adventure

First Timer

I’m a first timer. A virgin of sorts. New skill. New form of fitness. New level of cold. New land to explore. New. New. New.

I guess I should let you in on the secret. I’m wearing an apparatus that I thought was going to resemble a tennis racquet on my feet as I trek through snow. To my surprise I had something more modern and practical. They call this snowshoeing and I’m paying for this form of torture just to say I did it! I must be a little nuts but I love completing unique excursions whenever possible.

I obviously love to share my stories in case one may want to try said activities. I also like to catalog my crazy adventures for the years ahead when I am not physically or mentally able to complete such crazy things. So here goes. Snow is on the forecast for today 1-3 inches. Cold temps and strong winds. That is just the start.

I’m layered up and ready to tackle the unknown. The initial climb is a few switch backs that get the heart rate going while you get used to your new footwear. I loved the bottom of mine. The claw-like bottom gives you so much traction in the snow. It was definitely an experience.

Hiking through the trees was my favorite part. Every corner was a little different. We traveled around a mine site and learned a little about the area history. We hiked near cliff hanger house that was being built with million dollar views. We got pretty close to an avalanche area and saw how the path changed.

I didn’t use poles for my hike but my pal did. I’m sure I could have benefited from them but I felt the traction from my snow shoes gave me the stability I wanted. I guess I opted for less baggage on my trek. A little more vigorous than hiking is what I would explain. If I lived somewhere cold I think I would definitely have a pair of these to kick around town in.

This view was amazing although the picture doesn’t do it justice. The skies were grey today due to the stormy weather but the climb yielded some amazing views of the city and the ski trails. If you are ever in this area, you should give snow shoes a try. Just because.

adventure

Main Street

A day of leisure.

A day to explore.

Main Street called my name.

I walked the streets and enjoyed the mountain air while stopping in all the shops on Main Street. My first pit stop was for rocket fuel, also known as coffee. One in my party opted for two shots of espresso, another tried the red velvet hot cocoa with whipped cream and I tried a brown sugar cinnamon latte. All kept us warm as we strolled and sipped on this cold morning.

Many cute shops to visit. From T-shirts to ski shops to fancy art displays. There was something for everyone. I enjoyed looking at all the stickers and magnets unique to the area. It was also a treat to see the snow globes decorated for the holiday and set to music and you cruised Main Street. Just another specialty for this holiday season in Park City. I didn’t really have a favorite snow globe but I did enjoy checking them all out. 

Another fun feature was heated benches or heated stones. A great place to take a break while enjoying a toasty seat warmer. Something I didn’t expect but very much enjoyed. There were also historical facts posted around the buildings as well. A little history lesson was available to those who had an interest. I found some alleys decorated in scenic art along with some neat doors to-capture the ski town vibe. All in all Main Street was a fun place to stroll and browse.

I will probably visit Main Street again to try out a restaurant or visit the shops again. I may need to buy another snow globe since I broke the one I bought on my first trip down Main Street.

After an adventure on Main Street we opted to explore the Olympic Training Center. Pretty cool to see the facilities, snap a few photos and just experience the few offerings that were available. I did enjoy the virtual ski jump simulator. I wasn’t very good at it and probably why I’m not an Olympian, but nonetheless I enjoyed the opportunity. I also enjoyed bobsled and parachute skiing simulations. Very different experiences but since I probably will Never do any of these activities in real life, the simulation experience was perfect for me.

Another great day of amazing views and new experiences. I’m sure you will read more about my travels in upcoming posts.

celebrations, family

The Owl Series

This series isn’t your ordinary owl story or two. This will be a series for the years to come. It’s the beginning of documenting the path to college athletics and what happens along the way. The good. The bad. The in between. All of which is solely from my vantage point. The outsider looking in. The fan girl view. 

Will there be success? Failure? Injuries? Accolades?

Will this be an initial destination or a long term commitment? 

How hard will it be to balance academics and athletics?

Will the love of the game continue to flourish?

The story started years ago. A dream. A belief of you can be who you want to be. Hard work. Practice. Travel. Tryouts. New friends. Old friends. Enemies. Encouragers. Coaches. Mentors. Motivators. Cheerleaders. Sprains. Strains. Bruises. Hours and hours of training. Eating smart. Saying no to some events due to games early the next day. All of which made her who she is today. Every experience helped shape her. Every risk paid off. She did the work. She beat the odds. 

I can literally say I’ve been with her every step of the way. Now I see her standing on her two feet ready to conquer what’s ahead. Proud is an understatement.

Strong. Charismatic. Determined. Confident. Smart. Athletic. Talented beyond words. She made her choice. She decided to be an owl. It wasn’t an easy decision either. She weighed options. Many options had pros and many had cons. What would be the best overall? When she made her choice she committed in grand fashion. A cool graphic on social media started it all.  A tweet from her travel club followed. The college gave a wink. A nice spread in the local paper was an added surprise. As an owl she will begin to take flight. Her flight to her destination(s).

She will continue her athletic career as a Division 1 athlete. What an accomplishment. A female division 1 collegiate athlete. It’s a celebration to make it to this level. I couldn’t be prouder of her and how she handled the grueling process. She stayed true to herself. She went far but ended up near. Sometimes you need to see what’s out there before seeing that you have what you need closer than you think.

She learned to be interviewed. She learned how to interview others. She learned a little about negotiations. She learned what is official and unofficial in the athletic world. She forged her own path. She is now beginning a new journey with her new teammates. The teammate relations began with text and other mediums. The group is “chatting” which is somewhat of a honeymoon phase to get to know each other and build rapport.

