Category Archives: relationship

Princess Loral Loves Part Primitive

My Honey is part princess—the kind that you would normally think of—glamours dresses, jewelry and makeup. She is also the princess who can rule over her feelings and desires to endure some hardship to get to see the beauty out in nature that she loves so much.  Read her guest blog for tips on how to make it work—successfully see beauty and still maintain a necessary level of comfort.

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doing the check list before our original primitave adventure—ta dah!

She loves beauty so much that we have had rewarding nights in primitive locations. Primitive meaning no facilities, no water, no electricity and only what you can carry for your needs. The reward for such hardship is going to sleep under a full moon, a starry night or the waves crashing on the sand melodically twenty yards away. Or getting to experience a romantic sunset and fire on the beach completely alone—just us. No neighbors, no noise, no city lights and no interruptions.

We have been doing component adventures where we practice as little as one piece at a time of an epic adventure.  We are still putting together all that we need so that I can take her, for example, for 8 days in the Yosemite Wilderness. I want to retrace the steps my buddy Randy and I did so she can see the breathtaking beauty that I did. We are working our way toward epic one component at a time.

There are many aspects of a grander trip that we are now combining as we increase our collective skill. We did our load plan and carefully filled our backpacks to be gone for 48 hours of completely primitive fun. The trade off for my Honey was sand, beach and gulf waves. But we have a total melt down the first night, packed it up the next morning and hiked back to the car…not sure what to do to fix this failure. After a good meal and some soul searching, we decided that with God’s help we would try again and have fun—and we had a blast. What a perfect experience on that beach that night!

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Beach camp fire deep in the sand

After this experience we coined the term partial primitive. We plan to do it again for three nights or so next time because it combines multiple one day loops and time in town. I get the hiking, making camp and living out of our packs in 20 hour chunks at a time; she gets to spend a couple of hours in town dressed in a cute sun dress being taken out to eat. Then we hike back in for adventure and romance alone for the next 20 hours in primitive land.

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back in town for a meal on the beach

This method we found to be inexpensive too.  No fee or a low fee for each night which gives us frugal hikers some wiggle room for a meal in town each day and a cheap hotel if a huge storm comes through. What a wonderful accidental discovery that is now another “our way” of doing some of our outdoor adventures.

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What compromise could you work out with your Honey? Do you have a fun “our way” of doing things that is parts of both of you?

3 Kinds of Debriefing after a Hike

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Sunset on Period Key—we try to work in a sunset every day on the trail.

1. Literally de-brief—we remove all clothing at the door and put them directly into the washing machine. This is a good practice that we didn’t always do. One time after a hike I was babysitting my then three month old granddaughter, Blakely. When my daughter returned and picked Blakely up from my arms, she noticed there was a tick crawling on her blanket. “Great,” I said, “I’ve given Blakely her first tick!”

This event helped to establish the habit my Honey and I now have. We put the clothes in the wash, check each other for ticks and get in the shower.  This process is super overkill but it even takes care of the bugs you might feel that aren’t really there—it’s a phantom feeling because you know they could be.

2. Debrief in the sense of the after action report—what happened, what did you like most and what would you like to change if you could. Read more about how to do this in writing at my Honey’s business blog cowriterpro.com. While the trip is the freshest thing in your memory, talk about it. My Honey and I purposefully use language that is uplifting or constructive. We try to repeat the good things or at least add them to a list of things to repeat. On the flip side we try to eliminate what we weren’t as fond of or figure out how to minimize any problems.

A positive point might be seeing waterfalls and getting in the water. This is a big hit with my Honey. We repeat seeing waterfalls as often as possible. Going slowly enough to see the details of the trail and enjoy the moment is a definite. We pick mileage and sleeping sites that allow us to enjoy the details. This, of course, requires a good map each time. Seeing the sunset each evening is also a must.  Make your list of what really makes the trail awesome for her.

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Enjoying the spray from Fall Creek Falls. This is a definite repeat for us.
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Having a good map is a real positive for us.

