Mi Familia!!

Mi Familia!!
Roscoe, Sophia, & Emily(across top) and then I think you can figure out the rest!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Mouse in my Pocket

I have been wanting to do a post on the hiking that I have been doing for a few months now. I have a bit of insomnia tonight... so instead of laying in bed not sleeping, I decided to catch up on my blogging! (ok putting up pictures takes me a really long time because of the stupid space thing that happens... but I don't do html so I don't have other options... hence two days later finally getting this post up! hey, I'm trying!)
I have so many good ideas for blogs, so I reached into my brain bag and thought it should be about my hikes in the local park. When I walk up to the park near my house I lose myself in the solitude, yet connectedness of nature. So I thought that I would give you a view, as though you were a mouse in my pocket! : )
The main reason I started walking this park was for the exercise, but very soon I realized that one of the things that had been missing in my everyday life was connecting with nature. I have always had a strong connection to our earth. Being surrounded by nature has always made me feel more peaceful. While I am there to work up a sweat, I cannot describe to you how amazing and beautiful I think my surroundings are. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the city that I live in. It is, in my heart, my home, which is something that I have been searching for my whole life. I was an army brat... which for those of you who don't know, means that I moved every year or less for the majority of my childhood. It sucked. I hated it A LOT! Some people do fine with all that change, but I am a person who feels contentment with having a friendly and familiar environment. The way that I grew up makes my feeling of "home" here, that much more significant to me.

Anyway, every time I take my walks I see all this beautiful scenery and think to myself "I should bring my camera and take pictures of my view along the way." So, I finally did the other day. It turned out I didn't get quite as many good shots as I thought, at first, because I couldn't slow down enough to get a good one... but since I often do a few "laps" around my course, I put in a good hike and then did another round and took some pictures. Unfortunately, it has become the land of gray and rain around here lately, so the pictures are not as beautiful as I'd like... but if I wait for perfection you'll never get to see the post... so here we go! : )
I am about to put up a gillion pictures, so prepare yourself emotionally!

This was where I started taking pictures. I was already past the regal park entrance, and all the beautiful flowers, and the fountain... but that is a whole other post... : )
This hill leads down to some of the stairs I hit on my walk. And there are lots of stairs on this route!

Looking back up the same hill, we just jogged down.

One of the many waterfalls that help keep the water flow(from all the darn rain!) headed towards the right direction.

Some stairs heading up the hill towards the reservoir.

The path heading up. It is a little sad because I'm not sure how much of the raw beauty is coming through my cruddy pictures... I hope there is a least a glimmer.
ok, I know this one is dark, it was a gray day and it actually rained a little during my hike... but wait for it... it's worth it! ; )
almost there now...

The sound of running water is so refreshing, when you are starting to get tired and ready to be done working hard. For me, it gives me enough of a push to head up towards some MORE stairs!! : )
Over the little wishing bridge... and yes, I make a wish every time! ; )... and up another set of stairs which I go up and then back down, and then past everything we just saw, towards a different turn off of the path.
Down another set of stairs(I don't know why I didn't take one of them, because they are cool looking...) and we hit another set of stairs ! : ) I like this one because it has two sides on the bottom section and I get to go down one and up the other. Hey, give the hot, tired girl a break something has to keep me going! : )

Just a pretty little nook. These little things, honestly, give me endless pleasure while I am out releasing my endorphins! : )
the bottom of another set of stairs, along the path that leads down to the pond. I couldn't take a downward shot because there were a bunch of kids down on the dock(?, would you call that a dock in a pond...) and I felt creepy taking random strangers' pictures!

So, one of the many reasons I would think about bringing along my camera was this weed. That's right!! This is the biggest, coolest weed I have ever seen! It is easily a foot taller than me, and the top is covered by tiny yellow flowers. I just think that is neat! : ) I know I AM easily amused, but at least I live my life with lots of laughter!; )

This is one of my most disappointing photos for me, because I couldn't capture the feeling that I get when I look at it. On the right, the green is actually thousands of wild flowers that you can't see very well, and to me it looks like the entrance way to a magical fairy kingdom. My kids love this area too... but we don't go that often because it is over 100 stairs up to the top.. and they don't love taking the stairs even half as much as I do... and I don't end up feeling very patient about it. It's hard to take over 30 minutes doing something you do by yourself in about 6! : )

Another portion of the stairs up from the entrance way.

Not all of the stairs are grouped together, some of them are grouped in 2's, others in 10, all with some amount of hill in between.

This is the path up from the last set of stairs, on that big 'ol hill.

Walking over the top of where I just came from... walking the path that follows the road around the reservoir.

This is looking straight ahead instead of down, and actually heading right back to where the pictures started... there is a lot of overlapping ground in my routine because there are several different ways up and down the hill... which is awesome because the more stairs and climbing the better! : )

Most of the time after I have finished my hike in the woody area, I will go up and walk around the reservoir, which is a 1 mile track. After the hike it feels really good to be on flat land and I can really fly around it in pretty good time. I have experimented and I walk almost 4 minutes faster a mile AFTER a hike. I guess I get really pumped with all the stairs and the flat feels SO much easier! : )

This is a picture of another set of stairs that I will add to the the reservoir walk if I am feeling spunky. It ends up being about 75% of the time, but sometimes I am just too tuckered out!

