Let’s Reminisce / Get Up and Move Update Week 3

I have made it very clear that the months of winter are very long for me. So I thought we would reminisce together. If you miss the sunny skies of summer, sunscreen, wet beach towels, tailgate meals, dirt covered hiking trails and just about anything else that pertains to summer, please enjoy these pics with me.

A winter hike today

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A summer hike in the future to look forward to.

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Our VERY icy beach today

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The same gorgeous sunny beach we will wait patiently to see again in the summer.

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A friend we came across while winter hiking

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A warm weather friend I wouldn’t mind seeing again.

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My husband climbing the ice mountain alone

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A much more enjoyable mountain we could climb again together.

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Our very dry kayaks hanging in the garage.

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The way we would rather see our kayaks. WET!!!

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Oh, if only I could make our rivers flow and warm up sooner…..

And last but not least, the lighthouse we aim for when fishing on the big lake in the summer months. This lighthouse is my savior because that means we are almost to the bathrooms after HOURS of fishing.

Today it looks a little frosty with splattered lake water frozen to the side of it.

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And here is a look at it in the summer months with no ice crystals nearby.

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Gosh, do I miss summer. I just keep thinking, everyday brings me a little closer to the time of year I love.

Enough reminiscing, time to move on…

Now for the GET UP AND MOVE UPDATE for week three.

Monday 1/13: 30 minutes on the arc trainer, 15 minutes of cycling and weight training (all at the gym)

Tuesday 1/14: 30 minutes cycling, and 30 minutes of floor exercises at home, 45 minute yoga dvd

Wednesday 1/15: 30 minutes of cycling(at home), 30 minutes on the arc trainer, weight lifting, 15 minutes of cycling (at the gym)

Thursday 1/16: 3 mile walk with my hubby

Friday 1/17: 30 minutes cycling and 30 minute stability ball workout with hand weights (at home)

Saturday 1/18: 30 minutes on the arc trainer, 15 minutes cycling and weight lifting (all at the gym)

Sunday 1/19: 30 minutes on the arc trainer, 20 minutes cycling and weight lifting (all at the gym)

This week has been amazing. Great workouts even though we arrived at the gym a few times this week and cars were parked on the street due to the lot being full. The joys of New Year’s resolutions….it will slowly clear out in the upcoming weeks, I am sure. At least the gym has plenty of equipment, which means we did not have any trouble getting in what we needed to in a reasonable amount of time.

So how are you all doing on the challenge? Are you getting in 30 minutes? Are you feeling more energized? Are you sleeping better? I can attest from what my husband has seen since he has started his new routine, that he is feeling much better all the way around. He has so much more energy. His first two arc trainer sessions were killers but he is now up to 30 minutes at one time at a very good level and his heart rate is perfect;) Which makes his wife (me) very happy. I hope you are all seeing the same successful outcome that he has seen.

For me, well, the 30 minutes is really not much of a challenge. I normally workout a lot and I know this. My workouts are more for happiness than exercise. Which may sound odd, but exercise just really makes me happy. With my birthday coming up here in a few months I am just so grateful I am as active as I am at this age. It’s sort of odd to think what I was like when I was 25 because I did not do much at all when I was younger. Now, there are days where I just have to say enough is enough and just stop moving for the day.

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.

Our First “Empty Nester’s” Vacation

We did not waste any time to experience what it would be like to go on a mini vacation as a couple instead of a family.

We spent a good portion of Friday moving our son into his dorm and left mid afternoon for a camp sight about three more hours from his campus. This felt odd, leaving him behind, but we did it knowing that he was well settled and we did all we could do to make him feel comfortable with his new surroundings.

We had our new tent, new sleeping bags, sleeping mats, a bunch of freeze dried meals and our new day packs all loaded and ready for our trial run before the big Zion National Park trip we have planned.

When we arrived the tent was pitched with ease. (Hubby did this twice before leaving home to make sure he knew how) Our sleeping mats were unrolled and bags laid on top. We arrived right around dinner time, so we took out the MSR Whisperlite stove and prepared our favorite Mountain House freeze dried meal, chicken fajitas and corn.

