Summer break is in full swing for most of us. Classes ended for me at the end of April and for most high school students, classes ended the last week of May. This week I realized that a month of my break has already flown by and I don’t have a lot to show for it.

Last year I took the biggest trip of my life (so far) and flew out to Portland, Oregon, for eight days in August. This year, I’m a little stumped on where to go and what to do. Earlier this week I went ahead and put in for vacation the week of my birthday (Aug. 11-17) and decided if nothing else, Caesar and I could take day trips around Ohio.

In the past few years, I’ve grown to love going to places with trees and mountains more than places with bustling cities. I’d rather hike than shop and I’d rather be in a secluded area than around hundreds of strangers.

Not long ago, Jim Langham wrote a story about a teacher who spent her summer hiking a 500 mile trail. Then, recently, I watched a video about a man and his dog that hike trails all over North America. I bought his book which tells about their thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail. These stories are inspiring, yet perplexing to me.

When I see a story online about a person who travels with their dog all over, I wonder how they afford to do so. Where do they get their money? How do they eat? Where do they live and how do they afford it? I wish I knew the magical secret because that would be the dream for me.

I suppose if I had to chose what I would do with my week in August, I would love to spend a week tackling a very long trail. But unfortunately, most people don’t just wake up one day and spend a week walking 50-100 miles without a lot of training. And, August isn’t really the ideal time to be hiking with a German Shepherd; it’s too hot! (For both of us! Is it fall yet?)

My likes and dislikes have changed immensely over the past eight years that I’ve had Caesar. Out of high school, I thought since track and cross country were in my past that I’d never want to willingly travel any sort of long distance with my legs again. Yet, eight years later I find it thrilling to see how far Caesar and I can hike. Unfortunately, Caesar isn’t getting any younger. This weekend he turns eight and according to his Embark DNA test he’s around 63 human years. Not many 63 year olds are getting excited about hiking 10 miles or more a day.

Because of Caesar’s age, I know if we are going to do a long hike like that we would need to do it sooner than later.

I’m interested to learn if there are more people in the area who enjoy long hikes and how they prepare for them. The most Caesar and I have ever done in a day was 10 miles last October in Cuyahoga and I fully believe we both could easily have done more.

Maybe I won’t get to spend this August hiking 15-20 miles a day for a week, but I hope that activity is in my near future. I think there is a lot to be learned about yourself by going outside into nature and walking until you want to fall over.