The team logos are making their way into the wardrobes. The thought of what’s next is on the horizon. Everything from who you are now to future roommates to major course of study selection is on the chat feed. The hard part is done but now so many more new experiences are on the horizon while still wrapping up existing school and sports obligations. And don’t forget keeping her image squeaky clean. This is a big responsibility. 

The first out of state meeting took place for 8-9 young ladies on this same journey. Some competed against each other. Others just socialized. Multiple states represented. New personalities drawn together by a sport they love. A sport I have grown to adore myself. Although I didn’t participate, I celebrated the opportunity for her silently. So much is ahead and I can just smile knowing she will grow during this experience. And so this owl story has begun, but where will it lead and what will I choose to share in the years ahead?

I will continue to write about the owl adventures as they evolve. Not sure how frequently this will happen but it will happen when I feel led to document something. Until then know I’m practicing my best owl sounds and thinking of how I will find a way to like the team colors.

adventure, nature, travel

Haynes Ranch

I’ve been snowmobiling before in Colorado a few years ago. Now it’s time to compare my experience to snowmobiling in Utah. Same time of year but obviously different states and different terrain. I couldn’t be more excited for this chilly adventure, but I am also excited to share my recap with my readers.

Vroom. Vroom. The anticipation builds. Fresh snow the ground. Grey skies from snow that fell the night before as we head to Haynes Ranch in Coalsville, Utah. The roads had fresh snow and so did the ranch. The scenery was amazing and the skies ended up blue today. The brightest of blues after a snowy 24 hours prior. The first time I saw blue skies in days. It was still a chilling 1 degree at 10am when we hit the snowmobiles. Thank goodness they had hand and feet warmers on them.

After a little trek over a stream and short climb we hit the gateway to the 40,000 acre ranch. I felt like the land I was on was one of the most beautiful places I have been to. We saw wildlife (moose) in their environment along with trails of other animals that I didn’t ever catch a glimpse of. Little and big prints in the fresh snow made me wonder as I rode along. Who was in the area for animals?

We followed a thin track of the machine in front of us. Such a fabulous view for as far as your eyes could see ahead. From mountains to rock formations, it was all spectacular. The way the sun glistened on the snow and the bright blue sky. Peaceful is the one word that comes to mind. Words can barely scratch the surface on how memorable this journey through the ranch was. Fresh snow added to the ride value.

We made a few planned stops for photos and to watch the wildlife. We had the chance to hit a large pasture with just the right amount of fresh snow to get our machine up and moving. We could go fast or round the hillside in our own style. We each made our own footprint in the snow. So much fun to free ride in the snow and make your own tracks.

As we traveled to a mountain top we had to lean in to go up the hillside to the most spectacular view. As we climbed one of the double riders in our group veered off track and sunk into the 8-9 feet of snow. This was a separate adventure in itself. The machine had to be dug out and then we had to ride down the mountain cautiously not to bury any other machines. I somehow ended up transporting an extra passenger down the mountain which was a little nerve racking.

Despite the unplanned we spent additional time at the top of this precious area. The view in the distance seemed to go on forever. This was one of my favorite spots yet the camera photos don’t seem to capture the beauty I experienced in person. The sky showed its color variations and the snow was just untouched in the distance. The tree lines were awesome.

All in all this day trip was wonderful. I would say this ranch made the snowmobile adventure that much more special and the fresh snowfall added to the ambiance. At the end of the trip, my thumb seemed frozen from using it on the throttle without a break and my quads seemed to have felt the brunt of the wind on the ride. It took some time to defrost my body.

Should I venture out again I would add another layer of clothing for the cold temps. I would also invite others to enjoy the special occasion. It’s almost impossible to reimagine the beauty I saw today. If you ever have the chance to explore Utah, check out Back Country Snowmobiles. It’s is a rare find.

As I close out this post I will be cherishing this experience memory for some time to come.

challenges, change

Stand Back

Hands off.

Stand back.

Let things take their course.

This is hard for many of us when we are watching what could be a slow motion tragedy unfolding. It’s especially hard for helpers (see my enneagram for more). I want to help. I want to fix. I want to make it all better for the people I care about.

I have been a helper for as long as I can remember. Being a helper is alive in my profession. It’s alive in my volunteer positions. It’s key to how I shape my days. So telling me not to help is like telling me to not be myself.

I have grown to understand that I have to fill my own cup first. This was a big step for me. I can’t help others if I am empty myself. But this is different…In the past few years, I’ve heard the cries of friends telling me that sometimes doing for others really isn’t a help. It robs them of the chance to gain their own power, self-esteem, self-worth. Still, I had a hard time stepping away when people asked for my help. Heck, I even offered help when it wasn’t even asked for.

Push finally came to shove in a situation and I had to step back. The bridge to help was too wide to cross, so I somehow let it go. I worked through the guilt. The shame. The pain. And just let others take the reins of their troubles and their successes.

This enabling isn’t always an easy pattern to break, especially in the beginning. There is time and energy to redirect. All the feelings and urges have to be tamped down. It may sound a little self-serving to say it hurts not to help, but it’s true.

It has taken time. What has surprised me is hearing from loved ones that they don’t hate me or disapprove of me standing back. That secret worry has not come to pass, at least not to my face. If there are people out there who are disappointed in me, close up, far away, or even not with us anymore, they have not shared with me.

And after some time and restraint, it has been rewarding to watch people begin to take control of their lives. Is it an immediate success? No. There are bumps and setbacks and disappointments. I can try to be there to support during these times and listen. I can think about what is truly necessary and try to provide some of that. But I really default to staying back and letting the person sort it out themselves. They are strengthening their own muscles whether they like it or not.

I find myself becoming more self-reliant and independent in the wake of these decisions. I also feel a little less me, but I am living with that. I am learning what boundaries work for me and my resources…time, emotion, financial, and more.