An opportunity for improvement in debriefing came after one of our first trips where we slept in a tent. The thing we liked the least was how Loral’s sleep was interrupted by the night noises. We can’t change that we sleep in the dark at night, however, we can mitigate. We discussed simply getting used to it. There are night noises in your house too but your mind filters them out because they belong. They are not signs of danger. When we introduce a new sound the mind has to define it as an ok sound first before we can sleep through it. Then we worked on education—what made the noise and is that dangerous. We discussed trying to be more tired, using ear plugs or a white noise app with earphones. We talked about stretching the tent more tightly so that it made less noise in the wind.

Do an honest assessment like this for each issue. The goal is to keep her enjoying the trip. If she looks forward to what was fun and can anticipate improvement of what she wasn’t as fond of, she is more likely to stay on the trail with you. You like the trail and will go back even if you were soaked, hungry and slept on a rock. She might not—so debrief with real results.

3. The third and final kind of debriefing is also literal. You are home now in a soft bed—you figure it out. I hope you have fun loving on each other out on the trail too, but you are back in your own love nest…get some sleep and celebrate the comfort.

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What are some lovable repeats? opportunities for improvement? I’d love to hear your story.

Details of the Trail

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Delight in the Details—cold clear water…SPLASH!

When I mainly hiked with my guy friends, we would plan mileage and time frames that would really push us—sometimes punish us. We seem to have a better estimate of our physical ability than was real. Getting deep into the woods was so important to the experience…so we would fly though the woods over many miles because we we always short on time. There was usually a cheerful shot out in the human caravan where Von might say, “Man, it would be awesome if we had enough time to actually enjoy this!” And we’d bat around ideas about how we might be able to do that. Or in a particularly tired moment Ralph might let out a pithy quip, “I’m not in any hurry, where’s the fire.”

I was about to do a close up when I realized that everybody was home!
I was about to do a close up when I realized that everybody was home!

Did we have fun? You bet we did! Did we miss a lot of the details? Well, that’s true too.IMG_3308 (1)

Over time, we developed a better sense for what we could do comfortably. And with better knowledge of the trails we planned in more time. Randy would point out, “This will be like a different trail when we do this in the winter.” He point across the valley at an enormous Hemlock tree and say, “Come here, this is beautiful—look at that!” The details were so varied from one season to another that it was a new unique experience but we still missed so much of the beauty.

Mushrooms so pretty they could be flower
Mushrooms so pretty they could be flower

How do we see more details? My Honey changed the pace. My buddy Walt told me, “She will change your life forever!”

IMG_3436 (1)Most of my hiking now is with my Honey and we go much slower. As a direct result we both take in great detail. She and I see things the other does not and share them. We stop and take lots of pictures and examine the little things as well as imagining how there must be 1400 different shades of green on a mountain side. I can’t wait to hike some more with my buddies and share this new skill.

Is Papa Smurf home?
Is Papa Smurf home?

Recently when we were at Fall Creek Falls State Park in Tennessee, we met Wes and Olivia and became new friends. Olivia said, “I used to hike fast until I started hiking with Wes—he sees every detail.” He responded, “It’s the details of the trail that make it worth while.”

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Wearing his bright yellow boots!
Wearing his bright yellow boots!

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Are you happy with what you get to see when you hike? Could you hike the same trail again more slowly just to see the details?

Frozen Head State Park – Tennessee

 

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We rolled in around 5 pm to Frozen Head State Park – Tennessee

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The Ranger’s office was closed but Ranger Joe saw us studying the map, stopped his mower, jumped down and came to see if he could help.  He let us in to use the bathroom and he answered our questions. He said, “Emory Falls is the best short hike for this time of day”. “It’s a 3 mile round trip.”

I asked where there was a good primitive campsite at the highest elevation where we would have a cool summer night. He pointed out Tub Spring camp because it was around 3,000 feet in elevation and it had a real spring. So even in the summer when the seasonal water was gone, there would be water at this site. “We hope to go there this summer,” I told him. He headed back to his mower and we went to follow his advise.

