Hike McAfee Knob

If you want to see more of our outdoor adventure posts, click here! And if you’re interested, you can learn more about my experience volunteering on the Appalachian Trail.

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McAfee Knob is one of the most photographed views on the Appalachian Trail. From McAfee Knob, you’ll see a nearly 270-degree panorama of Catawba Valley, North Mountain, Tinker Cliffs and the Roanoke Valley. I hiked McAfee’s as a day hike, but there are numerous shelters and campsites along the trail. If you plan it right, you can catch sunrise or sunset on the knob, which would make for some incredible images.

In my opinion, McAfee Knob is the perfect day hike. You get a big payoff for only a slightly strenuous hike 8.8 round trip hike and there’s an option to make it a loop. You’ll climb about 1,700 feet in elevation over 4.4 miles. I wore these sneakers and my feet were more than happy. On a clear day, the views are said to be the best in the Southern Shenandoah Valley. Pack a hammock and a lunch or a single beer like we did, and hang out at the top for a long while.

This hike is about twenty minutes outside of Roanoke. Park in the McAfee’s Knob parking area. Though the trail is well worn and populated, snap a photo of the map on the information board before crossing the road and beginning the hike. Follow the white A.T. (Appalachian Trail) blazes as the trail winds its way upwards. You’ll pass a couple shelters and campsites along the way. Eventually, you’ll cross an old fire road and a power line clearing. The blazes pick up again on the other side of the clearing and after only a quarter mile more you’ll see the first good view of Catawba Valley. Another half mile up the trail and you’ll see the McAfee Knob Spur Trail. Turn left and almost immediately you’ll see amazing views.

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McAfee Knob extends noticeably beyond the rest of the cliffs and there’s no way you can miss the line of people taking photos there. We walked past the crowds and explored the cliffs a little further until we found a comfortable rock bench from which to sit, chill and enjoy the view. If you have the time (and the snacks) stay until sunset. On the way back take the fire road for a much easier path down to the parking lot. You’ll also skim about a half mile off the adventure that way.

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What to pack :

  • Water – I only saw one spring on the trail. Pre-hydrate by drinking about a liter of water before the hike as well.
  • Camera
  • Hammock + straps
  • Headlamp
  • Camera
  • Snacks

 

Rules on rules :

  • No camping or campfires on McAfee Knob or Tinker Cliffs
  • Leave No Trace
  • Leashed Dogs Allowed (although we saw a few off-leash, which is always nice)
  • No alcohol
  • No drones
  • Max group hike size : 25
  • Max backpacking group size : 10
  • If camping : There are only 7 designated camping areas. Know before you go!

 

McAfee Knob is a very popular hike. I’m sure we bumped into nearly 50-75 other hikers along the trail and at the vista. That being said, the viewpoint and rock outcroppings are immense and there was room for everyone at the top. I noticed folks being really courteous about moving out of the way for photographs as well. I was also pleased to see that the trail and knob were mostly free of litter. Please remember to follow Leave No Trace hiking etiquette here and everywhere else.

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Two Bits

We want to break down these internet barriers and invite you into our lives and we’re hoping you’ll do the same.  You are welcome to share a bit of your week or day in the comments, or if they’re better represented by a photo, tag us on instagram @liveseasoned.

katies week live seasoned

Sarah Here :

Sup pups?! Happy FriYAY! This post is a bit late, but only because the weather was too freaking fantastic to stay inside even for an instant today. I spent the afternoon doing some paperwork at Honeysuckle Tea House. I brought Cash along for the adventure, which then inspired a quick trip to the Haw River to cool off after our sunny work sess.

This week has been… standard. So I’ll talk about all the cool things I see Kate doing in Colorado.  I love the insect images she captures in her garden. Katie was the one who actually inspired me to start taking photos so my heart warms up when I see her flexin’ those photo muscles on the daily. She shoots a bunch with her iPhone and macro attachment and here’s the exact camera she uses.

I had a bit of bevy envy today when I saw Katie was drinking a milkshake with homemade hazelnut liqueur, while I was still trying to get caffeinated. She’s full of great ideas. Speaking of amazing ways to insert ice cream into your day, here’s a scavenger hunt idea. I tried it with Cash, but no comprendo with that old dog.

And finally, HYGGE! I have to admit, I just learned what Hygge means from an old episode of Young House Love has a Podcast, but as soon as Sherri started explaning it, I knew immediately because it’s something I practice daily and take great pride and pleasure in. Hygge is a danish word (this website rocks at explaining the concept), but basically, “Hygge literally only requires consciousness, a certain slowness, and the ability to not just be present – but recognize and enjoy the present.”

Before I learned of the word hygge, I suppose I thought of myself as an architect of mood in my home. I take my time in curating moments of simple happiness. Waking up and playing my favorite song, walking room to room each morning to light incense and candles, putting on a teapot for coffee, sweeping the floors and opening the windows, for some reason all these tiny moments of making a space feel loved, lived in and comfortable brings about this overwhelming joy and satisfaction in the spaces I inhabit. Simple rituals carried out with thoughtfulness bring about a fullness to my every day life and to me that’s what I now know to be my hygge.

