Tag Archives: physical fitness

Two-Wheeled Descent


One of my more vivid childhood memories involves my pre-teen self catapulting over the handlebars of my dad’s bike onto a gravel-specked downhill curve the afternoon before my first day at a new school. Nice, huh? Nevertheless, a friend talked me into mountain biking down an actual mountain a few summers ago.


We were in the right spot. Mammoth Lakes, California is a year-round destination for outdoor enthusiasts of every variety. The Eastern Sierra mountains cradle the quaint ski resort which is bordered by both the Ansel Adams and the John Muir National Wilderness areas. The snow-covered uppermost trails were still inaccessible, but a shuttle took us to the halfway point and the start of our descent.


I kept a firm hand on the brake as we hit the Downtown trail. Boulders, tree roots and tight sandy turns kept me balanced to the back with every available reflex at alert (I’m missing a couple of key agility components).


Confession: I was terrified. But, the beauty of the forest and distant mountains against the bluest sky and the enthusiasm of my friend were encouragement enough to stretch myself just a little more.

trail surface

Once I’d conquered a couple of sandy turns without plunging over the side, I felt brave enough to roll over the obstacles. Not all of them. Not yet… I inched around a couple heart-thumpers thinking “next time.”

The ride was a terrific work-out. When we finally bounced back onto the road into town some two hours later, completely exhilarated, my whole being did a slow exhale. I’d rolled over my fears and been blessed with an intense sensory experience to forever mark the moment.
View Mammoth Lakes, CA in a larger map

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Mammoth Lakes Things To Do


A Cooler Columbus

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

From July 2011

Recent high temperatures and heat advisories have ramped up the cool factor of Columbus’ revamped Bicentennial Park, an anchoring destination along the city’s newest parkway, the Scioto Mile.  A mammoth 15,000 square foot fountain complex offers opportunities for the heat-weary to be misted, sprayed and drenched. Amenities include a new restaurant and restroom/changing area.

A feature of the newly opened Scioto Mile, the park is easily accessible via the Olentangy-Scioto Greenway biketrails. We rode down from north Columbus on a recent weekend and wandered the edges of the splash zone.

I had already carried a camera down the previous weekend but still felt an irresistible urge to photograph the refreshing updates, feeling very complimentary of my hometown all dressed up with its new river park frontage.

It was like seeing a good friend debut a chic new look.  Columbus’ “new look” also includes The Promenade, a riverside corridor lined  with swings, chess tables and fountains with framing views of the city skyline. A very becoming style and comfortable vibe.

I was proud of her.


Columbus Things To Do

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Above Crowd-Level

Yosemite climbers

One of the best ways to avoid crowds is to go where the crowds won’t go.  This is not a suggestion to frequent dark alleys and condemned restaurants but rather a prodding to allow yourself the full wilderness experience when venturing into the wild.

If the trail is paved and/or easy to follow, you haven’t gone far enough.  If you know where the next public restroom is, you’ll need to hike further —beyond the water spigots, educational trail side signs and maybe even your comfort zone to where you’re thankful for your map and beef jerky —and are aware of little more than your next step on the trail.


Difficult passages tend to keep one focused in the present.  It’s why grief blurs adjunct memories and why athletes rarely hear the cheers of their fans.  In lives spiraling with multi-tasked peripheral events, intensity can grab a moment and cement it as an elevating foundational experience.  My hike through The Subway of Zion National Park has permanent status, as does mountain-biking in Mammoth Lakes, free diving through a coral tunnel in the Caribbean, crossing Gibraltar’s airport runway on foot and getting stranded on the island of Vieques with two of my kids.

Climbing, biking, hiking, swimming… beyond the crowds is well worth the fear, effort and delays to ordinary life because extreme moments tend to be unique moments that will be yours alone.


Yosemite National Park Things To Do


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