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So happy to be out of the car and on the trail.  We were coming back from Knoxville so we had our hiking legs cooped up for a couple of hours.

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Debord Falls at about .6 miles down the Panther Branch Trail. Down in volume from the spring time but still fun to see.

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My Honey reaching for a bit of refreshment! I love that she has unleashed her desire to be in the water. We plan to always take water shoes and bathing suits from now on. It would have been fun to wade in and splash around a bit.

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Having fun under Debord Falls! Kind of like a photo booth…with water.

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A cairn marking the way for something. It was in the middle of the creek no where near the trail. Maybe someone wanted the water to know where to go when it comes back after the next rain.  Cairn proved to be valuable for me in Yosemite in the granite fields. There is no sign of a trail so you just look for the next Cairn.

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Back out to the Panther Branch Trail for .4 more miles to Emory Falls.

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Love this root art along the way!

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My Honey looking up at me from the bottom of Emory Falls.

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Pausing for a moment of worship.

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Back at the truck we found new beauty unfolding.

One more example of seizing the moment. We had just a few hours but there was a trail near by. We wanted to do so much more but we will go back. We had heard that this is like the Great Smoky Mountains Nation Park but without the crowds. The elevation is about half of the Smoky Mountains but the trails, bridges and water falls are just like the Smokies. If you had blindfolded me and started me on this trail with our knowing where I was, you could have told me it was a new trail in the Great Smoky Mountains Nation Park.

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Seize the day, seize whatever you can 
‘Cause life slips away just like hourglass sand” Carolyn Arends

 

 

The Secret to Getting Your Honey on the Trail

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My Honey’s Journal illustrates a great method for brainstorming questions. Hear from her at cowriterpro.com

The Secret Lies with Writing

Almost all of us have had to write a term paper or research paper in school. Many of us went on to a write a thesis. You probably write in some way at work—from email correspondence to grant proposals. From Lean Six Sigma projects to financial reports. From a bill of lading to an inventory count. We have all done some writing.

So with this background you are already prepared with a plan to get your honey on the trail. You just have to write it down. You thought it was a secret hidden from you? The secret is in your own experience revealed. The plan to get your Honey on the trail is a writing plan. My Honey explores many uses for writing at cowriterpro.com.

Let’s say that you have a research paper to write for your high school physical education class. It is the only pen and paper requirement to an otherwise active outdoor class. It is 50% of your grade and you want to do well.

You start asking questions:

Who am I writing to? just the teacher or the class?
What is the topic I have to write about?
Do I get to pick or is it assigned?
When is the document due? a week? at the end of the year?
What result do I want from my reader? a good grade?
Why is this important to my reader?
How much money can I spend to get this written?
What research do I need to do to write it well?
Who can I interview who has the knowledge I don’t have?
Who has written this document before?
What medium is the writing to be done in?
How will I know if I reached my reader?
Where will I do my best writing?
Under what conditions will I do my best writing?

Ask the right questions: You see how the questions just flow? You could probably ask even more if you were really about to write the paper. And you are really about to get your Honey on the trail with you! The secret is asking lots of honest questions with her in mind and they will be the right questions. Write them down—take 10 minutes and just let them flow. Be easy on your self and just write all that come to mind.

Answer them honestly from the hip at first: Put down the answer no matter how absurd it might seem to you at the time. I had no idea how I was going to tie together all the criteria my Honey had for what she thought might be the ideal trip. I had a little bit of incredulity going in my chest at first as I pondered my answers from her perspective. She hadn’t been backpacking like I was doing it and it had been 20 years since her trip through Europe with all she owned in a back pack.

Do your homework: Go find out all you can first before asking her. If you are like me, you could just go on and on and ruin a good thing (my Honey’s eyes would have glazed over at first). Listen to what she talks about and glean all you can from conversation.

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My Princess Editor—lover of fine things…and Hiking with her Honey!

Ask her: Go to the source and verify—ask. You can’t really assume you know. I was talking to a couple a few weeks ago and in her presence he said to me, “She’d never go hiking” and she looked at him with a sudden turn of her head and said with a surprising amount of energy, “You never asked me to.” I have discovered that most Honeys will go have fun with their man outdoors if he has a plan and has done his best to consider her perceived desires and perceived limitations.

