Getting my Nevada State Parks Passport

nevada state parks passport - val in real life

I spent many of my years in Georgia exploring the vast offerings of its state park system. Much of that was with Fred and George in tow as we pursued the Parks GeoTour and History Trail GeoTour geocaching challenges. Through that effort, we got to know the state and the Georgia State Parks and Historic Sites in depth. Now that …

Love Note to the Peach State

love note to the peach state

Oh Peach State, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways—mountains, swamps, beaches, rivers, pinelands, farms, waterfalls, museums, gardens, rich history, beautiful people. The list goes on and on. You hold so many special places and experiences within your boundaries. I know I left. I’m sorry. It was time. Twenty-two years we spent together—living life and weathering its ups …

Embracing Nevada: A Georgia Girl Moves West

Embracing Nevada - Val in Real Life

Twenty-two years. Half of my life. That’s how long I’ve called the Atlanta area home. (The other half was in Florida, for those that aren’t in the know.) And now I’ve left the southeast. Sort of… More on that in a moment. My tapestry… I’ve talked about the art of living with you before in a slightly different context. But largely I …

Celebrating Winter

Here in the Peach State, winter is a conundrum. The respite from summer’s brutal heat is welcome yet we don’t have the benefit of snow to liven up our outdoor adventures. In fact, snow here is quite catastrophic… just sayin’. But as hard as cold, rainy, dreary winter weeks like this one has been, I still actually appreciate winter in …

Pay it Forward

If you follow me on Instagram and Facebook, you know that one of my favorite local haunts are the trails in the Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area because I post pictures from there… often. One of the reasons I like this park is that the trails are a web of small segments so you can mix-and-match to make your hike …

The Pacific Northwest Tour – Week 7

Week 7 of the Pacific Northwest tour marks the end of our journey this time around. I wish I could say it wasn’t mostly just driving but we did try to break it up. I fact, this ended up being our biggest week of geocaching as we used the sport to add life to our drive. What I was up …

The Pacific Northwest Tour: Week 1

I’m one week into the Pacific Northwest tour and I find myself in Cortez, Colorado. I’m currently hunkered down in a hotel room trying to catch up on work. The whirlwind of a 1,700+ mile drive to Arizona followed by the chaos Overland Expo hasn’t left a lot of free time to process images and events but in an effort …

Postcards from Real Life: Building Bridges

Last weekend I scooted off to the Georgia Nature Photographers Association’s annual expo at Unicoi State Park. As you can imagine, an event like this is energizing in many ways. Getting to catch up with friends, letting my inner photography nerd run free amongst fellow enthusiasts, and meeting other inspiring photographers are just a few of the advantages. Our keynote …

Around Atlanta: LEGOLand Discovery Center

A few weeks ago, the Camp Granola crew was invited to visit the LEGOLand Discovery Center in Atlanta. While my preference is obviously for parks and museums, there is obviously a good bit of educational value to be had through LEGO activities. The boys were excited by the opportunity to get their LEGO on so I stuffed away my dislike …

Adventures in Leave No Trace Training

Last week I set out to add another piece to my outdoor-chick toolbox. Having secured my Southern Appalachian Naturalist Certification last year and renewed my Wilderness First Aid certification in January, I had nothing else on my radar. But when my dear, insane soul-sister, Karan of E-Corps, told me in no uncertain terms I needed to join her for a …