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Week 6: Barb Spencer

It’s time for another chapter of “A Year of Hikes: 52 Weeks, 52 Women, Same Trail”, this time starring my friend Barb Spencer. It was the most arduous hike so far…in deep snow, it took 2 hours, 50 minutes for Barb and me to complete our hike from Route 77 north to Warner Hallow and back!

To give some perspective, I hiked that same section last fall on a beautiful, cool evening with my husband in 1 hour, 42 minutes…and we weren’t even trying to be speedy. Footing was tricky, even difficult at times, especially going down the steeper rocky inclines. But you know what? We walked and talked our way through every snow drift and successfully navigated all the hidden obstacles (snow covered rocks and downed branches) together.

It turns out, our hike was sort of this great analogy for life! Breathtakingly beautiful when we remembered to be aware of our surroundings, exhausting at times and a little disorienting when we were tripped up by obstacles we knew were there but couldn’t see. There were a few stumbles, a couple of slips on hidden icy rocks and one fall…but hey, we picked ourselves up, kept going and enjoyed the journey. Like I said…just like life!

Barb and I both formerly worked at Hospice of Washington County, she as a Nurse Practitioner and I as the Community Outreach Coordinator. It was fun to revisit favorite memories of those years and talk about friends and colleagues that we still keep in touch with. Mostly we talked about health, nutrition and fitness…we are both a little nerdy about that and have worked with the same personal trainer at Vetted Trainers in Frederick.

But we talked a lot about other things too, I mean we were together for almost 3 hours and even Barb and I can’t talk about exercise and healthy meals that long! We talked about our husbands, kids, my grandkids and her grand dogs. I loved hearing about her son’s upcoming wedding…an 8-day Indian extravaganza with different outfits for different events! Her co- mother-in-law is not only planning the entire celebration, but she is also helping Barb choose the proper attire for the different parts of the ceremony. Of course, this is all incredibly exciting, fun and novel and is being done virtually. Planning a wedding anytime is a big deal but doing it during a pandemic is a real whopper! We even stopped long enough for Barb to pull out her phone and show photos of herself in her wedding clothes! Barb loves learning…so immersing herself in another culture has been the perfect COVID activity! She is even participating in virtual fashion shows, trying on different saris and choli tops and getting feedback from the bride’s family! Who knew? It turns out Zoom fashion shows are a real thing! Live and learn, baby!

I did want to mention how beautiful but different the stream looked, covered with ice and snow. And the trees, especially the dark green of the cedars, seemed to standout more against the white backdrop. All in all, it was a great hike and I’m so grateful to Barb for joining me on the trail and as a friend on my life’s journey.

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