Tag Archives: hike

JAMIE’S BLOG – YEAR 6 – YOGA DAY 211:: on top of the world

6 Aug

Day 210: Up in the clouds.

Oh. What. A. Day.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember what is in my backyard. I see the peak of Mt. Baker every day, usually, when there is sun, peaking out from behind the top of a tree.. And yet… I had NO idea that Mt. Baker is actually THIS…

Until today.

Stacy took us on a seven-mile hike and up, up, up we climbed…

Through snow…

And yoga poses….without falling over or down the cliff I might add…

And flowers…

And with canine helpers too, this little girl was herding us all up the hill, and there was something quite reassuring about that. Like she knew the way.

And now, at night, as I am safely tucked in, sitting at my kitchen table, much closer to the sea than to the “ski” up above. But I am remembering what it felt like to be up in the clouds. In the fresh air, the cool wind and untouched beauty.

It’s breathtaking, really.

So far this year with this promise, I have done yoga on the beach, on a train, on a plane, and, now, on top of a mountain.

And no matter how high up we go, or low we land, (or wobbly our legs feel) I am learning to stay grounded.  Feet on the ground, head in the clouds, rolling with the waves. Like the Mountain, the Tree, and the Sea.

And maybe that is what yoga is trying to teach me?
To be with Nature.
Instead of pushing against her.

More tomorrow.


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JAMIE’S BLOG – YEAR 6 – YOGA DAY 31 :: magical woods

31 Jan

Day 31. One-Hundred Acre Woods.

It sounds like Winnie-The-Pooh and Robin Hood too. The One-Hundred Acre Woods. I’ve heard about it from a few people now. As in, “You live right next to the one-hundred acre woods!”

So, today, we set out to find them.

Not all 100 of them, of course that will take years I think (maybe… right?), but find a few of them we did! Pup sniffed his way through every piece of acre we covered. Brady helped too. Pointing us in the right direction.


It felt a bit magical in a Sherwood Forest sort of way. We didn’t meet any merry men but did meet several other dogs and their owners, and runners, and bikers. And I met a very sweet woman (named, you guessed it, Robin!) who stopped to talk with Brady.

“Vizsla?” She said.
“Yes!” I answered.

And in some odd way I felt like somehow I knew her, or had met her before. She gave me some local tips and then buried her face next to Brady’s and patted him on the head. Almost like she had met him before too.

Then off into the woods she walked. And I thought…Nice to meet you Robin. Thanks for sharing your woods.

Tonight, as I reflect on our day (and my sore muscles from our hike) I wonder what else there is to explore in our new world (besides yoga = which I already did for the day!).

It’s not Nottingham.. it’s Bellingham.
And I think she still has some magic to show us.

More tomorrow.


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Day 179: fearless in the grand canyon :: day 2 part 2, a bright angel

28 Jun

Just this morning we were at the top of the Grand Canyon, peering over the edge.

From up above you cannot spot the river.
No sign of a roaring, white water beast. Just a canyon of rocks. A bowl of hardened sediment, millions of years old.

The hike down loses about 4,000 feet of elevation.  More than a mile straight down.  Almost an 8 mile hike.  But after 4 hours of hiking and sweating it felt like a marathon by the time our toes hit waters bottom in the Colorado River.

Our first order of business was to send out a search party.
We were missing members of our party.

Where were Kim and Dave? 

August 18, 1869 – “Early in the afternoon we discover a stream entering from the north — a clear, beautiful creek, coming down through a gorgeous red canyon. We conclude to name it Bright Angel’.”    
-Major John Wesley Powell, first American explorers of “the Great Unknown”

After an hour passed Kim, Dave and our guide Tom finally emerge from the canyon wall, as if walking straight out of that clear, beautiful creek in the gorgeous red canyon.

Dave summed it up best —  I knew Kim was tired when she laid down in the creek and didn’t care about her clothes. 

Ah, yes, under the elements we have already given up our attachment to the frivolous condition of fabric on our backs. I personally was sporting  a red splotched shirt with canyon creek mud prints.