Believe her: It was so tempting for me to say to her, “It doesn’t work that way” or “that’s just how it is” or “I’m the expert, just follow along.” So many things were second nature to me and experience taught me that for me there is only one way to do many things.  Did you see that “for me” back there in that last sentence?  You are wanting a “you and her” thing and if you will make the vast majority of it a “her” thing at least to start with, you will be well along the way of making it a permanent “us” thing.

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Transforming into hiking—our favorite thing

Write the rough draft: The first “well planned” trip drew in my Honey with cords of love because she say how hard I tried to make it fun for her. She honored my effort much like going with me on any other date that I had really put some thought into. Realize that it is a rough draft. Don’t make any judgement calls during the first outing. Roll with it with the most flexibility that you can and save the learning for later. This is about trying what might possibly be an extraordinary and difficult thing for her.  Laugh at yourself when most of it falls flat.

Rewrite and produce a better second draft: Keep what worked and decide if any of what didn’t work is worth keeping. As you produce a second trip, try to implement her ideas. I demonstrated to my Honey as often as possible that I heard her. I heard her—I was listening. No pretend “uh huh” sounds—real listening. Part of what drew my current avid hiker in from the beginning was seeing me order some little thing that would fix a problem she had. Present your sequel and reveal the loving improvements to the plan.

Fine tune parts of your document at a time: Don’t try to produce a masterpiece the first time or two or twelve. Work on bits and pieces. We did a romantic fireside meal to introduce her to rehydrated food eaten crosslegged on the tent floor. I packed lots of amenities in the truck that wouldn’t be on a backpacking trip. I focused on making everything else pleasant when I set up the romantic nest by the fireplace in an outdoor picnic pavilion. This way the one new truly backpacking component would be introduced in a likable way.

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Cozy and comfortable—ready to eat a rehydrated meal. Learning one component at a time.
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Jetboil—boils 2 cups of water in two minutes. My favorite stove.

 

Let it go: Most writing has to just be considered done at some predetermined point. You can always keep rewriting and tweeting. You can succumb to the ideal you have in your head and never have a good time unless it is like you pictured it or like it was on your best trip ever out with the guys.  You thought that everything just gets better “When you put a girl in it.” That is true but let go of the preconceived ideal because you are creating a new and you don’t know what that is yet. The ideal you will create together will be so much more beautiful and rewarding that what you could see at first.

On the cabin porch just before heading back to Nashville
Combining indoors and outdoors

Our journey has produced some of the greatest memories of my life. We have laughed, loved and lived to an extreme I didn’t know was possible. We have combined outdoor and indoor facets of grand adventures in ways I hadn’t dreamed up. We have enjoyed simple, slow and short events as well as longer trips with epic qualities. We are headed toward trips in the future that we will both declare to be epic life adventure list trips.

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Make your list this week. It is an easy step that will set your mind planning and unlock the secret. When will you start your “writing assignment” so you can “publish” meaningful hikes with your Honey?

Fall Creek Falls Tennessee State Park—Part 2

In yesterday’s blog I got to share Fall Creek Falls Tennessee State Park—Part 1 and how we crossed the suspension bridge and climbed the 70 stairs. How we meet and talked with our new friends, Wes and Olivia. After a few well spent minutes we stepped back onto the Gorge Trail chattering back and forth about what we had just learned and how we could share this wisdom.IMG_3370 (1)

We hiked the 1.2 mile Gorge Trail and stopped at all three of the open overlooks and passed on by the closed one that is letting nature restore herself.  The Gorge Trail then intersects with the Grassland Trail. We turned right to go up to the overlook at the Falls parking and down the .5 mile trail to the bottom of the falls.

IMG_3465Before we went down, we stopped and my Honey fueled up with a gel pack of Isagenix Amped Fuel Apple (visit our exercise performance store at http://HikingWithYourHoney.isagenix.com  I saved mine for the bottom and got a zip back in my zoom for the climb out.

