35th Birthday Hike – Lassiter Trail

April 1, 2010 at 1:04 pm 9 comments

I was actually on the verge of punking out on my birthday hike this year. With a busy work schedule and a wedding in just two days, I felt a little pressed for time. If I was left to my own devices, I likely would not have gone out. Luckily, I wasn’t left to my own devices! Ryan surprised me by taking off work (That’s two years in a row he’s taking off work to go hiking on my birthday). He got coffee started, woke me up and explained the planned route. “You can work in the car,” he volunteered (which I did!).

And so, on my 35th birthday, we went hiking at Merchant’s Millpond State Park on the Lassiter Trail.

Footwear – Vibram Five Fingers
This was the inaugural hike for some new footwear! We both hiked in our relatively new Vibram Five Fingers!

Once on a day hike, I spent about 7 miles exclusively on rocks. Suddenly I came across soft, dark soil. It felt so nice– it was like walking on clouds. Because of that experience I definitely thought I was in tune with the terrain. But really, I wasn’t at all. I was downright oblivious.

In the Vibram Five Fingers, you are much more aware of what you are walking on. You can feel the tree roots underneath you or perhaps the sand or mud. Nothing hurts– even walking on gravel or the spikey black gum balls is pain-free. Still, I found myself much more connected with the earth beneath me and I had one more sensation to add to my hike experience. I will definitely be hiking in them again!

35th Birthday Hike - Vibram Five Fingers (by Ryan Somma)
Vibram Five Fingers (Photo by Ryan Somma)

Feeling Young
Early on in the trail, some trail maintainers gave me a way to still feel young. I may be 35, but at least I’m not as old as this tree! (I’m not dead either).

35th Birthday Hike - Vicky Counts Rings (Close) (by Ryan Somma)
Comparing Myself to the Tree (Photo by Ryan Somma)

Since it was one of the first warm days, we got to see a lot of sunning turtles. Those little guys are pretty skittish. To steal a phrase from my brother– “An ant taking a dump on a piece of cotton” would make them plop back into the swamp. Ryan had to be super stealth and use a mega zoom lenses to snag these.

35th Birthday Hike - Two Sunning Turtles (by Ryan Somma)
Two Turtles (Photo by Ryan Somma)

35th Birthday Hike - Turtles and Red Maple Flowers
Three Turtles (Photo by Ryan Somma)

35th Birthday Hike - Five Sunning Turtles (by Ryan Somma)
Five Turtles (Photo by Ryan Somma)

35th Birthday Hike - Lots of Sunning Turtles  (by Ryan Somma)
#($*&$#(* Lots of Turtles!!!! (Photo by Ryan Somma)

As far as birthday hikes go, it was a shorter hike– we only did 6.7 miles. But it was absolutely lovely out and a fabulous way to get grounded for the rest of the week’s excitement!

More pictures from my 35th Birthday Hike can be found on my Flickr site.

Merchant’s Millpond State Park – Lassiter Trail

Trail Map

Additional Blog Post on Lassiter Trail

Length: 6.7 mile loop

Elevation Gain: Negligible

Directions from Elizabeth City, NC

Take US-17 North

Turn left on US-158 (there will be a brown sign for Merchant’s Millpond State Park)

Travel roughly 25 miles, passing an entrance to the park

Turn left on Honey Pot Road

Turn left into the next park entrance

Entry filed under: Hiking, Merchant's Millpond State Park, Turtle, Vibram Five Fingers.

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9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. geekhiker  |  April 1, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    How do you think the Vibrams would do on sharp Sierra Granite, or crossing a skree slope?

    Glad you feel young. I think I may have hurt my foot on my last hike, and I’m feeling ollllld!

  • 2. tgaw  |  April 1, 2010 at 2:41 pm

    @geekhiker– that is actually a super good question. We pretty much have NO elevation gain here. On this particular hike, it was completely flat.

    Now– one day I was jogging in them and went up one of the few inclines we have around here— and I did feel like it was harder than running shoes.

    Once in Colorado, I ran into a guy hiking a 14er in completely bare feet. He claimed it was easier.

    I’m going to visit my family for Easter– perhaps I can find some hillier trails to try it out on.

    Again very good question– I’ll try to report back to you!

  • 3. Kitty  |  April 12, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Awesome and happy birthday! I love the idea of a birthday hike! I might have to start that tradition for me too! When’s your birthday? Must be close to mine… mine is April 9th! This year I did birthday yoga all day, but perhaps for my 30th birthday I’ll hike! Glad you had fun!

  • 4. Angel  |  April 14, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    ! I didn’t know you also joined the Cult of Vibram, too!

    I love them but I got some pretty bad heel blisters the first time I walked in them more than a couple miles. Things definitely got better when I bought a pair of Injinji socks but, man, I think I have wussy feet. 🙂

    I’m hoping to take them out in a few weeks on the Billy Goat trail up here.

  • 5. Knapperbill  |  April 14, 2010 at 9:58 pm

    Great post on the Vibrams! I’ve been looking at these for a time now for kayaking and general hiking. I think you may have just inspired me to bite the bullet and get a pair. Thanks!

  • 6. Tree on Tree Fail – R.I.P. Baby Pine « TGAW  |  May 14, 2010 at 5:04 am

    […] revisited it during my 35th Birthday Hike, roughly a year later. Alas, the baby pine had […]

  • 7. Hiking in Vibrams – Old Rag « TGAW  |  June 8, 2010 at 8:13 am

    […] 8, 2010 For my 35th Birthday hike, Ryan and I did a 6.7 mile hike in our Vibram Five Fingers. But– it was a flat hike mostly on […]

  • […] I had a boyfriend to hike with me and that was quite nice. Birthday Hike 2010, that boyfriend and I practiced our first wedding dance surrounded by Long-Leaf Pines. Birthday Hike 2011, I hiked with our first son squirming in my belly. Birthday Hike 2012, that son […]

  • […] A 35th birthday hike in matching KSO Vibram Five Fingers! — ah nothing like enjoying your “birthday shoes” on your birthday! […]


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