Tag Archives: personal fitness

A Bug is a Bug (Unless it’s a Photo)

We ran a snow-covered trail here in Ohio yesterday. Remembering this hike in Phoenix, Arizona is my attempt to counterweight the winter chill!

Originally posted:  April 9, 2008

Camelback Mountain; Phoenix, Arizona; Arizona Blister Beetle close-up on red rock

If I’d spotted it creeping across my carpet, I’d have crushed it into a paper towel with a shiver and no shame. But as this bug was moseying across red sandstone on Camelback Mountain, I instead dropped down to the best camera angle, thinking it quite spectacular.

Camelback Mountain; Phoenix, Arizona; view from trail 2As was the view… Camelback Mountain rises some sixteen hundred feet above downtown Phoenix. The incongruity of this heap of a mountain is striking as one gazes down into the flat basin of desert city below. Similar lumps of reddish rock loom in the distance, bold backdrops to Sky Harbor International’s constant air traffic. During my recent visit, a friend and I clambered up a trail labeled “strenuous” hoping for a good late afternoon work-out.

We got our work-out and then some! As a cardio-nut, I didn’t find it strenuous so much as “scary.” And altogetherCamelback Mountain; Phoenix, Arizona; trailside view lovely… Sheer drop offs, sliding gravel, and the occasional wind gust made an inward lean preferable. Ascending the uneven terrain was akin to stepping up the equivalent of three or four stair steps at once. The climb required focus and a constant momentum, more than a little bit of nerve, and a lot of photos.

Camelback Mountain; Phoenix, Arizona; cholla and palo verde

Camelback’s granite base soon gave way to sedimentary rock cemented with a pleasing rust colored sandstone that provided wonderful contrast to the sparse foliage along the way. Purple lupine sprouted steadfastly in unlikely places. The occasional palo verde tree clung tenaciously at cliff edge. Cacti such as yellow brittlebush, jumping (or “teddy bear”) cholla, hedgehog and barrel provided occasional splashes of color and texture.

Camelback Mountain; Phoenix, Arizona;lichen and purple lupineThe ascent was the easiest part. After a water break and panoramic elation, the rapidly approaching sunset chased us back down the mountain. We descended quickly, knowing how fast the flash from afternoon to darkness can be when shielded by a mountain. Climbing down felt a lot like downhill biking with the brakes on and made for good “jello” legs when we finally walked contentedly out from under Camelback’s shadow.

Phoenix Couple Travel Tips

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Moms on Monkey Bars

Alum Creek Dam (monkey bars)

Over the past three days or so, I’ve gained a better understanding of why women of my age (the specifics of which is an irrelevant detail) lose track of their gym passes and the will to fight the good fight on personal fitness.

I’m nowhere near quitting. I’ve done this for too long and believe that exercise tones a lot more than my body. It smooths out the rough spots in my emotions; it gives me spiritual muscle for Life’s considerable challenges. It gains me “thinking time,” enhancing my sense of perspective. It makes me smile more and wrinkle less.

But wow. I get it. This past week as I scrambled between back-to-back soccer games, track meets, practices for the aforementioned and “odds and ends” that included guitar lessons and daily school transportation, work-out time kept sidling a couple of steps beyond my grasp. Forget the grocery (I did). Forget the laundry (wish I could but soccer socks require hazmat removal if not laundered within three days). Forget taxes (yeah, right), a social life (sigh) and recreational reading (sigh again). It’s a crazy, but oh-so-normal life. I know this.
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Countdown to Chaos (er… California)

Muir Beach from trail

The mental count-down to “departure” computes differently in my brain now than it did in childhood.  While it used to be all I could do to contain a launch, now I must contend with holding the mail, boarding the dog, mowing the lawn and work (not in that order) -and it all messes with my unbridled enthusiasm.

I cannot wait until I board my California bound flight on Thursday afternoon!  I just hope that I’ll have managed to pick up Hannah from soccer conditioning and dropped Lily off to boarding before I hop in my niece’s car for the ride to the airport.  It was SO much easier when all I had to remember was a good book, my journal and a puzzle magazine.  Oh yeah… and a toothbrush.  Dedicated dental hygiene began early over here.

My prayer is always to forget socks or underwear or… the toothbrush.  I can easily replace all of those virtually anywhere.  Harder to find would be a camera battery, hotel reservation or running shoes.   Note:  I have sadly forgotten the battery, and once in early sleep-deprived motherhood, even forgotten the camera.  I have slept in a car for lack of a hotel reservation and gas to get to the next exit.  -But never ever ever forgotten my running shoes.

Think I’ll sleep in them Wednesday night, just to be sure…

Previous California posts

More Western USA posts

*This time:  Newport Beach, Yosemite NP, Mammoth Lakes…

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