People's State Park | Barkhamsted Lighthouse Trail

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to travel back to my home state of Connecticut (for my best friend's wedding! #stillreeling), so of course, I had to make time to satiate my wander fix. Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine might hog all the attention when it comes to the New England countryside, but there are places to get (responsibly) lost in the little 'ole Constitution state too.
The leaves just starting to turn along the Farmington River.
The foliage is definitely a sight to see, but one of the best parts about the New England backcountry are the little things, which, like most, I took for granted as a resident of these green hills, but after spending the last few years in the larger-than-life Colorado mountains, I re-discovered them on my short visit: like the clonk of acorns dropping from the oak trees.
Mom said she was knocked on the head with a falling acorn. If it's not already a sign of good luck, now it is. ;) I slipped on this acorn pile, hidden on some fallen leaves. 
I get my adventurous spirit from my mama so the two of us ventured into Peoples State Park: forest land donated by the Daughters of the American Revolution, where 200 year-old pine groves grow, and the remains of the historic village, Barkhamsted Lighthouse, can be found. 
Northwestern Connecticut Hikes
Like many people, when we heard "lighthouse," we immediately thought "ocean," but you won't find the traditional sea-beacon here. Instead, the village's lights served as a nighttime directional for stagecoach traffic traveling to Hartford in the 19th century--hence the lighthouse analogy! 
Northwestern Connecticut
The forest map in my backpack, the tree trail-markers, and Beanie, our family dog, in the background. :) 
The village began as a settlement in the 1770s when Molly Barber, a young white woman, fell in love with James Chaugham, a Native American of the Narraganset tribe. They ran away to the woods of Northwestern Connecticut to escape her disapproving father. 

I know, I know, a real-life Disney Pocahontas romance! #heavybreathing 

They started the settlement, and the village became one of the country's first multi-cultural towns, a tucked-away haven for freed slaves, survivors of colonial conflicts, and Anglo-European pilgrims. Some of the remains of this village, which dissolved toward the late 1800s, still remain like the homes' cellar holes, the village's charcoal pit, and even the cemetery where the couple and their family have been buried. 
Connecticut Hiking
In terms of difficulty, these trails are comfortable and short. Perfect 2-mile segments, and the shaded woods keep you out of the Indian summer sun, so common during New England's September. At the crest of a hill, we were greeted by Grand Vista overlook, a beautiful scene of the Farmington River sparkling through the forest. 
Lighthouse Trail

Needless to say, my soul was happy wandering in my woods again. 

Here is me, the maker of adventure herself, and family pooch number two, Taylor. :) 

P.S. This little history lesson brought to you by Connecticut Curiosities: Quirky Characters, Roadside Oddities, and other Offbeat Stuff by Susan Campbell and Bill Heald. Go buy the book, e-book, or check it out at the local library for more cool #thingstodoinCT 

Backcountry and Books

My Cross-Country Move to Houston

I've been MIA because I made a huge life decision: to move from Fort Collins, Colorado to Houston, Texas. You're probably wondering, "Why? Why would you ever?" and that's what everyone I knew said when I made this announcement. For months, I was heckled with "I hope you're prepared for unbearable heat" and various versions of "You're crazy." When I arrived, even Houstonians wanted to know why anyone would come to Houston from anywhere else.

I moved away from the backcountry of my Colorado soul, the purity of the air, the diversity of the landscape, the easy-going, slow, savory lifestyle, to pursue a PhD at the University of Houston.

I've been here about a month now, and I finally feel like I can sanely reflect on my insane decision. This is the second cross-country move I've made in three years, the second time I've left behind homes, family, and friends for a place I'd never been, for the sole reason to have the time and space to write. Last night, Jonathan Franzen read from his new novel Purity at the Wortham Theatre in downtown. During the Q&A, in response to the question, how are you able to sustain the energy to write a novel, he said, "You have to be obsessed with it." And I suppose, this too might be the only answer I have for people:

You have to love something enough that you're obsessed with it more than anything else in your life, and you're willing to follow it anywhere. 

I've met incredible people who have already become the friends that I rely on and laugh with like family. Adventure is just that: showing up in the unknown with every doubt and finding your spirit there anyway.

Houston, Texas

It might be harder to find the backcountry, now that I live in one of the largest metropolitan areas in the world, but it'll be an even bigger adventure now that I have to go searching for it. So, if you're willing to stick with me, this blog may venture into new territory just as I have, but it'll likely be just as exciting.

Colorado to Texas
Josie, myself, and Corey in front of the "We Love Houston" sign off the freeway. Clearly, I'm not entirely convinced, yet. 
 Who knows what will happen from here, but for now...

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