Travel and Exercise/ Get Up and Move Update

Whether you travel for business or pleasure, getting in your daily workout is possible regardless of where you will be or what you will be staying in.

Granted, hotels are probably the easiest place to get in a workout since many of them offer a workout room/area, but what do you do if you are not in a hotel with this option? Here are some helpful ideas that you could consider.

Depending on where you are located when you travel many cities have gyms that will offer a daily drop in fee for travelers. It does not hurt to ask.

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You could also consider rentals, such as in Door County,WI there are numerous places to rent bikes and kayaks for a reasonable price.

When my husband travels for business, he will often save room for his yoga mat and throw in a dvd to practice yoga in his room before breakfast. It does not take up a lot of room and really could even be done without a mat if you wish. I found yoga very helpful when we traveled to Utah and did this every morning before meeting for the day to start hiking with our group.

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You could get in your strength training also without even leaving your room. Purchasing a set of resistance bands is perfect to throw into your luggage. Compact, light weight and easy to use.

If you have access to a car while traveling, finding a local high school may offer a track to run on. You could also find a nature trail to run on if you prefer running with a view. And if nothing else is possible, just take a walk near your hotel. You can walk just about anywhere.

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When we travel, I am someone that really needs to be able to get some kind of true exercise in no matter what. It truly just makes me a happier person. So, I will normally research the area we will be visiting and see what there is to offer.  I can normally have my workout done before my boys are even up and ready to go, so it never interferes with our plans of the day.

Don’t let travel be an excuse not to get in a good workout.

And now for my first update of the GET UP AND MOVE CHALLENGE:

(for this first update I am going to start on Monday Dec. 30 simply because it will be easier to post weekly updates for me every Monday)

Monday 12/30: 45 minutes cardio, 30 minutes strength training, 15 minutes abs

Tuesday 12/31: 15 minutes abs and strength training, 1 mile walk

Wednesday 1/1: 30 minutes arc trainer, 15 minute treadmill, 30 minute strength training(all at the gym)

Thursday 1/2: 25 minutes recumbent bike, 10 minutes strength training, 3 mile walk

Friday 1/3: off

Saturday1/4: 30 minutes cardio and 30 minutes upper body strength training (all at the gym)

Sunday 1/5: 20 minutes cardio on the arc trainer and 15 minute walk on the treadmill (all at the gym)

I was pretty proud of myself Sunday. I laid on the heating pad for most of the morning and finally forced myself to just get up and go to the gym. I have been nursing a sore back for three days, and Sunday  was the worse day. I did not feel worse after exercise but no better either. Although,I was happy I made myself go to the gym. No one said everyday was going to be great, but I did it and I was happy I did.

How did you all do on your GET UP AND MOVE goal?

Another Few Miles Geocaching on the Ahnapee State Trail

The last three Sunday’s we have made our way to a different part of the Ahnapee State Trail to geocache. Today we accomplished 3.27 miles with partly sunny skies.

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The terrain on this trail is crushed rock and flat all the way. It always amazes me how peaceful I feel when walking a trail away from the city.

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With all the leaves fallen from most of the trees now, it is quite easy to find things that we would normally not notice.

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Along the way we heard many, many hunters shooting in the distance, saw a gentlemen fishing the river from a kayak (brrrrr, way to cold for me), two hunters with their dog, and one big buck, which obviously I did not have my camera out at the time or I would have had a picture for you all to see.

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It was a productive day with us finding eleven goecaches and getting in a nice walk together.

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After this we came home and ultimately finished our first puzzle.

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This was suppose to last till Spring or at least most of Winter. I guess we both got a little addicted to the hobby and had it together in about 4 days. No worries though, I bought another one yesterday.

Hope you all had a great weekend.

