Tag Archives: personal fitness

Can You Hear It…?

Originally posted April 14, 2008

Craving a little warmth as the snow falls steadily outside my window…

There was so much to see that it took a moment for me to realize there was nothing to hear. It was silent. And then a warm breeze rustled the leaves of the aptly named brittle bush and there was sound in the Sonoran Desert…

With a bottle of water and serious slathering of sunscreen, I was primed to explore the desert area of South Mountain Park in Phoenix, Arizona last month. The choice I wobbled over was whether to photograph it or run it.

I love to run in new-to-me beautiful places. I also love capturing those places frame by frame through a camera lens. Fitness or photography? On vacation, I had the luxury of choosing both. I took my camera the first afternoon and then enjoyed a truly lovely run the next morning; reminding myself each time I caught a spectacular view (without a camera) that I’d had my chance the day before.

South Mountain Park preserves 16,000 acres of Sonoran Desert. Three mountain ranges stretch diagonally across the park, creating a challenging playground for mountain bikers and hikers and “home” for some fascinating desert critters. I spotted the orange tail of a chuckwalla, several geckos, California jackrabbits, cactus wrens, quail, hawks and hummingbirds along the Pima Loop trails. No javelinas or rattlesnakes. Maybe next time…

I used inordinate caution over the loose rocks that scattered most of the steeper grades in grudging accommodation of my surgically-enhanced ankle. But the sandy trails below made for a wonderfully cushioned run… I kept thinking that I should turn around but had a hard time following through that second morning. It was forty-five minutes of pure exhilaration with a water break at the half-way point. I was in no hurry to finish, which made it a good run and a great vacation.

Phoenix Things To Do on raveable

More Arizona adventures to come…


Blending into Blendon

An In-Town Tourist Feature:
…because Adventure begins in the heart and Travel starts at the end of your own driveway.


A little snow can be more than a little challenge when gray skies tag along. And if the icy roads and snow covered everything don’t intimidate you, the weather warnings will…  A cold day freezes into brutal torture when a wind chill and dire forecast are bannered to the bottom edge of a TV screen. Repeat that half a dozen times an hour via radio, TV and internet and you’ll either run madly to stock up on canned goods at the grocery or, alternately, pull up the covers to hibernate with hopes of June.

But a committed runner approaching a hill with the resolve to attack it, fares better than the one who simply plods their way to the crest. It’s the same with Winter.  Outdoor activities such as skiing, sledding, ice skating and snow running gain one admittance to the season.  With front row seats.  And with a pass and a purpose one is more likely to tolerate the sun-shy days of Winter and actually enjoy the contrasts that four-seasoned living provides.

Yesterday we made our attack at Blendon Woods Metro Park.  Snowy Sundays tend to lessen the trail traffic and offer hardy hikers a more serene nature-friendly experience.  Watching water fowl huddle on a frozen pond while comfortably assured that I had other warmer options in my future shaved a couple of degrees off the wind chill.  Our walk through a hushed and whitened woods allowed for focused conversation and time to appreciate the stark beauty of a woods’ bared architecture.  Brown accented the spectrum of white in warm and wonderful ways, out-glowing even the gray winter sky.

Columbus Things To Do

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Trail Around Horn Pond

Sharing one’s regular haunts with a visiting friend is, for me, on par with cooking them your favorite meal.  A peek at the ordinary in a friend’s life can be even more meaningful than hitting all the tourist high points because not only time is shared… the details of daily life are being shared as well.

My cousin Laura took me around her Horn Pond walking loop when I visited her last spring in Winchester, Massachusetts.  The cool spring rain dampened everything (including us) and enhanced the stark beauty of the naked woods.  We walked and talked as cousins and friends do, winding around the shoreline, not really minding the occasional drips.  She held my umbrella when I needed both hands for a camera shot. We caught up at the more important levels that finitely timed conversations never fully permit.

I have talked to her by phone, both before and since, as she walked this same loop.  I absorbed the details as we walked that morning, finally having a picture to go with our cell phone chats, and a running route that worked well during my stay with her and her husband Mark.
View Horn Pond; Winchester, MA in a larger map

Look for posts from Puerto Rico and Vieques here in the upcoming weeks!  Lots of stories, photos and (unexpected) adventures!


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