This set of stairs is what first got me started on my somewhat of a stair obsession! It leads up from the outer path/road, up to the track. I only hit the bottom 30 or so steps once...

but once I get to the Y in the steps, I go up one side and down another, as many times as I can in a row. It's 35 steps each side. The first time I did it, I went 3 times and felt like I might just die! Now I do 10! Although around 9 and 10 I will often grunt out loud because it really works my thighs, no cheating and using hands! I have been known to startle a few fellow walkers! : ) It is kind of embarrassing, because they don't know I've just done 9 laps... but it's ok.. I know, so I think it's kind of funny. Especially when people look scandalized... because I'm a jerk like that! : )

Ok, the reason for this shot is a cool view from above, but also a funny story.

The young women at the bottom(that you can hardly see) were there with their trainer, doing whatever they were doing... and they noticed me going around in circles. So the trainer sends up one of the young ladies to do what I am doing.

Well, even though I am getting stronger and more fit, I'm still overweight and fair-skinned and when I work out my face gets very red. This does not mean I'm not a bad ass... but lots of people make that false assumption. In fact, another reason I stopped just doing the track was the number of negative comments I got from other people there. The woody area is a much nicer place for me... but I digress..

So young chippy comes up and goes around once and goes back down. I keep going. I actually felt pretty uncomfortable because I could feel people watching me and usually don't have strangers just blatantly staring at me while I am grunting around the darn stairs, BUT, I can't let other people ruin my groove... so I kept going. Then after another couple laps, the trainer sends the girl up again. She went faster this time, but still did one lap and then went back down. Then the trainer sends both the girls up at the same time. The one that hadn't done it before, did more than one lap, but the first one did just one again. Although we were headed in different directions we both just happened to hit the Y at the same time, and as I was finished with my laps, we both end up going down together. I can't help it, I am competitive by nature... so I left her in the dust. As I was jogging by the trainer at the bottom, I heard him start talking to the girl saying how she should have been much faster than me... why was I up on my toes when she wasn't... blah, blah, blah... how's she gonna let some fat lady beat her down the stairs. Although it was a backhanded compliment with the whole fat lady comment... I took it as a HA! instead. It made me feel like I really am a bad ass, and just because I'm not young and thin doesn't mean that I am not a rock star. I'll reach my goals eventually and I am doing it the right way by becoming physically as strong as I have always been mentally.

I'm in a better place than I have been in a very long time, and I gotta tell ya, it feels SOOOO good!! Thanks for bearing with me on my self-indulgent journey around the park! I hope that you enjoyed the beauty, and I hope that it inspires you to go out and find a little nature of your own to rock out in!! : ) I know that I am rarely here right now, but with summer starting to come to an end, I feel like I have to be out and about as much and as often as I can be because all too soon the leaves will be falling and the snow and coldy-cold weather soon to follow that. I have to take advantage of this beautiful time of year while it is here! Most days I am lucky enough to go to the park with the kids in the morning and by myself after Al gets home from work. I probably spend 4-5 hours there on those days, about 4-5 days a week! : )

I hope that all of you are doing well, in your own little worlds! I am sending out light and love and happiness to you all!

Today I am thankful to have such an abundance of beauty all around me!

I am grateful that my hubby is so supportive of me being gone for 1 1/2-2 hours a day, when he doesn't work late!

I am grateful that the city I live in thinks that the park is as important as I do. I don't know what I would do without it!! :)


5thsister said...

Phenomenal post. All those stairs? You ARE the ROCK STAR!!! One of my most favorite places to run (years ago) was a place called Loose Park in KC, MO. It was an oasis within the city, very near the Country Club Plaza. I most especially enjoyed running through the rose gardens and around the duck pond. You are most correct about being close to nature giving one a sense of inner calm/peace. Wish I had a nature trail near by. Glad you posted!

Lissaloo said...

What a great place to work out! Beautiful, it sounds like you are doing wonderful with your exercising, Great Job!

Tattoos and Teething Rings said...

It's so beautiful- but you knew that :) I, too, get red in the face quite easily; it's the fair Irish skin, I guess, but I always look like I'm in a terrible struggle to survive when I'm working out!

Willoughby said...

Beautiful pictures! I wish I had a place like that to enjoy. I live in a rural area, but we don't have many parks around.

I'm so glad you've found the peace and happiness you were looking for!

ChristineM said...

Beautiful pictures! As for healthy, skinny chicks trotting effortlessly up and down stairs? Yeah, we have those too! I have to remind myself something a yoga instructor once told me: "Honor where you are today". That means, it's ok to be inspired by others, but don't frown upon yourself for not being them, and don't injure yourself trying to do things your body's not ready to do! Be proud of what you CAN do, or that you push your own limits! I think you're doing great!

Love, Your red-faced friend that everyone looks at funny when she exercises in public but she does it anyway,

Christine ;)