The Liebster Award!


Thank you to 59 National Parks for nominating us for the Liebster Award!  Don and Shelly are traveling to all 59 National Parks in the United States in 59 weeks, all the while blogging about their journey and adventures.  Be sure to check them out!  59 National Parks, Welcome to Summit Chicks’ home state of Virginia for your recent visit to Shenandoah National Park.

The Liebster Award is a Blogstöcken (Blogstöcken translated means Blog Stick).  This award has been around for nearly a decade (I tried to find a specific year, but couldn’t find sites that all agreed on when this started).  The idea is to tag bloggers with fewer than 3,000 followers to learn more about them and their blogs – and, of course, to spread the good word, hopefully gaining a greater following in the blogging world.

The Rules:

  1. Link the Person who “tagged” you.
  2. Answer the 11 questions that the person has asked you.
  3. Look for 11 Bloggers and nominate them.
  4. Come up with your own 11 questions for your 11 nominees.

By participating you may gain additional visibility for your blog and learn more about other bloggers with similar interests.  Plus, it’s fun.


Our Answers to 59 National Parks’ Questions:

Since we’re a two hiker team for this blog, we decided to offer both POVs for each question.


1.  What steps do you take to minimize the chances of getting lost on the trail?

J: I don’t.  Should I be?  I guess this is why I don’t hike alone.

R: Stay on it to the extent I can. If I leave the trail, I pay attention to landmarks, odd rocks, tree formations, whatever is unique. I’m bad about taking a map and compass with me, so going off piste is generally something I avoid.


2.  What three things do you pack for a hike to assure your safety?

J: Band -Aids, bug spray, a whistle.

R: 1) Band-Aids – you never know when blisters will strike, 2) Hiking poles – keep your footing sure on the trail and serve as self defense as needed, 3) water – staying dehydrated is usually my biggest safety issue.  Oh, and I recently discovered that the day pack I use most often comes with a built-in whistle.  Is that common and I never paid attention?  It’s brilliant whoever designed that.


3.  What is the one thing that you carry on a hike to contribute to your comfort?

J:  Dry socks!

R: Toilet paper.


4.  What hikes do you have planned for the balance of 2014?

J: I’m super excited to hike Mt. Washington.  That’s the only thing I have nailed down, but I’m sure there will be others.

R: 5 highpoints in New England this summer with Jill – CT, MA, VT, NH, RI.  This fall, I’m taking on Grays and Torreys Peak in Colorado as well as Kansas’ HP (Mt. Sunflower – a drive up, but with our focus on highpointing, it earns a place among the 14ers of the same trip).


5.  What is the funniest thing that ever happened to you or a companion on the trail?

J: When we were hiking in West Virginia a snotty woman looked at us and said, “Oh, we must be getting close to the end.”  We were offended, and wondered what about us made it look like we wouldn’t make it too far into a hike.  So on the way back I took against some guys who weren’t yielding the narrow trail and said in my snottiest voice, “Oh, we must be getting close to the end.”

R: My brother decided to goof off toward the end of a 1.5 mile rock scramble (in a 9 mile hike) and began leaping over my head (see below).  He’s a good man to have along on the trail for comic relief.



6.  Describe the hike where you saw the most different types of wildlife.  What did you see?

J: This would have to be in Colorado when we saw buffalo and big horned sheep.  I’m hoping to see a moose this summer.

R: I generally only see a few things on any given hike. The most notable were marmots on Rainier and Elbert (below, left). Those are always fun. For VA’s highpoint (Mt. Rogers), the wild ponies made an impression on me – they come right up to you like you’re their house guest and they’ve come to welcome you.  Or like they’re needy children and demand to be fed by you.  The brown pony below attempted to steal my sandwich several times.  A PB&J (see my answer to #9).


7.  How important do you regard photography to the success of the hikes you take?

J: Pictures are so important!  I can’t hike with anyone who doesn’t understand this.

R: I nearly always have a camera with me when I hike. I’m a visual person, so I like to have a record of everything I see. If I don’t have a camera, it was not an intentional decision.  Besides, if I didn’t, I’d run the risk of not capturing sunrises like this around 11,000 feet.



8.  Have you ever lost something while hiking or camping that you valued or that was valuable?  What was it?

J: Not yet.

R: Knock on wood, not yet.


9.  Do your hikes involve a meal?  Describe a typical hiking snack, lunch or dinner.

J: My hikes haven’t involved much more than a PB&J or a bag of grapes yet.

R: Usually PB&J for day hikes. When I have to fly to my hiking destination, I stock up at a local grocery store before hitting the trail. I like to buy the pre-made frozen Smuckers PB&J; they seem to hold up well, withstanding the weight of my pack. I usually have pretzel M&Ms and cashews or almonds in my pocket for more mammoth climbs.


10.  Why do you blog about your hiking and camping experiences?

J: It was the natural extension of the enthusiasm we have for highpointing.  Plus our husbands may have been slightly sick of listening to us talk about highpointing so we had to share with the internet.  It has been so much fun, and a great outlet.

R: I have something to say that seems to be connecting with others. I had about 7 highpoints under my belt before we started really writing about them. Just sharing an album on Facebook, along with the status update didn’t seem like enough. Blogging gives me the chance to assemble all of my adventures in one place and share it with those who are interested.


11.  Do you enjoy hiking and camping with children?  Why or why not?

J: I love hiking with my kids.  We go at least once a month, and I love seeing them improve.  We haven’t camped yet (unless you count in the back yard), but my son starts scouts this year!

R: If I can, I do. When I was training for Rainier, I used to carry my then 2 year old in the hiking carrier. She generally wouldn’t stay put for as long as I needed the weight, but it mostly worked for at least 2 miles. More recently, at the age of 4, we hiked together on my birthday in the snow. We weren’t prepared for the snow and she was such a good sport, even in the wrong shoes.


Overall, it depends on my objective. If I’m after a tough peak, I need to leave her in someone else’s care; she’s still too young to join me. If I’m in search of quality time where I don’t care about making a summit or completing a hike, absolutely – I love having her with me for all of those. A few weeks ago, I chaperoned her first field trip which involved some light hiking. She and I held hands and talked about what we saw, all the while a huge smile on her face. She was so proud to have me there and I knew, at that moment, I was exactly where I was supposed to be.




The 11 Bloggers We Chose for the Liebster Award:

1) Abundant Adventure @dixtyadventures

2) America’s Roof (no twitter)

3) AWOL Backpacking @AWOLbackpacking

4) Brian & Ashley’s Hiking Blog @ABHikingblog

5) The Disabled Hiker @IgmuTanka5

6) Highpointers of Odin (no twitter)

7) Man Camping @man_camping

8) Meanderthals Hiking @netbros

9) Outbound Dan @danielhuman

10) Two4Adventure @Two4Adventure  (they hashtag beer – what’s not to like?)

11) Two Heel Drive, A Hiking Blog @tommangan



Questions for our Blog Selections:

  1. What is your favorite piece of gear?
  2. What specific mountain or hike is your ultimate goal/dream hike?
  3. What skill should every hiker possess?
  4. What is your favorite state (or country) to hike in?
  5. What is your favorite hobby aside from blogging and hiking?
  6. Describe an encounter with the craziest person you have ever met on the trail. (Hopefully, it wasn’t one of us!)
  7. If you could have a hiking super power what would it be?
  8. What food do you dream about on the trail?
  9. What is your favorite place to see a sunrise or sunset?
  10. How do you reconcile caffeine addiction with starting on the trail before the sun is up?  Please don’t tell us you’re not a coffee addict… We seriously need to know your strategy.
  11. What is the most obscure piece of gear you use?


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