Hiker of the Week – Karen Smith

12180683_505709716266865_1943737396_oIt’s fitting that I was chosen as Hiker of the Week in October. In my opinion fall is THE best time to hike in Pennsylvania. All feels right in the world when the morning is chilly, the trees are beautiful reds and oranges and yellows, and the leaves are crunchy underfoot – even the fragrance of fall is a delight.

Since photography is an important part of hiking for me, I particularly love this season. One of my favorite fall quotes is “Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting, and autumn a mosaic of them all.” —- Stanley Horowitz

My favorite hiking companions have been my mom and my daughter (previous Hiker of the Week Cassie Smith and now an HBF Team member). We have always enjoyed nature walks, and when Cassie was a baby, I pushed her stroller on the trails at Canoe Creek which was quite a challenge at times. It’s so rewarding to know that I played a part in my daughter’s love of nature and hiking.

Of course Cassie doesn’t join me on every hike now, but our dogs Sunny and Marcy do. Making sure they get plenty of exercise is a necessity and a joy. We often hike before and after work until the days become too short. We live for the weekends when we have more time to explore the mountains and forests. Since I’m cooped up in an office from 8-5, I spend as much time as I can in the fresh air and sunshine… or rain… or snow… Most of our vacations center around nature and the outdoors – from weekend getaways all over our and neighboring states – to our family vacations in places such as Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon.

Although I have been known to complain about the heat and humidity of Pennsylvania summers, I appreciate all of our four seasons. I guess I’m kind of like the mailman, “neither snow, nor rain, nor heat, nor gloom of night….”

Oooh that quote reminds me that although I have started hikes before dawn and ended them in the dark, I have never hiked in the “gloom of night”. Since I have been thinking of doing a night hike during a full moon, I must go consult my sunrise/sunset/moon phase calendar… Happy hiking everyone!

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