As we met our new best friends — turkey sandwiches, peanut butter and jelly, and host of cookies and trail mix — we were also introduced to our river guides — the people in which were about to entrust our lives.

They were a merry band of tan and muscular individuals who obviously looked more at home in the heat than our panting, dehydrated souls. They bounced from boat to boat, tying things down, grabbing buckets, laying out life jackets and instructing us on how to pack.

You see, you don’t just PACK for the Grand Canyon.
You pack, and then repack to make sure you have what you need.  And, then before boarding the boat, you RE-pack your new pack one more time — after you have packed it on your back down through the canyon.

Once at rivers edge we were assigned large, rubber, black bags, with enormous zip locks. And, we were instructed to remove everything from our backpacks.

Then it was time to get down to business.
Pick a life jacket. 


I saw the #1 written on one of the life jackets, just sitting there starring up at me.  I hesitated for a moment, out of fear of appearing cocky — but then couldn’t resist. Hey, I may be a zero in other parts of my life (fear of spiders!) but at least I could wear a #1 on my back all week, if only on my life preserve.

Next came our safety talk with Keith — certified safety officer — who explained everything you need to know to gracefully survive falling out of your boat and being pummeled to death by rocks and 10-rated rapids.

Or, as Keith put it, “survive your own, personal, white water adventure.”

This was important information because we were about to launch into three of the larger rapids on the river — right out of the gate:

Horn Creek (7-9 on a scale of 10)
Granite (7-8)

Hermit (7-8)

Or, as I refer to them as:
Fearless #1
Fearless #2
Fearless #3

I can honestly say I have never felt anything more intense or larger-than-life than being in the bottom of the Grand Canyon — floating down clear, emerald green water with just a tube of yellow rubber and a life preserve on my back — then, without any practice or a trial run, shooting straight into the river and hoping for the best.

There is nothing more intense than the stillness of the water right before you drop into the rapids.  Even if you know what to do, where to place your paddle, how to turn the boat and how to save yourself if you fall out.

We all made it down river to camp.
No one fell out. No one was lost. Everyone accounted for.

We already had scrapes and bruises to show off as souvenirs and one pair of broken Tevas. But, we made it through our first string of challenges — a brutal hike on the Bright Angel Trail in the heat and three kick-ass, rambunctious rapids — all in one day.

Twenty-four of us total. Divided evenly between twelve men and twelve women, about to take on the grandest canyon of all — with the help of eight skilled guides and oarsmen.

But not before we learned how to poop.

That night in camp, Kerrie, our lead guide and “Mama Duck” explained the rules of camp. Mostly the typical procedures of how to wash your hands and set up your sleeping kit, but most important — how to groove.

Urination in a bucket — don’t toss in the toilet paper!
And defecation in a separate bucket — otherwise known as THE GROOVER.

The best news of all — every time the conch shell rings, a camper gets her wings — wait, I mean, she gets to eat DINNER!

Which may have been the best news of all after a long, hard, day’s work.
Who cares if you have to poop in a can — food’s on!

As we set up camp for the night we could hear the roar of Crystal (7 – 10) the rapid just beyond our campsite.

She is the mother-load.
A bright angel.
The queen of the river.
The goddess of the GEMS.

And, we were headed straight for her in the morning. 

Day 178: grand canyon day 2, part 1 :: looking fearless and color coordinated

27 Jun

Sunlight begins to creep into the Grand Canyon around 4:30 AM.

I know this because we slept on the edge of the canyon ledge inside our lodge perched above the Bright Angel Trail. I watched out my hotel window as light surfaced and reflected off rugged rocks in the morning hours.

It meant only one thing — spiders or not, it’s Go Time.
Fearless here we come! 

We met at the top of the Bright Angel Trail at 6 AM to collect ourselves and our walking sticks before the 7.8 mile hike began.

From ages 18 to 77, we were a group of 24 people, all related, loved or otherwise thought of as that special brand of “family” — the kind you can spend 9 days in the wilderness, looking out for each other’s back and best interest.

