365 Days of Random

Random musings about nothing at all

The Great Outdoors

If you’re not someone that loves being outside when it’s nice out (no matter the season) then you probably won’t appreciate this post very much… but you’re certainly welcome to read on.

The last few weeks I’ve been feeling kind of ‘blah’. I think it’s partially because I’ve been fighting a bit of a bug… maybe for the first time in about 10 years my spring time allergies are giving me a reminder that they exist…. maybe my body is just adjusting to not having a million things to do. Regardless of the reason I’ve just not really been feeling 100% like myself. This week I basically chilled at home most evenings. We didn’t have any weeknight softball (cause that season’s done). I bailed on climbing (with Squeak’s blessing) because I was just completely totally exhausted. I figured I needed a few days to rest.

Today Squeaks and I packed some lunches and jumped in the car to head out to Great Falls for a little Saturday climbing session. I was still pretty tired when I woke up but very much looking forward to the excursion. She picked me up just after 9am and we were set up and on some rock by about 11. With the rain last night and the threat of rain today we really weren’t sure what to expect. But we went anyway. Knowing that not only did we need to climb (the ultimate stress reliever) but we needed to climb OUTSIDE.

You see… there is a wonderful side effect of being outside for hours on end doing something that you love. No matter how wicked tired you are you just feel so totally energized. At least, that’s what happens to me every single time. I just absorb the beauty of my surroundings and I can’t help but smile. I’ve always felt this way about being outside. I’ve loved to play outdoor sports and be at the cottage in the water or in the hammock. I love to swim and hike and ski and snowshoe (winter hiking :)). If it’s a nice day my favorite place to be is outside. It just always makes me feel better – about everything.

I think that most people who have the same love of the outdoors as me feel something similar. It doesn’t matter if your dripping sweat of freezing your butt off… If there is sunshine and your outside in it, life is good. I know lots and lots of people who wouldn’t claim to be ‘outdoors’ people. But what they really seem to mean is that they’re not into all the activities that are stereotypically associated with “outdoorsy people”: Camping, Hiking, Swimming, Fishing, etc. When I see these people getting the same rush as I do from simply being out of the house I know they really are ‘outdoors’ people…. Maybe they just prefer to sit by the pool than climb a rock – that’s cool.

As I said, I’ve always loved the outdoors, but climbing has kind of elevated it to a new level for me. Honestly there is absolutely nothing better than being 30 or 40 feet up a rock wall and turning around to look over the wonderful views that perspective can give you. And in Great Falls, well it’s just freaking amazing. Blue skies, rushing water, gorgeous rock formations, Herons and King Fishers and other water birds… it’s so wonderfully peaceful that you can’t help but let it’s magic sweep over you and wash away the tiredness and stress of ‘real’ life.

Don’t get me wrong… after a few hours climbing in the heat I am PHYSICALLY exhausted. But I feel better today than I have in weeks. I know now more than I ever have that I need to find a way to make outdoor climbing more of a norm in my life. Given how late the sun stays up at this time of year (and how early it rises) there is really no reason we could not hit up Great Falls or Carderock for a quick weekday climb as well as a longer weekend session. Climbing outside is just so different from climbing in the gym. It’s definitely better – and I think better for you. The ACTIVITY of climbing is great no matter what… but nothing can beat being able to climb in some of the most beautiful areas of the world. I wish I’d actually followed up on the gift certificate I was given AGES ago for a birthday gift and tried climbing 5 or 6 years ago. I didn’t expect to love it the way that I do but I am sure glad that I found it.

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June 18, 2011 Posted by | Climbing, Health & Wellness, Inspiration | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beach Day

Today I spent the day at the beach with a group of girlfriends.. It was a WONDERFUL day. We left about 8am this morning and did the almost (but not quite) two hour drive to “Colonial Beach” Virginia. It was the quaint small little town with an equally quaint small little strip of beach along the Potomac. But it was just what we were looking for.

All of us being girls of a certain age and a certain personality type… who work a lot and are not great at really taking a day for ourselves it was a big deal and a big adventure. We each picked a ‘food group’ or lunch item and packed drinks, snacks (veggies and fruit) and cookies and all that into a cooler and headed off with our towels and blankets and books and chairs. When we arrived our fearless trip planner (Miss M) was even complimented on her ability to parallel park on the LEFT side of the road in a rather tight spot. To be honest when the ‘official town car’ pulled up and the woman inside asked who was driving we were all scared we’d done something wrong and were in trouble… but the lady just wanted to compliment another woman on her wonderful driving skills (of course we should have known this).

After getting our stuff out of the car we headed towards our ‘paradise for a day’ to select our perfect spot. The beach was not at all what you’d call crowded at 10am so we had our pick of locations. Knowing there was a heat advisory today we staked out a spot close to the water with a nice big Sycamore tree at the side of the path to lay our blankets out. Through the day it became known as the ‘magic tree’ because all day it provided the perfect amount of shade without us having to move or adjust our positions even once. We were content to enjoy the sunshine and the breeze and the comfort of our cooling tree all day. And to our amazement there was also a ‘tiki bar’ just behind the spot we selected. Of course we didn’t see then when we selected the spot… definitely not!! 🙂

When Miss M suggested a day trip to the beach early last week I jumped all over it. It just sounded like the absolute perfect way to spend a hot summer day and forget all about work and stress and everything else and just enjoy some time with the girls. We read books and talked and laughed and ate… and yes even went to the tiki bar for an adult beverage later in the afternoon. It honestly was a perfect day.

Now, I certainly don’t want to give away the secret of our quiet little beach but it was just to wonderful a day not to share. It doesn’t really seem to be the ‘go to beach destination’ but is set up for some tourist action… there’s even a little carnival area and swing set to keep the kids who don’t want to play in the water and the sand entertained. It was a great little gem of a beach that I have a feeling would be just the perfect balance of quiet and crowded all summer long. Definitely some place I’d be up for venturing back to if another need for pure outdoor relaxation arises. Here’s just a sampling of our beach and our magic tree and our ‘day at the beach’.

June 10, 2011 Posted by | Fun & Entertainment, Health & Wellness, Inspiration, Life | , , , , , | Leave a comment