Hiking the Day Away

Good morning!

This is probably the coolest picture ever:


Yes — that would be Matt on our hike yesterday! He’s fun to hike with because he’s part monkey, part Tigger… and a former gymnast :) We were all obsessed with this fun swinging bridge!


Matt and I and three of my grad school friends all went for the hike, which was about 5 miles worth of trails (~2.5 hours) over in Eno River State Park!


We hiked the Cox Mountain and Fanny Ford Trails. A perfect activity for a perfect fall day. I love hiking because it’s great exercise… but it doesn’t feel like it because you’re too busy having fun!


(Can you tell Elle — second from the right — used to be a figure skater? :) I was so impressed with her graceful pose! Ha)

Here are some of my favorite photos from the day:

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What a gorgeous day. I’m loving fall in North Carolina!

After hiking, we headed over to see Matt’s brother, Chris, and his wife Jess in Raleigh!


It was great seeing them and catching up on their newlywed lives :) I still can’t believe the last time we saw them was their wedding in June and they only live 30 minutes away!

They made us an awesome dinner, too: Baked Tilapia with a Homemade Olive, Tomato, & Cilantro Salsa Topping (from a Rachel Ray cookbook):


Sautéed spinach and rice:


Plus a roll. All together now!


Yum! Thanks again for treating us, Chris and Jess :) Next time we’ll host you!

And now — I’m off for a busy day at school! We have food science lab tonight (stay tuned for another fun recap), plus I have a bunch of group project meetings beforehand, too. This is definitely crunch time with school, especially since I’m leaving town on Wednesday morning and missing a test, which I have to make up tomorrow morning! Yikes.

How do I combat stress? Exercise! No matter how busy I am, I never put exercise on the back burner (unless I really physically need a rest day, of course). If it means getting up early, so be it. I know I’ll be glad I did! This morning, I met my friend Jillian on campus bright and early at 6:20 a.m. to go swimming in the UNC pool!


We’ve discovered we can park on campus until 7:30 a.m., so that makes things way easier. So lucky to have this resource at my disposal — it was nice to mix things up with some non-impact exercise! We swam for about 45 minutes. Jillian swam in college, so she’s super fast — it was good motivation to try to keep a respectable pace, myself ;)

And I’m off — have a wonderful day!


  1. 1

    That picture of Matt is amazing!

  2. 2

    I really love hiking, for some of the same reasons. I love nature, and hiking is exercise that doesn’t feel like work at all.

  3. 3

    I love that you put exercise first no matter how busy you are. I need to do this. But sometimes it’s just so hard!
    P.s Matt is crazy!

  4. 4

    Great pictures. Is that an owl or a cat in the next to the last tree pic?

  5. 5

    Swimming is my choice exercise – hope you enjoyed it. It’s the best way to start a morning. Honestly.

  6. 6

    What a great hiking trip!!! The outdoor fall photos are the best.

  7. 7

    Ok that photo is making me nervous. I’m hoping there wasn’t a huge drop under that bridge. Because my goodness that’s so dangerous.

    And now I’m going before I start sounding even MORE like my mom.

  8. 8

    hey Ann, Matt looks hillarious!

  9. 9

    TOTALLY feel you about exercising during crunch time. First semester senior year I didn’t exercise during midterms and just felt AWFUL. I learned my lesson…now I make time even for 20 minutes on the elliptical with a study guide!

  10. 10

    I LOVE hiking, especially during the fall with all the pretty colors and leaves. the exercise during almost-break-but tons of work time is a dilemma for me too. I have an exam and presentation today and a BIG exam tomorrow, but I’m not skipping yoga tonight. Plus yoga will help me destress and relax!

  11. 11

    Aah, I get so excited whenever someone blogs about hiking! Love the photos, especially that big tree!

  12. 12

    Lucky you! I dated a former gymnast this summer, and took him hiking for the first time; it was fun to show him around the mountains. Maybe one day he’ll work up to doing inversions on bridges, too!

  13. 13

    Ahhh I love hiking! Esp with the changing of the leaves AND some friends :)

    Kudos to you for waking so early to swim! Swimming is such a great exercise. I wish I was a little better at it ;)

  14. 14

    I love swimming! it’s one of my favorite workouts!

  15. 15

    It looks like you had so much fun hiking. I wanted to go yesterday with my daughter, but we ended up raking leaves instead. We still had a good time :)

  16. 16

    Hiking with friends, tilapia with relatives, and an early morning swim. Nice existence! fANNEtastic, in fact!

  17. 17

    Sounds like a perfect day! Toly and I went hiking this weekend too. It will probably be the last time we can get in a good hike before the winter so we took advantage of the beautiful weather.

    Great dinner party. I love friends that know how to cook. ;)

  18. 18

    I LOVE hiking on the Eno — its one of Julep’s favorites too :)
    …and great picture!

  19. 20

    Ahhh I’m so jealous of your beautiful woods and the fact you have full access to a olympic size swimming pool!!

  20. 21

    What gorgeous nature photos! The tilapia looks pretty good too!

  21. 22

    I love the pictures! We don’t get fall down here in Florida so I am very jealous! ;)

    Like you, I never put exercise on the back burner. Working out is the thing I look forward to most during the day because it is the only time I have to myself and I can de-stress! :)

  22. 23

    Great minds think alike Anne! We went hiking this weekend also! I hope the weather was as beautiful for you as it was for us :) It looks like it was! And YUM. That food looks so goood!

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