As we waited for other members of our party to arrive a poster caught my eye.

Can You Run A Marathon? 
The headline on the poster taunted and then went on to explain that Margaret L. Bradley, 24, and a woman in perfect health, as well as, a Boston Marathon runner, died in the Grand Canyon in 2004 from dehydration — even though she was a world class athlete, she died.

The message was clear:
Don’t let this be you.  And, carry A LOT of water.

We snapped a group photo and then began our trek, down, down, down the winding, dry, dirt path.

You would think a downhill climb would be a piece of cake. Easy. Effortless. Effervescent.
At times it was.

There were moments of intense beauty.
But, the hike, while pleasantly downhill, was in the piercing desert heat.

Our guide advised us to stop for water and refill at every opportunity.  So we did.  We also stopped at every water stop and creek, tore off our shirts and submerged them in the cold water.

At one water stop, I completely rammed my head into the man-made awning as I walked by it. I didn’t see it’s low overhang, and as I walked closer to catch up with my fellow hikers, well… I saw stars. 

The wooden overhang was intended to provide a shady spot to refuel for water, but it gave me a huge bump on the head instead (and a bruise to my ego as our trail guide repeatedly asked me if I was okay).

“Oh, great!” I thought. “I’m not even 1/3 of a way down this trail and I’m going to be labeled the token klutz. She probably has my hiker profile called into the Park Service. Six-foot tall, blonde, female. Found woozy with distinct blow to forehead. Scared of spiders. Be on the lookout.”

The stinging eventually went away in my head.  But, then, I doused my bandana in water and wrapped it around my neck to cool off. It seemed like the most obvious rugged, outdoorsy, color coordinated thing to do — I saw at least three other people do it.

But I didn’t see that it was tie-dying my top in red and pink blotches.
The red dye from the bandana was leaking out all over my shirt, making my head wound look like a bleeding contusion that drifted down to my chest.

So much for playing it cool and color coordinated. 
The hike must go on.

After a few hours, we made our way into Indian Garden — 4.6 miles down from the South Rim and the last water refueling station.

A band of mules clomped down the trail with passengers attached to their backs. It looked like an awful way to traverse the trail, being tossed and thrown up and down on a saddle over the rocky cliffs with dust flying everywhere.

Along with mules, I saw a pregnant deer, various lizards, a black snake with a white stripe, and others in our party spotted a big horned sheep.

But, the most aggressive and not-to-be-toyed-with-creature on the trail was definitely the squirrel. 

Yes, squirrels.  Vicious little creatures. 
They hide out and wait to pounce on unsuspecting, dehydrated humans, with their cute looks and quirky behavior.  One stole a Vitamin C pack out of a backpack right from under our nose.

The trail kept going.  
So did we. 

After finally making it out of the corkscrew, a never ending portion of switchbacks and turns, we came to a creek crossing.  There we soaked, almost out of water and drying out from the heat.

Another hiker headed uphill entered our creek water and we stopped him with a very uncomplicated question:
How much further until we hit the river?

He starred at us confused. I noticed he was wearing jeans and white sneakers — not the standard protocol for hiking an almost 8 mile uphill batte in 100+ degree heat. He finally stammered a weak, “I think 30 minutes.”

As he passed through, Justin noticed the man had a plane ticket hanging from his backpack.

I developed an on-the-spot-bullet-proof-theory in my shortness of breath — that man is a fugitive!

You never know…I could be right.

But that man was definitely wrong on his timing.
Because not even 10 minutes later we heard the roar of rapids and spotted the emerald green river with yellow Outdoors Unlimited boats tied up to the shore waiting for us.

We made it!
But not everyone was accounted for…

Day 298: spa rah rah! i miss the spa!

25 Oct

I miss the spa!
Maybe it’s because my head cold is getting the best of me today. Or maybe I miss the food.

Either way, sniffle, sniffle.

I just spent 15 minutes on SpaFinder dreaming about other spas to visit someday, when I found this: a free pamphlet on Ayurveda practices from The Raj Spa.