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Fuel for the trail—Amped Fuel Apple—Zoom!

Hydrated and fueled we eagerly began the strenuous climb to the bottom of the falls.  There is a hand rail most of the way if you need to steady yourself.

IMG_3522Wow! We looked up 256 feet to the top of the falls and wrestled with thoughts of getting in the water. There were some swimming and we wanted to get in but had not brought swim suits, water shoes or towels.  From now on we will carry those supplies to every water fall just in case.

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Rover says, “how I’m gonna get down?”

There was a daughter and daddy up on a large bolder with their dog and he looked like he was saying, “woof, how am I going to get down off of this rock, bark.” They had lifted him up there but he finally settled in for a nap.

IMG_3537About that time Loral stands up and announces, “I’m going!”  “Up the slippery rocks to the falls,” I asked.  With the determination of a general at war and the glee of a girl in a toy store she said, “I didn’t come all the way down here to miss the water falls now.”IMG_3547 (2)

She almost scampered over the dry rocks at first and then slowed to carefully pick the best footing. Showing accumulated hiking skills she bear crawled in places and scooted on her bottom in others. Carefully—remembering the fall on the ice so many years ago in Chicago—but with determination to experience the prize, she inched along.IMG_3548

Reaching out her right hand to touch the falling water she faced me across the pool under the falls and giggled with delight. Moments later the flow of the water shifted just slightly at the top and she was now laughing hysterically as the water completely soaked her with refreshing coldness.

My Honey is a writer and an editor for real—for a living—and compares hiking to writing in a fun blog called, Why Write? Write to Go on a Journey.  Well put Honey! I just read it and there are some great parallels!

IMG_3497I climbed over and joined her for a few happy wet moments. Up, up, up the .5 mile trail to the top of the falls. We stopped in two places where the mountain splits to feel the earths cold moist air rushing out and refreshing us.

IMG_3485 (1)After we crossed the wobbly wooden bridge on Coon Creek and the really solid one over Fall Creek, we turned right on the Woodland Trail. It is an easy stroll for .8 miles back to the Nature Center. My honey was soaked to the bone and speed walked like “Grease Lightning” most of the way back to the top of the stairs. Back down the stairs and across the suspension bridge to complete the 3 mile journey. IMG_3519

I asked her on the way home what she felt under the falls. She said that it was so exhilarating. I asked what made it exhilarating—expecting a list like how the water was cold and refreshing or how the water pelted her skin or maybe how good it felt to be able to climb safely to that spot.  Instead, she said dreamily, “It felt so good to feel the love of God pouring over me. To know that I am receiving His blessings and that just like this falling creek, there is so much more in store for us in our future!” That’s well said, Honey!

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When you’ve put out a sizable effort, do you make sure that you get the most out of the moment? We’d come all that way and my Honey wasn’t going to miss that water falls experience—do you have a story to tell where you “soaked” up the whole experience?

Fall Creek Falls Tennessee State Park—Part 1

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Fall Creek Falls Overlook

Today my honey and I went to Fall Creek Falls State Park on our way back from Frozen Head State Park yesterday. We came in to the park from the north entrance and stopped at what looked like a main visitor center. We went directly to an overlook and got to talk to another visitor about good ideas for the day.

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Cane Creek Falls Overlook

We went inside the Betty Dunn Nature Center and gather more good trail information.  What we had just enjoyed was the Cane Creek Falls Overlook right beside the Nature Center. This is just off of the parking lot. Then we walked down to Cane Creek Falls. Both of these are enjoyable and can be seen in just a few minutes if you are just passing through.

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Cane Creek Falls

We settled into the 3 mile adventure that we now had planned by crossing the suspension and climbing up 70 stairs to get on to the Gorge Trail. It is 1.2 miles of a 2 mile loop that would eventually take us past Cane Creek Overlook, Cane Creek Gorge Overlook, Fall Creek Falls Overlook and the now closed Rocky Point Overlook.