Devil’s Lake State Park/Our First Visit With Our Son

This summer we never found the time to make our yearly trip to our favorite hiking destination in Wisconsin, Devil’s Lake State Park. This did not make me very happy. I mentioned to my husband that I sure would like to try and make it there before winter. His favorite saying is, “Happy wife,happy life!” So, he agreed to set aside a weekend to hike this beautiful park and make his wife happy:)

While talking with our son, I mentioned we were planning this adventure and he said he would like to join us if we made the trip on a Saturday. We clearly thought this would be a great way to sneak in a visit and spend it hiking as a family like always. (Otherwise we would not be seeing him until Thanksgiving normally) So we worked out the best weekend and decided to leave extra early to travel a little further and pick him and his friend up from campus for the day.

We left home at 4:45 am and picked them up at 9am to head back to the park arriving about 11:00 am. Our goal was to make it to the top of the first cliff and have a picnic lunch together. Upon arrival it was gorgeous, not too hot  and very sunny.

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We stopped a few times to take pictures and let his friend take in the view.

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This park has my favorite terrain to hike, boulders everywhere. I have climbed this trail numerous times and it never gets old.

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Upon reaching the top we found a fairly flat boulder on the edge of the cliff, off the beaten path and enjoyed a nice spread of picnic foods and some catching up with the kids. It was so nice to sit and talk.

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After lunch we headed to Devils Door. This is a spectacular rock formation at the very top of the cliff.

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Popular for many different reasons. Here you can find rock climbers, scenic helicopter rides and hikers that love to climb into and out to the edge of this formation.

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The colors of Autumn were just beautiful from this view.

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Then it was time to head back down and refill water bottles for the next hike. This one is a killer, but well worth the view at the top. Unlike the rock climbing on the other side, this side is mostly paved with many steps built into the the path. The incline is steep and exhausting. The view from the top is breathtaking and so worth the effort.

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When we reached the top, we had the opportunity to watch some rock climbers do their thing, which is always exciting.

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From this side we could look over and see the side that we had just climbed. It does not seem so high until you see it from this angle.

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After this we hiked back down and headed to our next destination, our campsite.

The town that our son’s campus is located in is very small, has a total of two hotels and they are by far, not the nicest hotels to stay in. So, we had planned ahead and decided we would camp at a near by state park. We  really wanted to have our tent set up by dark so we decided to bring freeze dried meals and all have dinner together at camp before returning the kids back to campus. Ahead of time we had informed our son of this plan, and told him to ask his friend which meal she preferred to have in freeze dried form.

We reached the campsite and my husband starting setting up the tent while my son and I started getting dinner ready.

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This was his friends first experience with a freeze dried meal, so when he opened her meal of choice and showed her the inside she was somewhat speechless. I couldn’t help but laugh at her facial expression. Thankfully we had enough picnic food left over from lunch just in case.

Everyone’s boiling water was added to their meals. When it was time to start my husbands meal of choice, chicken breast with mashed potatoes, his needs to be done in steps, so I took out the freeze dried chicken breast and placed them on a plate.

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She was again rendered speechless, and just turned up her nose. I guess you had to be there to realize how funny it really was. They began measuring out the proper amount of water for this meal, looking like two mad scientists doing an experiment.

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While we waited for this meal to be prepared, it was time for her to take a look in her bag and see the outcome of her chili mac after it sat with boiling water for the required time. I don’t have a picture of this expression because I was laughing too hard. Although, she opened her bag, tried it and said it was pretty tasty. She took a picture to document her first freeze dried meal for future reference. It must have been edible because she ate the entire meal. It was a fun dinner with lots and lots of laughs.

Then it was time to bring the kids back to their dorms. We did stop for a quick Dairy Queen dessert before dropping them off and saying good bye. They both seemed to have a great time, and enjoyed their well needed break from campus life for a few hours. I have no doubt they were both feeling a little stiff the next morning from hiking, but they are young, they should recover fast. We told them on the second, more strenuous hike, we were helping them keep off the freshman 15 lbs. that everyone talks about. I don’t think either one believed us though.

