If I had to describe myself with one word it would be artist - a visual artist and an artist with words. My artwork is included in Ohio Online Visual Arts Registry. I'm working with various galleries in the Midwest to promote my oil paintings and abstract light photography.


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Kayaking in the Hocking Hills

Kayaking in the Hocking Hills and a Women’s Outdoor Weekend

@ Becky Linhardt 2010

 Women have lived with nature as long as men but the stereotypical female is shown as being uncomfortable in the outdoors. “I made a commitment to help people, especially women, reconnect with the beauty in nature,” said Mimi Morrison, director of Touch the Earth Adventures. “Knowledge overcomes many fears.” Over the years Morrison has developed travel programs for women to kayak at various locations throughout the United States but most are based in southeastern Ohio.  Many of her programs such as Moonlight Kayaks or Birding by Kayak are open to all and are held on the lakes that dot the Hocking Hills. 

 A unique Women’s Outdoor Weekend is held each year on Labor Day Weekend and is not to be confused with the “learn to hunt and fish like a guy” type programs.  It is more of a smorgasbord of outdoor related activities and introductory learning sessions so that women know more and can be more comfortable in an outdoor environment.

 When I attended in 2006, I was curious enough about back-packing to attend a session on how to pack, what equipment to buy or rent, and listen to stories about adventures on the lesser traveled trails.  Not for me I decided.  However, a fourteen year old girl who was attending with her grandmother took lots of notes because she hopes to go camping soon though her parents are not the outdoorsy type.

 The weekend is not a camping adventure. Held at Burr Oak State Park, the cost for the weekend includes shared cabin lodgings. “We don’t provide meals.  We found that some people prefer to bring their own food and prepare it or share in food preparation in the cabin kitchens.”  Meals are also available at Burr Oak Lodge near the cabins.

 Clinics and many of the sessions are held in the meeting rooms at the Burr Oak Lodge. Yoga and Pilates were held in a large lower level room with floor to ceiling glass windows looking out to the trees and lake – very relaxing.  When rain threatened, some activities were rescheduled so we would be indoors.

 Outdoors the big attraction is kayaking on Burr Oak Lake.  Tucked into the Hocking Hills, the lake is fairly placid and easy to paddle for novice kayakers – including myself. Morrison’s business, Touch the Earth, has a large inventory of kayaks in a variety of sizes that are available for the participants to use.  After inquiring about the skills levels of each person, matching us to a kayak and outfitting us with life jackets and paddle, we received instructions on shore before a group of about 10 headed out onto the lake. 

 One woman became uncomfortable, not sure she of herself, and wanted to turn back. An experienced guide went back with her and helped her ashore. Determined to learn, the woman joined another group the next day and we congratulated her success as she timidly and then with a bit more confidence paddled with that group.

 Throughout the weekend we had the opportunity to join a kayaking skills clinic, a sunset paddle, and a sunrise birding by kayak excursion – or we could sleep later if we needed the rest  Nature’s healing is always the focus – one that Morrison promotes in all Touch the Earth adventures.

 Touch the Earth: 740-591-9094 or www.hockinghills.com/earthtouch

 2010 Appalachian Adventure Women‘s Outdoor Weekend – September 3-6 for other programs please visit the Touch the Earth web site.

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        As a travel writer it is my responsibility to select the best places, events, and experiences to present to you. Most travel has been on my own though some has occurred on sponsored press trips. Travel listings here will be more informal than my published articles.


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