At the top of the 70 steps we met Wes and Olivia from Middleton Ohio. They are a wonderful couple in their 70’s who encouraged us to keep hiking. Wes said, “I like to hike with my Honey.”  When we took our picture together, they were so cute – Olivia was a bit apologetic about how the picture of her might turn out but Wes declared, “You take a good picture.”

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Hiking septuagenarian’s Wes and Olivia – sharing tips about life and hiking with me and my Honey

As we lost ourselves in conversation Olivia shared the importance of a good system of give and take to make a marriage work. They have both been married before and are now working on year 26 with each other-thankful to God for the blessing of each other. She said, “Nobody is perfect but if you focus on the positive things it makes it work.”  It is interesting that when we are their age range we will have been married 26 years too.

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A mushroom that I had never seen before. Picture taken at Frozen Head State Park

She used to be a fast hiker like me but when she started hiking with Wes, she slowed down because he is like my Honey in that he likes to see every detail. I got to share this detail from our Frozen Head hike the day before:

They shared how they had met a couple in their 80’s while hiking in the Smokies.  Olivia advised, “If you will take good care of your bodies and make good food choices, you’ll probably pass us up and hike for 40 more years.”  They projected that if they could be having a good time on the trail in their 70’s that we might pass them up in hiking longevity. We left our encounter encouraged by like minded new friends. We left motivated to take care of ourselves so that we can be hiking in our 90’s like Olivia promised to pray that we would.

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For this porting of the trail, we went out the Gorge Overlook and came back Woodland

Tomorrow, I’ll share the rest of our discoveries and some beautiful scenery shots from Fall Creek Falls.

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When you are out exploring the world, could it be that you will meet an encouraging new friend? I challenge you to stop and chat—see what happens:)

5 Reasons Not to Hike—Just Table it for Later

 

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The Blue Bird Barn in Seven Islands Birding Park

What? Those that know me well will wonder if I bumped my head. What’s was wrong with me…was I really having a moment when I questioned going on a hike??!! Well, yes, I did. T.A.B.L.E. it, I thought:

I’m too Tired

It’s too Abstract

I’m too Busy

It’s too Limited

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Joy in overcoming hollow excuses

I’m too Energetic

Too Tired—I’m too tired and I just want to lay here. You too might like to hike but today you think you just need so sit to recover.

Too Abstract—Taking a chance on a trail that I don’t know I’ll like is just too abstract. I want to do only the kind of hike that’s really me. If it doesn’t sound really interesting to you, you too might not want to waste your time.

Too Busy—I’m too busy and I can’t fit one more thing into this trip. You might be on a trip that is so full with planned family and friend stops that you just can’t fit in any exercise.

Too Limited—2.5 hours? That’s not enough time to enjoy it. It’s 30 minutes each way and we’d only have about an hour to spend on the trail when we get there. You might feel like it’s not worth doing unless there is more time on your trip.

Too Energetic—I’m too energetic to move that slowly today. I want to see beauty and smell the flowers but it’s just too slow. You might feel like you have to really get up and go when you’re outside. You’ve got calories to burn and muscles to grow.

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Beautiful scenery – sunset, river, farms and birds, birds, birds

These are some of the excuses I made last night and I’ve heard others make them too. There are times when these are legitimate reasons but sometimes like I did, you might need to just blow away the excuses and take action.

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Is this a bird rocket ship!

Yesterday, when we went to the Seven Islands State Birding Park, I overcame some of these. I was tired. I didn’t know if a good place to watch birds was going to be a good hiking place. We were already booked for the day. We did only have 3 hours that we finally carved out. And I really was feeling that if I was going to exercise that I needed to run.

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A ground hog wobbling down the grass mowed trail

But wait, I thought…it is my fondest connection to nature with my Honey. We also didn’t know when we would be back this way again this year. I took the risk that maybe all of these thought were just empty excuses…maybe we shouldn’t TABLE it…we should go anyway!

The experience proved that I was wrong about “TABLEing” the idea and that it was right to go. Going to Seven Islands State Birding Park was the right thing to do . These thoughts from our experience might help you the next time you feel sluggish and despondent about doing the thing you know you really love.