All in all, we had a great day with them. We were tired by the time we headed back to our campsite for the night but were confident after seeing the two of them that they are getting along on their own just fine. As a parent, you never really know what will happen when they go off to college, but mine seems to be doing quite well and that makes me feel good.

Our 20th Anniversary Vacation-Zion National Park-Day 1 and 2

We just returned from our Zion National Park vacation to celebrate our 20th anniversary. We have never taken a vacation like this in the past and I can assure you this will not be our last. It was SPECTACULAR!!!!!

We booked this guided trip with REI Adventures. We have wanted to see Zion for some time now and thought this would be the perfect time. Well, as we found out, mother nature had other thoughts. We were to get ourselves to Henderson,Nevada and stay at or near the Green Valley Ranch Resort because this would be the pick up point of our trip. We arrived the afternoon before and spent the night here. The resort was beautiful and the rooms were very nice.

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We got settled and walked to a near by shopping district to get some food for breakfast before the REI guides picked us up in the morning. Along the way, my husband loaded a geocache near our hotel so he could get one in Nevada. This was an easy find, in a nice little community area in the shopping district.

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We got what we needed and returned to the resort for some relaxation by the pool before the next few days of hiking.

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Not exactly what we were looking for in this vacation, but who could pass this up. Not us!!!

The next day we were asked to meet in the lobby at 8am. The REI guides showed up and we all gathered for a small chat in the lobby. There were 9 hikers and two guides in our group. We were informed immediately of some bad news, which turns out was not so bad after all. The road to our camp was washed out from monsoon rains overnight and the park had to close it down. Our first thought was, panic, we traveled all this way to be stuck in Nevada. I would have been devastated. Then they told us we would be lodge based instead and REI would be covering the cost of this arrangement. Well, if that is all that went wrong, I could handle that. So we loaded and left for the 3 hour trip to Zion National Park.

Everyone chatted along the way, and got to know each other a little better. Upon arriving in Springdale, Utah our first stop was for lunch at a city park.

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We were told to stretch our legs and take a walk while our guides prepared lunch for the group.

Not 5 minutes out of the van and guess what my husband came across, a snake!

Lunch was a simple chicken veggie wrap with ginger sesame dressing, fresh fruit and homemade cookies.

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Megan, our guide, informed us that one plate of cookies was made with a mesquite flour and one plate was made with a flour with a few “special” additives. Ground up grasshoppers and crickets, were the “special” additives:( Oh my, I thought, gosh its going to be an interesting few days! My husband gave them a try, me on the other hand, just couldn’t get past the thought. I had the bug free version on the other plate.

Then we were off to get our first glance of Zion. I was speechless, the beauty was almost magical. I had finally made it to climb the mountains, something I have only ever dreamed of doing.

We filled water bottles and our first and only hike of the day was the Watchman trail. (round trip 5 miles) It was a great first hike, hot and beautiful. Our guides were very knowledgeable and would share great information about each trail as we hiked. It was quite informative.

Then it was off to see the lodge we would be staying at called the Driftwood Lodge, just a few miles down the road.

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We arrived and Megan got us all our assigned room keys. We were told to freshen up and meet back in the front in an hour for dinner at and area restaurant.(No camp fire food for dinner with the camp being washed out. All our meals were also provided and paid for by REI) We took our keys and all scattered to our rooms. Upon entering, I just wanted to cry. It was so beautiful.

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Were were the only ones with a suite, being the only married couple on the trip together. And the view from our private patio was like a postcard.

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Our dinner that night was at a place called Oscar’s Cafe.

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Superb food, especially the brownie sunday that came on a platter sized dish. Brian, our guide, ordered this and asked for 11 spoons, one for each of us to have a bite or two.

After dinner we were all briefed on what was the plan for the next day, how much water to have in our packs and any other special supplies that would be needed for the days adventures.

It was a terrific start to our trip and I just could not imagine what sights we would see the next day.

Geocache #400

We have finally hit 400 geocaches and it only took us two years.

