Hi! I’m Kristen. I teach math at a high school but love to explore every chance I get! Which involves weekends and before and after work. I’m always thinking about the next adventure while working in sunrise and sunset hikes to maintain my sanity during the week. 😍🥾
I haven’t always been hiking this much even though for a while wanted to! I grew up in CT and in high school I always was looking for someone to come up Sleeping Giant (our popular trail in town) with me.
A relationship in my early twenties allowed me to have a built-in hiking partner, and two trail dogs, too! But when that one didn’t work out I found myself not only in need of hiking partners but also a life change. 🤔 I moved to the Berkshires in Massachusetts where I knew no one but was surrounded by all the beauty and charm of small New England towns. (Richmond, Lenox, Great Barrington, Stockbridge- love them all!)
Those 4 years spent in the Berkshires were a special and important growing experience that I didn’t know I needed at the time. I did the opposite of what most of my friends were doing; moving to a city and going out at night (definitely not me 😱) or living in our hometown and settling down.
Instead, in a little mountain Berkshire town of 2,000 people, I spent a lot of time alone, exploring the area, and made beautiful connections and memories where I taught at a sweet little school. When you think about places or experiences that have built you this is the place for me.
While I often wondered what I was doing there (as did most of my family) I now realize that having that time on my own helped me realize what I wanted and develop a strength I needed.
Once I had my fill of the Berkshires (though I love going back to visit!) I moved back to CT in Litchfield County, which is equally as beautiful, and found myself discovering new trails and hikes all around me that I never knew existed in CT. A deep desire to hike again was born!
I started walking a lot in town (long walks in a hilly neighborhood is a great first step!) and transitioned to the local trails that I felt safe visiting alone like White Memorial or Mount Tom but really wanted to get into bigger hikes again.
I decided to stop waiting for other people and joined a local Meetup group where I met the most amazing, kind, and knowledgeable people to hike with. On these Meetup group hikes I was often in the back, catching my breath and realizing how out of hiking shape I was compared to these people who were decades older than me and way ahead on the trail. But this is where I learned about my hiking abilities, became comfortable, built my confidence on the trail. And it’s where I became seriously addicted to hiking again.
Shortly after, I decided to adopt a dog that could come along with me. It took almost a year of searching for adoptable pets, going to adoption events and emailing and applying for dogs I liked until I saw Captain’s litter online and fell in love with them. After all of the meet and greet adoption events, I applied to adopt Captain sight unseen (in person at least) and he was shipped up from Alabama to his new home in CT. My first day meeting him was the day I brought him home and it is one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. Dogs can bring such joy to your life especially when you are living alone.
Just a few months after adopting Captain (and 9 years after that last relationship!) I met Jared and Bauer.🐶 Our first date was a walk in Collinsville with the dogs and we continued to have dates that revolved around hiking ever since. It was amazing to find someone that appreciated and knew all about the hiking spots I loved, too. I think my love language is names of hikes and probably food, too…
Exploring more in the state and around New England, I started to have a deep desire to share all about the hikes I was discovering and the thousands of pictures I would take on my cell phone. I felt like I had valuable info to share and pictures I liked that weren’t doing anything but taking up space.
And more than that, I wanted to connect with people that loved nature and exploring as much as I do. I felt the need to be part of a community and that’s why EarlyBirdontheTrail was born! To share and connect. The friendships made (both online and in person) are really special to me and I love talking to people that understand this hiking obsession and appreciate nature and how it makes you feel.
Hiking heals, maybe not physical ailments (though we can’t rule it out!) but any stress or anxiety of the day slowly leaves with every step. When you are listening to the birds and can hear them over your own thoughts it’s truly a blessing. And if it’s in the morning, even better! 😉
I’m glad you are here and I hope you find inspiration to explore more near you and find some new favorite trails and views in and around CT!
If you want to say hi, have a hiking question, or want to give a suggestion of an area you love to hike in – I’d love to hear from you! 📩
Happy Trails 💗🥾🐾🐶