Monday, July 11, 2016

Kick starting a summer of adventure

#Adventuresofnatandd kicked off two things in May: the welcoming of warmer weather and our QiTopia Summer Adventure Training Camp launch. This meant on Wednesday’s I got to adventure not once but twice every other week with the 9 girls who signed up for our training. Dawnelle took on the Monday night adventure outing and I was fortunate enough to not have to fly one week so I could join our group for my second time biking up Lookout Mountain. I will say, road biking has given me not only a new respect for bikers but for people who road bike up these steep inclines as well. I once saw people biking up Mount Evans and thought they were crazy. Now I wonder how I can make it possible.

Dawnelle likes to say, “Not every week can we climb Everest.” That is to say that not every adventure is going to be some amazing Instagram worthy event. Same is true for any hikes, runs, bike riding, climbing or vacation you take. It doesn’t have to be Bora Bora for you to enjoy your time away even if it’s just for a few hours. Our adventure day is a day when for a few hours we forget our adult lives, we silence our phones and we keep our date no matter what’s going on. Everything, and I mean everything, can be put on hold for adventure day unless one of us is dying or out of town.

For our first adventure we did something that I always said I would never do which was bike up Lookout Mountain. This is a 9 mile roundtrip ride in Golden that’s entirely uphill from the 4.5 mile start. We decided to rent bikes at The Bicycle Dr off Broadway but didn’t want to pay $70 for a road bike…so we rented hybrids for $25. The guy renting us the bikes thought we were insane and me even more so for attempting the ride on a bike that was more appropriate for biking around town. Needless to say I was scared because having driven the road up Lookout Mountain I knew there were many other cars and cyclists. I didn’t want to get hit by a car or put off other riders making their way to the top.
To my surprise everyone along the ride was friendly and encouraging. Sure these men were twice my age and had better bikes and more appropriate attire but they didn’t hesitate to holler a, “amazing job!” our way. The ride itself wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be and going on a Wednesday morning meant not quite so much traffic on the road. I’ll have to say going down was worse than biking up and I’m pretty sure I burned out the brakes on that rental bike.

I wanted to test out a hike I was eyeing for our Adventure Training Camp so the next week we drove to Mount Falcon. I had recently received a hammock for Mother’s Day so I brought it along to test out. Our original goal was to trail run but we ended up just walking part of the loop, finding a spot for the hammock and enjoying the view. We both determined this hike wasn’t nearly hard enough or with enough elevation gain for the group but it would make a great family friendly hike.

For my birthday the following week I left town and headed for Moab. We were fortunate to have my in-laws arrive in town to watch our daughter so my husband and I could play. Moab has some amazing hiking and though it’s certainly kid friendly the idea of camping and driving all over the place for 5 nights with a child seemed a little much. We did it all from Arches to Canyonlands, Island in the Sky and Needles District. My friends Jessica, Nick and Randy came to join and I think we all agreed or favorite part was hiking the Fiery Furnace District in Arches. You have to get a permit from the Visitor’s Center and they only grant 50 a day of which we were lucky enough to snag one for each of us. It was a four hour adventure I’ll never forget climbing through slot canyons, dead ending on slick rock and climbing up and through terrain I’d never experienced before. What makes the furnace so special is there is no trails and you can hike wherever you like save for the dunes and crust formations inside. I would highly recommend the experience to anyone daring enough to blaze their own trail.

When I returned the following week for Adventure day, Dawnelle and I decided to hit up the Boulder Movement Collective Gym. We were two of 4 women there and the rest were men who were stronger and leaner and more agile than I had ever seen. The instructor was fantastic and we spent our time learning how to move in various ways that challenged and invigorated us. I can see why Dawnelle is so inspired for her classes after coming here to move. Afterwards we went for lunch and prepared for our evening bike ride up Lookout Mountain. Dawnelle and I had to switch our adventure training camp days so I had taken the Monday group out hiking and she took Wednesday for our first ride up Lookout Mountain. I have to say all the ladies who joined us that evening made it to the top and we had an amazing ride together.

May’s adventures kick started summer and allowed me to be afraid yet open to new experiences. I honestly do not think I could have explored the Fiery Furnace or started this adventure training if I hadn’t been prepared to go into the unknown like I had been doing through our weekly adventure dates. I think as adults we stop going to new gyms and classes and trying to learn new skills because we’re afraid to suck at something. Most of the people I see in classes or on these trails are younger than I am probably because they aren’t afraid to try. Worst case scenario I know I never have to see people I may embarrass myself in front of again and best case is that I DO like it and want to explore further. Five months of adventures and I already feel myself growing stronger, happier and braver each week. It’s certainly become an incentive to become more creative on adventures to follow…