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After dinner, we headed to the showers, and this brought a whole new experience for us. We both headed to our own side of the shower room.  As I got ready to turn on the water, I turned around and guess what was staring at me from the wall????? FOUR LITTLE FROGS! Oh my, I really honestly did not know what to do. Yes, it was over 100 degrees with the heat index all day, and I really wanted a nice refreshing shower, but at the same time, I also wanted to step very calmly out of the shower stall so they would not happen to jump on me with any quick movement I made. They did not seem to concerned about me being there, so I decided, it was either shower with them or not shower at all. I can proudly say, I bucked up and just showered. They never moved from their spot, just watched and waited for me to leave their shower stall when I was finished. The funniest part, was when I was all finished and exited the shower room, my husband was waiting patiently on the bench outside, and asked if I had any “new friends” in the shower with me. I said yes, why? He just laughed and said, wow, I was waiting for the scream, and it never happened, so he thought maybe his shower was the only one that had the frogs in it. I told him, nope they were in mine also, but we all got along just fine:)

Early Saturday morning we got up and had some breakfast. We were hoping to beat the heat of the day and get our hiking in. We started with East Brady’s Bluff Trail in which we saw some beautiful rock structures along the way.

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Upon arriving at the top,our view was of Trempealeau Mountain with the mighty Mississippi River all around it.

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We also had a small snack in the shelter at the top of the bluff.

IMG_2712We then headed down West Brady’s Bluff Trail. Took a peak at Horseshoe Falls, which was not a falls today, but still a sight to see.

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Then we decided to take on the hardest trail in the park. Perrot Ridge Trail. This trail is a mighty climb. At the very top the park rangers have even secured a rope for assistance in the last few yards of the climb.

A view looking up:

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And a view looking down, when we reached the top.

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We were pretty proud. We did this fairly easy compared to past years. Our training must be paying off. Don’t let me fool you though, we were hot and tired when we reached the top, but did it with ease.

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I hope my confidence stays with me to the top of Angel’s Landing in Zion in a few weeks!!!

Upon reaching the top, we took a break and did a mom and dad thing. We texted our son, and told him we made it to the top. It had been about 24 hours since we had said our good bye’s and we thought we would check in and make sure all was going well. After a bit of time, we started down the trail back to camp for some lunch. Cheesy chili was our choice for today. Another very yummy freeze dried meal.

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This ended our hiking excursion. It started to get hot and very muggy again.

So we thought some disc golf in a nearby city would be fun. We got in the truck and headed to Winona, Minnesota. We had played this course before and wanted to visit the city again seeing we were so close by. We spent the afternoon golfing and then my husband finally had the opportunity to take me to a restaurant he has visited a few times when he has been on the road working in this city.

All in all, it was a great weekend. Our tent was wonderful ,Marmot Trestles sleeping bags were never slept inside of because of the heat, but our Therm-a-Rest Sleeping mats provided plenty of padding from the hard ground.

Trip Of A Lifetime With The Love Of My Life

About two weeks ago my husband came home from work, and I surprised him with a question he was not expecting. Yellowstone or Zion? He just sort of looked at me with this blank stare on his face and said, well, let’s here the details. (Which he knew I would already have printed out for him, because that’s just who I am.) He didn’t ask how, why, or how much money.

After reading both plan details, he answered, ZION!!! I was sooo happy and excited. Two hours after that, everything was confirmed. (Except for his days off at work, but I was not worried, there is always that sudden illness if they said no.) There was no way I was giving him time to change his mind.

Now, you have to understand one thing. Typically in our house we make decisions together, for the most part. I did not just throw this at him and expect an answer.(well, ok, maybe I did a little) He had been hearing me say for at least the past 6 months that I was ready for a vacation. We have dedicated our last two summers to college touring which has eaten up all our vacation time. Not to mention, we are not getting any younger, and I feel a little panicked lately, that I am not going to get in everything I want to do before my body says I am not doing that. So, this has been on our list for awhile, and we are doing it. It’s going to be our 20th anniversary and I couldn’t think of a better place to spend it to celebrate. So, I should at least get credit for giving him two choices, both of which are on our list.

Now the hard part begins. We are very active people, as you know from reading past blogs, but we need to get even more active. The schedule was sent to us and we have been working hard at increasing our mileage every night. We typically walk 3 miles after dinner, now we have been walking 5 miles. Our goal is 10 miles total, but, time restrictions really have us limited during the week. As we get closer to the trip, we are going to have to add our loaded packs. We have also changed up our route drastically from the normal route. We needed to add more hills, because the elevation we will be climbing is pretty drastic.

We have purchased our day packs, and have started accumulating some of the supplies on the packing list they sent us.

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We have never done anything like this before, so I am nervous and very excited all at the same time. So far, everyone we know thinks we are crazy. Most people look at a vacation as a time to relax. I hate vacations where we just sit around. You only live once and I want to live life to its fullest and explore everything I can.

I saw this saying a while ago and had to take a picture to always remember it. This is exactly how I want to live my life.

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I just hope my husband enjoys the ride with me. Wish us luck and I’ll keep you posted on our progress.