

Glade Creek Trail – New River Gorge Park, W. Va.

This 5.6 mile trail follows an abandoned narrow-gauge railroad along Glade Creek. A number of cascades and small waterfalls add to the trail’s attraction.

Compton Peak – Shenandoah National Park, Va.

Compton Peak is a short hike in the northern district of Shenandoah National Park.

Taughannock Falls – Ithaca, N.Y.

Taughannock Falls is a 1.5 mile out and back trail located near Trumansburg, New York that features a waterfall and is good for all skill levels (there is also a more aggressive rim trail approximately 2.5 miles in length).

Buttermilk Falls – Ithaca, N.Y.

Buttermilk Falls State Park is a 6.2 mile multiple route trail located near Ithaca. While Buttermilk Falls is the main attraction, there are nine other waterfalls along the trail.



The recipe for a perfect fall outing

The leaves have started to fall and time has turned back, but there’s still plenty of time left to enjoy what many consider to be the greatest season Mother Nature has to offer. After all, winter doesn’t technically start until December 22.

Hoodlebug Trail, Indiana, Pa.

Hoodlebug Trail, Indiana, Pa.

Here’s my recipe for a perfect fall outing:

  1. A cozy sweater – Sweaters ARE the best part of fall, are they not?
  2. A good book – Right now I’m reading “The Almost Moon,” by Alice Sebold
  3. A few good friends – And by friends, I definitely mean dogs.
  4. A clear mind – Because it’s great to escape, sometimes.
  5. A sense of adventure.

Mix these few things and you’ll have what I’ve spent a majority of my free time doing this season – hiking, taking in the autumn air and reminding myself that it’s OK to disconnect every once and a while.

This writing prompt provided by The Sits Girls.


Late post: A North Carolina adventure

In early 2015, I decided to take an impromptu road trip. My really talented friend from high school, Kayshia Kruger, lives in Charlotte, N.C., and I drove the 8 hours to see her for the first time in three years.

On the way, I made a few stops in West Virginia, at sites I had heard of because of working with Recreation News – like the New River Gorge.

In North Carolina, I actually spent most of the time relaxing! Crazy, I know. But was also able to kayak, see Charlotte night life and experience some new things. Kayshia even convinced me to try a hot yoga class with her. It was fun to do once … but never again.

Here are some photos from the trip:

I didn’t take my camera with my trip on me, so excuse the Instagram- style photos. I was trying to disconnect a little!