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Camping in Wharton State Forest, New Jersey

saleem ahmed for live seasoned camping 1 copy

Happy August! July has come and gone. I feel like I’ve had enough adventures this past month that I’ll be busy talking about them all August. I’ll start today with my birthday camping trip in Wharton State Forest, New Jersey. Originally I had planned on conquering this epic hike, The Great Range Trail, but I got some pretty gnarly blisters during a recent backpacking trip in Washington, so hiking was out. Then I wanted to go to Cherry Springs State Park, but the weather looked iffy and it was a bit far north. I called Saleem, my travel partner, and we together we decided on Wharton. This is the first time I’ve camped in Wharton State Forest and if given the opportunity, I would certainly do it again.

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Postcards from the Olympic Peninsula

Happy Friday! What a month! I took it pretty easy last weekend at the lake and the weeks before I spent in Seattle and on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington State.

On Tuesday, I spent my birthday camping in Wharton State Forest, New Jersey, before heading down to Saxis Island, Virginia. I’m here spending time with Momma Schu and grumbling about the slow internet and hundred degree weather. Life’s not too bad, but as my bones readjust to the extreme heat, I’m sifting through photos of cooler times out west.

Here are a few post cards from the first half of my trip. The snowy peaks, evergreens and lone deer were captured on Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. The tiny crab and seaweed covered rocks were shot near Sekiu. The sun setting into the ocean was taken from our campsite in Ozette and the warm sun over the water was taken on my first night in Seattle at Alki Beach. I feel like I was able to see so much in such a short trip and still I’m itching to go back immediately. I’m another year older, but nowhere close to staying in one spot for long. Come Monday morning I’m headed to Texas 🤠 Happy weekend!

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Weekend Lake Essentials

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Happy {almost} weekend! I’m packing up for a friend’s birthday celebration. A bunch of gals are headed to a lake house in Pennsylvania for a few days. Besides Cash the dog, here’s what I’m taking:

Whenever I go on a road trip, I make sure to pack a cooler full of snacks. A couple years ago, I started using ice packs instead of plain old ice and holy sh!t my life is easier. No more soggy snacks or watered down condiments. I know you know what I’m talking about.

Lake hangs must involve a boat or a raft. This year I’ll be lounging on pineapple fruit float while I sip cocktails out of my drink bottle, supplemented by tons of water from the camelbak of course. A friends gifted me the RTIC drink bottle a few months ago and I’m in love. It stays icy all day even during the Carolina summer. The widemouth stainless steel is easy to clean too. I can switch from cold brew coffee to agua fresca without noticing any unwanted leftover flavors. This weekend, I’ll be sippin’ on Pimm’s Cups and my take on a Moscow Mule.

Drinking on a float in the middle of the lake requires some serious sun protection. I just bought these Sunski glasses and here’s the recipe for our mineral-based sunscreen. A hat wouldn’t hurt either.

Even writing about day drinking has me ready for a nap. I love these huge fluffy beach towels. They’re large enough to lay on and curl up with. If you’re down to hang, here’s my exact hammock at the best straps money can buy. Don’t forget a favorite book to pretend to read before dozing off.

Now I’m off to clean my car and buy some groceries. I plan on making a couple different batches of veggie burgers and letting that bowl of goodness inspire my shopping list. Our sister, Kristin, made that creation. Here’s the recipe for the kale and pine nut salad.  Kristin is also the one who turned me onto this veggie burger book, which I’ve used for over five years! She’s always placing something delicious in front of me. Hope you find some chill in your weekend. xo

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Water Meditation

Interested in mindfulness and meditation? Check this out.

Sup pups? I wanted to kick off the week with a Monday morning meditation. A few weeks ago we focused on the trees and this week I’m thinking water.  Remember, our goal is simple mindfulness or awareness. We’re noticing the sensations in our mind, heart and body in the present moment. Watching without judgment. If you can watch yourself and your actions you can control them or at least begin to understand them more fully.

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Similar to the tree meditation, we simply want to notice water. Recognize the significance of water in your life. If you think you’re already there, try giving thanks or offering gratitude each time you receive the positive benefits of water. It’s practically impossible, yeah? It would consume your whole day. Afterall we are more water than blood.

After you finish reading this post, be mindful of your interactions with water today. Think about how you’ve already made use of water. Did you brush your teeth? Make coffee? Wash your face? How will you use water during the next few hours? Maybe you’ll flush a toilet, wash your hands, or do a load of laundry. Beyond using water today, what are you wearing, eating and using that has already consumed water? It takes 1,800 gallons of water just to grow enough cotton for a pair of blue jeans and that doesn’t take into account the rest of the process. A single pound of meat takes more than 2,400 gallons of water to produce. Water is our lifeblood and yet we take it for granted.