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We don’t do this too often, because it’s usually too buggy in the summer, too cold in the winter, or we are just simply too busy doing all the other outdoor activities we do.

We recently went on a trail not too far from where we live and had a nice walk. Wild flowers lined the edge of the trail making it quite beautiful.

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Unfortunately we came upon an area that was suddenly bombarded with mosquitoes. A little further up the trail we found the reason for all the little bothersome critters. A nice little pond!

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So, we turned around and headed back the other direction. When we hit sunshine and a breeze everything was much better. So we kept walking coming upon a yard full of old farm equipment. I thought this old wagon was just so cool.

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After a few more yards we hit shade again ,and sure enough more mosquitoes. Since my husband is the one that has to venture off into the woods for the actual cache, because I am not into bushwacking, he said he had had enough. ( Remember my rule: If I can’t see the ground, I also can’t see any snakes, so I don’t go!)

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So we turned around and headed back to the car. We accomplished what we were out to do and that was to find #400.

Now we’ll see how long it take us to find #500. Time will tell.

Hiking Rib Mountain State Park

Another one of the activities we had planned while visiting Wausau this past weekend was to hike Rib Mountain State Park.

A picture from the car window upon arriving. You can really see all the ski slopes.

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The temperature was cool, and the skies were cloudy, which made this hike bug free for the most part. We started the hike with a family picnic under a park shelter.

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Then started down the trail. Our goal was to find a few geocaches, and to hike around the Quarry Trail. My favorite type of terrain to hike is boulders and incline. So I was in heaven, there were boulders everywhere. We climbed all the way to the top of the quarry cliff and then we made our way all along the top rim.

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The trails were so quiet, we saw a total of 6 people the entire time we were hiking.

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We did find all the geocaches we were out to find, and hiked a total of 4 miles with a lot of elevation.

We were all quite tired and very happy to see the parking lot when we rounded the last corner.

Another great memorable family hike to add to our collection:)

PS: So far this year, snake free!!! Amazing!

A Visit To Wausau White Water Park

Saturday morning we awoke bright and early to make the short travel to Wausau, WI for a day of adventure. Our first stop was at  Wausau Whitewater.  

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This is a a great place to try out your whitewater skills, or to learn new skills from some very knowledgeable paddlers. Both my son and husband have participated in this coarse in the past and have learned a great deal of skills here. I also over heard today that we will be returning soon to give this another try.

The portion of the river is very popular when the organization posts that there is going to be a dam release for whitewater purposes. These releases last from 10am-4pm, and in this time you can register for lessons, participate in the recreational release, or you can sit on the edge of the river and just enjoy the show. There is a small fee to participate, although spectating is free. Today,that is what we did.

The nicest thing here for me, as a mom and a wife, is there is medical personnel waiting on the edge, on the rocks mid river, and throw ropes laying all along the edge of the river for spectators to pitch in if needed. Along with the medical personnel, fellow kayakers will also assist mid river when they can.

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Here is the river, calm and relaxing before the dam release.

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And during the release

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If you would need to exit your kayak anywhere along here and cannot make it to the edge of the river, there is a nice little lake waiting for you at the end of the whitewater. Feet in front of you is the rule, and enjoy the ride on your backside.

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Here are some pictures I captured of some experienced whitewater paddlers doing what they do best.

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Here is a little trick they all use to get more volume in their kayaks which makes it easier to flip the boat over themselves while in the rapid.

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Yes, that is a beach ball. They stuff it between their legs under their skirt that covers the kayak cockpit. Genius!

We also saw a class of mostly women taking their first whitewater lesson today. All looked quite nervous as they made their way down river to learn the basics.

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This is an awesome place for paddlers to try their skills, hang out with fellow whitewater paddlers and just have a great time. If you come from far, there is a wonderful little area that kayakers are allowed to camp for the weekend and it is literally right next to the rivers edge.

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It’s the one place that you can see a rainbow of colors and you don’t even have to look up to the sky.

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Happy Paddling Everyone:)