With each word I read, I am brought right back to the lavender and calmness of Lake Austin Spa Resort (which I visited just last week with Debbie while we were working for Women on Fire of course!).

I suppose the teachings of Ayurveda remind me of the spa because we were up early, fed well, out in nature, exercised on water, gave our bodies lots of nourishment and self-care and then, of course, slipped into bed at a reasonable hour.

It seems like our morning hike through the Texas Hill Country (pictured below) was just yesterday, so it’s hard for me to believe it was really a week ago.

And, I suppose that’s the hardest part of returning home — figuring out exactly how to incorporate the spa lifestyle that I love into my own lifestyle, and those pesky things called day-to-day habits.

I suppose it could be as easy as starting my day with a morning walk in nature?
Or getting to bed early?

Here’s a pretty good schedule if you ask me — a sample daily routine from the Ayurveda download explaining the impact of each dosha:

2:00 AM to 6:00 AM
Vata active
Awake before 6:00 AM
Good for meditation

6:00 AM to 10:AM
Kapha active
Good for exercise
Avoid sleeping into this period

10:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Pitta active
Digestion is strongest
Largest meal at lunch (12:30)

2:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Vata active
Tendency for tiredness
Herbal tea & spices in water or milk
Rejuvenate with meditation

6:00 PM to 10:00 PM
Kapha active
Evening walk
To bed before 10 PM

10:00 PM to 2:00 AM
Pitta active
Metabolic housecleaning strong
Sleep for best purification

Maybe, I’ll add some of this insight to my schedule.
Well, maybe, tomorrow. I think I have an appointment with Nyquil tonight.

If you’re looking for a spa in your area, here’s a fun place to start — check out SpaFinder’s deals site at Spa Rah Rah which gives discounts on spas and wellness centers across the country.

Plus, If you want to learn more about Ayurveda, the free download from The Raj Spa is here.

I’ll be over here sniffling and spa dreaming…

Day 191: take a blissful hike

10 Jul

Oh summer!
Today was a bright and gorgeous day here on the island.  With such a spectacular setting we decided it was time to check another wish off my list:


Today’s hike took us through Menemsha Hills a beautiful property on the southwestern coast.  After about 3 miles of hiking through forest, trees, wetlands and dry sand, we climbed to the second highest point on the island (no bragging here, it’s only 308 feet above sea level but still made my sides hurt and induced panting – sad but true. I see you dear Boulder friends rolling your eyes over there in Colorado!).

We finally hit this view of Vineyard Sound looking towards the Elizabeth Islands.

Hiking and I don’t intrinsically go together. 
I am too timid in nature (read: scared of spiders and snakes) and too spooked by sounds that rustle in the trees (again: snakes and giant tarantulas waiting to pounce on me).

But with Justin I feel safe.  I always have. 
Even when we were seventeen-years old hiking through the Snake River Canyon which was a magical wonderland, practically in our backyard and definitely our playground, we would trek down to the canyon, beyond Dierkes Lake and jump off boulders into the hidden lakes and under waterfalls.

I never would have done this alone. 
It’s sad when I imagine all the things I would have missed growing up — and even now if I didn’t have a guide. Someone to take my hand and lead me to the edge. 

Do you have a guide to take you to your edge?

Here’s a quick message from the base of our hike today:

And, before I forget! Here’s my special treat from yesterday!
It’s certainly a hard task to indulge my sweet tooth with the complicated array of things I can’t eat these days.  So imagine my instant love affair with this new gem on the island: Blissed Out.

Blissed Out is an organic, raw, juice bar.  With yummy concoctions and green smoothies to boot it’s the perfect way to cool off after a long hike (or a tough day reading a book on the beach).

Even this new discovery took a guide to introduce me to it’s splendor!
Thank you Ellen Wingard and Debbie Phillips.

An organic, sugar-free, gluten-free, dairy-free treat I can sink my sweet tooth into?
Well that’s just pure bliss.

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