My Recreational Drug: Mountains

Mar 08, 2022My Store Admin

Surrounded by deep, rich green trees, pockets of warm sun rays, and the swish of crisp air filling my lungs, I’m rebooted in ways I can’t explain. Being in the mountains is my drug of choice, my therapy of choice, and the quickest recharge for my mind and spirit. I’ve been having a deepening love affair with mountains ever since I started P.S. & Co. Each year, I hike a little more. Each year, I learn a new way to explore them. This winter, I pushed my worries about the shop aside and booked two separate day trips to learn how to ice hike and ice climb.


Ice hiking with Valley to Summit was a wonderful way to experience an easy ice experience as my first go. Tommy took me for my 44th birthday! We learned how to navigate in crampons and ascent/decent small hills on deeply packed snow and ice. Our trusty guides led us on an approximate 5-6 mile hike through Rickets Glen's many frozen waterfalls. We hiked about 3-4 hours with a lunch break in between.


The scenery was stunning with running water beneath delicate layers of ice. The most beautiful icicle formations ranged from mushroom tops to sharp daggers. The pace was leisurely. The climbs were not strenuous. It allowed us to enjoy the majestic beauty of winter. Our group was also relatively fit. So much so that we surpassed two other groups ahead of us!

Tommy and I were in the middle in terms of age among our group of 20 hikers; 3 of our fellow hikers were much younger in their twenties; the rest of our group appeared to be in their 60s and 70s. It was inspiring to see all of us at different stages of life witnessing mother nature’s wintery beauty. (It’s a wonderful excursion to do with parents and kids alike.)

My next excursion was ice climbing with the Cliffs which is an indoor rock-climbing gym with locations in NYC and Philly. We met in the Catskills, and our guide Dustin spontaneously chose a better spot than originally planned. We settled in Stonyclove at “The Playground”. We hiked a steep climb to a façade of cliffs just tall enough for us beginners to taste - while still being safe. I was the least experienced. I had only climbed twice in an indoor climbing gym. None of us in the group ever climbed outside.


The week prior, I took a belay course to give me some clue how to tie knots and belay. Ice climbing was exponentially more exciting than ice hiking - no offense to ice hiking! I was pushed mentally and physically. When I was climbing on icicles, my mind was clear. I could only focus on the task at hand. How do I scale this ice with the least amount of effort to save my forearms from gassing out?! As our technical guide, Dustin said, climbing is a craft. Watching Dustin effortlessly climb was like watching someone walk calmly through the park. I was so inspired by our time, I re-upped my Netflix membership to watch “14 Peaks: Nothing is Impossible” and “The Alpinist”. (We also had the best group. Hi Charlene, Kere, and Ryan! Thank you for showing me the ropes and being so patient with a newbie like me.)


I would love to learn how to mountaineer and experience the high peaks. I already spend a few hours a day taking ballet and yoga, how do I fit more time to add in climbing sessions and weighted runs with a 50-75lb pack? Here’s my shameless plug to put an open call for interested operators/managers to help me run and more importantly grow the shop, while I explore the mountains of the world. (I will make you partner and make it worth your while!)

Each of those excursions breathed new life into my jaded, tired spirit. Running a restaurant the past two years during COVID, trying to keep it afloat, navigating all the obstacles and hurdles… all of it has waned on our dedicated staff and me. I couldn’t have made it through without our amazing - and proud to shout to the world - all female management team. They inspire me to make it out successfully, so they, too, can be rewarded. I may not be on-site every day, but any business owner knows the work is 24/7. Even when you’re sleeping, your dreams are filled with solving problems or searching for answers.


I love P.S. & Co, but I also love being in nature pushing through perceived mental and physical limits. Bursting through limits gives me that much-needed boost to make hard decisions and take risks during times when I’m not sure what to do.


I have this burning desire to discover more of nature’s beauty, and how I can be enveloped in her magic. With all the stresses, worries, and uncertainty of life and the modern world, I feel this race against time to experience as much as possible before time gives out.


I’m ready for the next adventure. My birthday present to myself this year was investing in mountaineering boots and this expedition jacket. I haven’t purchased new winter boots or a coat in over a decade. Since I needed replacements, I might as well go all the way and have the gear to take me to the top. I’m ready to start training!


If you are searching for more ways to explore and enjoy the great outdoors near the Philadelphia area, I recommend checking out Valley to Summit and Cliffs. And then, let me know, so I can bring you all the healthy snacks and fuel for your adventure!

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