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Stopping to smell the flowers

Not Too Tired—when we made the decision to go, something happened inside me like it always does. I got like a dog dancing at the front door when he knows it’s time for a walk. There is an energy that comes for me when the decision is made. The eager anticipation of what might happen begins to rise like the sun in my soul. As we began stretching out our legs in long strides up the first incline, physical energy woke up in me. My brain started doing its job of releasing all the happy and helper hormones that start during exercise.

Not Too Abstract—I prefer to have some advance knowledge that the trail will be my kind of place but do I really need concrete advanced knowledge to go outdoors with my pretty girl? It was not the traditional hiking trail but it was miles of unique mowed grass paths that I enjoyed this time at least as much as I do the usual dirt trail.

Not Too Busy—Many times I find that when I just take action, the important things will all fit. Not everything will fit ever – but only the most important things will fit when I work the priority list from the top down. We got there, spent the time we had and got back in time. The old line is tired but fits here – if you wait for all the lights to be green before you leave home, you will never leave. It’s a rare opportunity when life rolls out the red carpet and invites you to go hiking with your Honey. You just have to take action.

Not Too Limited—There was enough time to picnic, take pictures, see unusual scenery, watch happy animals, experience a sunset, believe the promise of God’s rainbow, laugh, talk, imagine, dream, exercise, and be together. We had a total of two hours in the park and we filled them with memories.

Not Too Energetic—I totally forgot about wanting to run. I carried chairs, a hydration pack and picnic supplies. This gave me an elevated heart rate that was all I really needed for the evening. I was truly tired and needed to be careful no to injury tired muscles anyway.

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Energized to see a new world – Loral in wonderland

I am still surprised that I had any resistance to a hiking idea. I have spent so many resources making the trail inviting to my Honey. I have her on the trail with me – she loves it now – so how could I have a negative thought?

I had a negative thought because of what I call dusty brain. Some of my frowning gut reactions are real, but most are just dust.  Dust from too many mental building projects at the same time. As I blew away the dust, the best results emerged!IMG_3099

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Do you have some wimpy excuses for not getting outside with your Honey? Are there any simmering ideas that could be great actions if you would just blew away the dusty excuses? Could you take action and see the dust fly away in the winds of a good time?

Rails to Trails and Ice Cream Sales

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Behind the veil

A few weeks ago we took a trip to Waynesville Ohio to visit our dear friends Beth and John who came from thousands of miles away. Playing with their children and getting to know her Dad was such a blessing. We had many fun activities together including the privilege of walking though a bit of woods near by and on to the Rails to Trails network.  To me is was a sensation much like passing through a veil. Going from the yard of a nice home into the woods and onto a trail system that is picturesque and serene.

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Grinning in the Rain beneath the trail sign pane

We just picked a direction and started walking. The purpose of this rainy day walk was to get to talk so we meandered and got caught up on happenings and shared ideas. I’m not sure how much time had gone by but we walked into the little town of Spring Valley.

We made use of a strange but necessary blessing – a port-a-let provided by Little Miami State Park for the trail users. A sign on the door gave the mileage to each of the next port-a-lets. I had to laugh and take this picture.

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We were strolling past the Spring Valley port-a-let

We looked around enjoying what seemed to me like small old world industrial buildings and old pieces of machinery. Then we spotted an ice cream store!

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Beth, Loral and John about to eat their trekking reward!

Two Scoops ice cream parlor provided us with a great dry spot and ice cream we couldn’t resist. My friend John rescued me because my Honey wanted ice cream and I didn’t bring my wallet…which reminds me…I didn’t pay him back yet!  We had an awesome time of snacking and fellowship before heading out into the rain again.

We traveled about 2.4 miles of the 73 miles of this Little Miami Scenic Trail that stretches through Clark, Clermont, Greene, Hamilton and Warren counties in Ohio.

It rained on us the entire time but we had a positive memorable afternoon. We were dressed for it in hats and rain gear. And we met this friend out on his rainy day hop…

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Prince Charming in the rough!

