As many of my readers know, I love to hike. The exercise energizes my body while the scenery invigorates my senses. I am never alone on the trail. Sometimes, I am accompanied by with my faithful Newf Fergus, my loving husband, one of my boys, or a good friend. Regardless of who is with me, I spend a lot of time in my own thoughts. It is my time to recharge and relax. That may seem a bit contradictory, but it is true. My body and senses get a workout, while my brain gets a bit of a rest.

These pictures were from a 2017 hike with my best friend, her daughter and my son. When we picked Old Rag, in the Shenandoah National Park, my son advised me that it was strenuous rock scramble, but I could handle it. My vision of a rock scramble and his, were slightly different! Some of the spaces we had to squeeze through (like the last picture) were pretty tiny. That didn’t bother me. However, scaling the rock face, when I am terrified of heights, is an issue. He led the way and told me where to put my hands and feet so that I didn’t miss a step. He was a really good guide! Sights were spectacular. Close to the top, I had to jump across a 3-foot rock crevice. If I missed, it was about 20-feet into a nasty place. I was ready to turn back until he reminded me that I would have to go down what I just climbed up. That was definitely a worse option as he promised the route down the mountain was easier. I tossed my bag across, closed my eyes and prepared to jump. He stopped me.  He jumped first and told me to focus on him and have faith. I made that leap of faith. It was worth the effort. The road down the mountain was a fire road and much easier for the trek down. The hike was 9.8 miles long and an elevation of 2,608 feet.

To make this hike, which is rated as one of the top hikes in the world (Outside Online), took a lot of preparation. I had been training for months for the Avon39, a 39-mile walk over 2 days as a fund raiser for breast cancer. Each week, I was logging almost 100 miles of walking. We had to have the right gear – shoes, water, backpacks, and sunscreen. Knowing the trail had no cell phone service, we needed a few copies of a map (just in case one blew away). We watched the weather for a good day to hike but avoided weekends as the trail gets busy. Finally, I had to mentally prepare, as I am not good with heights!

Yes – there is a link to quilting in this. Preparing for this hike is a lot like preparing for a quilting project. Preparation is important. You need the right tools, a plan, good instructions (a map), time to do it without interruption, and the faith that you can do it. Sometimes, you need to reach out and ask for help. The most important aspects are patience and letting go of your fear.

This is leading to one of my recent quilt designs, Backpack Journeys. This pattern uses the beautiful panels from Hoffman Fabrics’s Sleeping Under the Stars collection. You can probably see why one of these panels reminded me of my Old Rag hike. The panel is framed them with a foundation pieced border. It finishes at 58″ x 49″ and incorporates beautiful batiks and prints.

We hope you enjoy this pattern and the beautiful panels as much as we do! The pattern is now available for purchase at our shop for retail and wholesale.

Happy Quilting!