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Week 7: Kelly Llewellyn

Just for a change, to mix things up a little, I’m going to start this week’s story at the end. Kelly Llewellyn, my hiking buddy for the 7th week of “A Year of Hikes: 52 Weeks, 52 Women, Same Trail” and I arrived back at our car after a fast-paced trek in pretty deep snow in just over two hours. I said a quick goodbye, jumped into my Subaru Outback and pulled away. As I turned around to head back towards Hagerstown, I realized Kelly’s car was stuck in the snow.

Naturally, I went back to help my new friend. At 5 feet tall and 100 pounds I’m not a B’wana Beast by any stretch of the imagination so Kelly was a little surprised when I told her I would push her car out of the snow. Looking dubious, she got back into her vehicle and after a couple of tries, Kelly’s car was free…EUREKA!

Two things: I was so glad that this little mishap didn’t ruin our otherwise exceptionally fun hike. Secondly, after pushing the car out of the snow I really did feel like a BADASS! Just look at the picture of the tire tracks in the snow and you’ll know why! I’m in my PRIME…nobody can tell me what I can and cannot do!

Now back to the beginning…when we headed off it looked like we were entering the arctic tundra with frozen fog hanging in the air!  Kelly walked at a fast pace so I assumed that she was a frequent hiker. She laughed, saying she was a novice and that her girlfriends couldn’t believe that she had signed up to hike. It turns out it has been a year of firsts for Kelly, who has been intentionally stepping out of her comfort zone and trying lots of new things! Of course, being the curious person that I am (some might even say nosy) I asked Kelly about her other firsts. Kelly recently started a doctoral program, she also signed a contract with the Veterans Administration agreeing to work wherever she was needed once she completes her studies and has committed to an impressive exercise program, working with my friend, Tina Fraley, founder of FitMinded Living.

Along with her full-time job at Meritus Health and doctoral studies, Kelly recently accepted a position as a teaching assistant. Whew…she sure works hard! Often, I talk with people who feel discouraged and unfulfilled in their job(s) so it was a pleasure to listen to Kelly as she described her work as interesting, satisfying and even fun at times.

The trail was exceptionally lovely this week, with a new dusting of snow giving the woods a pristine and unearthly beauty. Like last week, we saw deer tracks in the snow but for the first time we heard lots of bird calls (mostly cardinals and wrens, I think.) I asked Kelly to strike a pose, pretending to hold up a tree. I’ve decided that each week I will ask my hiking buddy to strike the same pose. To me it signifies strong women doing amazing things!

The stream at Warner Hollow was covered with snow but not frozen. The sound of the water flowing over the rocks and the accompanying  bird calls filled me with a hopeful feeling and a sense of anticipation for spring, which is just around the corner.

The hike up from the stream is mostly uphill and we really generated some heat. First, off came the gloves/ mittens, then the outer jackets and then our hats. By the time we were back to our cars we were down to just our shirts. It feels good to be warm from the inside when it’s cold outside. You already heard about the end of our hike so I will end this story by saying, I’m so grateful that Kelly is open to trying new things and that one of them was hiking with me!

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