He was kind enough (or maybe just cold enough) to let me hold him and take his picture. Then we let him go free. I laughed with joy as I remembered my Honey saying to me one time that she kissed a lot of frogs looking for me and knows a Prince when she sees one!

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So happy to see you, Sir!

A correlation could also be drawn between the frog/prince idea and an abandoned railway become a place for fellowship and exercise. Thanks to the Rails to Trails system, Spring Valley and Two Scoops. Thanks to Little Miami State Park and our dear friends Beth and John.

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Have you ever let a little rain prevent you from having some outdoor fun? Do you need some good rain gear to go hiking with your Honey?

A Beautiful “Do Over” Moonlit Night

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“Our favorite time of light when the sun kisses the night”

“Fighting is terrible but at least you get to make up,” someone said to me once.  I’m not a big fan of this idea but when making up follows real resolution, I’m all about that.  Still seated in the coffee shop where we hashed out the 9 Ways to Decorate Your Camp Site…our skin was suffering from the hot air outside and the air inside was still warm from the fiery debate. But our hearts were aglow with the joy and satisfaction of having been heard and appreciated. Unsure what to do now with this hard earned vacation day, we just sat pondering over our useful solution to our ugly problem.

It was in the happy but tentative silence of that moment that my Honey quietly asked a question: “Is there any part of you that wants to try this again?” I immediately responded, “yes”.

Almost without words we committed to each other to do the same primitive night between the dunes and the waves of the Gulf that we had tried to do the night before. With the energy of excitement over certain success, we repacked all our gear and checked our supplies.

Back to Perdido Key we went. Our park pass that cost only $15 dollars for the week was still good so we whipped the car in behind the Ranger’s Station and filled out another primitive back country registration form.  We giggle as we drove in with that deja vu feeling…or maybe more like the movie Ground Hog Day where the main character got to repeat the same day over and over until he got it right.

We dove past all the public beaches, past the last legal parking spot and down to the end of the blacktop. We made a nest for Loral to soak up the sun and watch the waves and I drove the half mile back to park the car. I returned to kiss my Honey and help her into her backpack. We made silly puns and meandered along the shore looking for perfect sea shells.

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My Honey – so happy to be barefoot in the sand!

My honey was barefooted, clad in her one piece bathing suit and 40 pound pack. She walked on the packed wet sand and let the waves tickle her toes. I have a bit of bad background with direct sunlight so I was in my hat, long sleeves, pants, boots and 60 pound pack.  I walked along in the loose sand and occasionally on the packed sand when I could dodge the waves.

We stopped and talked to fisherman and other campers while we covered almost a mile more of beach to get to a secluded spot. With all that we learned we discussed how we would set up camp satisfying all our practical concerns and her nesting decorating concerns. Camp was perfect and our meandering trip through the dunes carefully stepping around the protected vegetation was peaceful.

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The dunes washed in pastel light

We set up our tiny chairs on the other side of the key, got out our snacks and water and settled in to wait for the most glorious sunset we have seen to date.  The fish jumped from the water and the birds flittered all around as if celebrating our restored joy. As the sun melted into our Favorite Time of Light we held hands and gushed on and on about the beauty of what God had made.

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Wow!

We slipped back to our camp – which looked awesome as we approached – and throughly enjoyed our evening and night under the biggest full moon I have ever seen. We slept with the flaps open on the tent letting the gulf breeze blow through and carry away the heat and cares of the day.

The next morning we spent in our beach cabana reading our Bible and talking to the Creator. We watched the hermit crabs surface tentatively from their holes and scurry back at the least sign of danger. We watched the fish jump and the birds float on the air currents and then reluctantly left that happy time to pack up and break camp.

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Camp is ready and we are off to the sunset

Loral jumped in the water to prepare for the hot hike back and once again I covered up from head to toe to lead the way to the car. This chance to repeat what had been so badly damaged was such a special treat. Thank God we get the chance sometimes for a “do over.”

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Is there something you need to hash out with your Honey to get resolved and move on? Is there any way to get a “do over” to reclaim what was lost?