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We tend to only pay attention to water if there’s a problem or scarcity. Water is seen as expendable and probably will be until shortages impact each of us directly. We water lawns, wash cars and maintain golf courses in the desert. We are running the earth dry and it’s starting to become apparent, just read about the disappearance of the Aral Sea pictured above.

Embrace the precious nature of water and treat it accordingly. Katie and I have a sister between us, Kristin, and her and her husband Ryan had a very touching elopement ceremony in which they incorporated a glass jar of water. A few of us were gathered in the snowy Pennsylvania woods one February while Kristin and Ryan held up the glass jug and explained the importance of water in their relationship. Water to them is symbolic of life. When they share their water with each other or their friends, they are quite literally offering them life. Kristin and Ryan never take their offering of water for granted and in turn are touched each time they share sips. Then they each took a sip of water before passing the jar around to each of us in attendance. After hearing Kris and Ryan explain it this way, I’ve never looked at water any differently. Each time someone offers me a sip of water, I find it to be a deeply meaningful gesture. An offering of life.

We all know that water is significant, but do we recognize it fully? Are we grateful? Do we do anything to ensure clean water for our future besides paying the water bill? Try your hardest today to begin to simply appreciate the role of water in your life. No matter the beverage, with each sip, stay present with how the water in it nourishes your body. When you wash your hands, really feel the water on your skin instead of rushing to dry it off. When you move throughout the world today notice the water around you whether it’s a miniscule amount in a plastic bottle or the coastline of the Pacific, but most of all notice that it’s there. Consider yourself lucky. Over 700 million people world-wide do not have access to clean water. Notice the abundance of water in your life and recognize that you are privileged.

 

Photos : 1+2 / 3

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Two Bits

We want to break down these internet barriers and invite you into our lives and we’re hoping you’ll do the same.  You are welcome to share a bit of your week or day in the comments, or if they’re better represented by a photo, tag us on instagram @liveseasoned.

live seasoned seasoned view july-1-4

Sarah Here :

Hey babies! I can’t believe July is a quarter over… for someone who strives to live in the present moment I feel myself grasping at each July day every single year, without fail. Here I am, sweating in ninety degree heat, taking four showers a day and trying to add a little summer vacation feel to each moment. So far, so good.

This week, I’ve filled my days by climbing a bunch, practicing yoga on the mosquito-infested deck, taking long woodsy walks with the dogs and clocking into the darkroom well after dinner time and staying until it’s about time for the sun to rise. I’ve also done a fair amount of procrastinating my digital editing work by way of reading. My two new books are The Nature Fix: Why Nature Makes us Happier, Healthier, and More Creative  and How Emotions Are Made: The Secret Life of the Brain. They’re both so damn good that I have to keep switching back and forth between them.

On Monday, I head to Seattle to reconnect with a friend I met while trekking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. I’m excited to soak up some nature on the west coast and just take in the vast expanse of earth that I sometimes forget about while living here in the east. That’s not to say the east doesn’t have some sweet spots, but maybe they aren’t as apparent as epic views of the Olympics, ya know? I am planning to tackle this beast of a day hike in the Adirondacks later this month though, have any of you tried it? Apparently you summit ten peaks over the course of 25 miles. Wanna join? I’ll give you the weekend to think about it.

 

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Yoga Postures for Sleeping

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Good morning! Did you get a good sleep? I’m the best sleeper I know, always the last to drag myself out of bed. I think of sleep as a great luxury in life and I treat it as such, treasuring each moment. I love you sleep. There, I said it.

Moving on.  Often times when I lay down in bed at night, I assume a yoga position to fall asleep in. Nothing crazy like a headstand, more like the postures that are meant for rest, I bet you can think of a popular one… ding, ding, ding, shavanasa better known as corpse pose. Let’s start there:

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Independence Day Eats & Treats

Happy Fourth Y’all! This post was originally published in 2015, but we think it’s still relevant 😉 Now I gotta go blast a Bruce Springsteen album while I consume and entire watermelon and light a bunch of sparklers.

JULY

As shown from top to bottom, left to right:

Watermelon Mint Salad     Mint Agua Fresca     Homemade Pizza Four Ways

Mint Simple Syrup Mojito     Cashew Fruit Dip

Watermelon Gazpacho     Mint Ice Cream     Rosemary Infused Bloody Marys

 

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Seasoned View : Vol. 27

Each month we share our Seasoned View.  Snapshots of nature and daily life taken by the Seasoned sisters. Find our archive of past months’ views here.

Happy Monday y’all! It’s July, unquestionably my favorite month of the year. Growing up, Katie and I would have joint birthday parties at the local pool. I still remember splashing around in the sun, getting out only when the smell of the grill wafted over, shivering with blue lips and being wrapped up in a big fuzzy towel then sitting down and opening a pile of presents. I truly feel all kinds of grateful when I think about the happy childhood I had, but seriously, how lucky are July babies? Pool parties every year! Here’s a few summer shots to tide you over at your work station this month.

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You can upload one or all of these photos to use as your desktop background or even as phone and tablet wallpapers.  Simply click on the download link below each photo and save the image.  Enjoy!

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