Indoor Rock Climbing

Getting started at being an “adventurous” type person isn’t easy when you have lived most of your life staying a little to far on the  “safe” side of life.   Call me silly if you like, but the idea of getting hurt just doesn’t appeal to me.  That is why  I really like indoor rock climbing for beginning adventurers.   It is amazingly safe, a lot of fun, takes less strength than you might think, and definitely has the cool factor going for it.

indoor rock climbing I wish this was a picture of me climbing the wall, but I have climbed to the top of that wall!  The climber in the picture is my daughter, and she made it all the way to the top.
She took the hard route.

Unlike outdoor rocks, the rocks at the indoor gym are color coded to show different tracks up the wall. Some tracks are easy, some are hard, some have special challenges. I am still working on the easy ones.  My daughter skipped right to the intermediate level routes.

You would think that you would need a lot of upper body strength to climb.  But at the beginner level you really don’t.  You use your legs to move up the wall.  Your arms and hands are just for balance and stabilization.

It really becomes fun when you learn to trust your rope.  When you trust your rope (and your belayer, the person who is holding the rope for you) you know you really can’t get hurt.  If you fall you will just swing a little bit, and that is all.  So you can try for tricky moves, or even jump to get over an obstacle, and if you miss it is no big deal.

The hardest part about indoor rock climbing, when you are forty something and have a few extra pounds, is that it is not a skill you can work out in private. Lots of people may be watching you, and not from the most flattering angle if you know what I mean! At the very least your belayer will be watching your every move. And then there is the fact that it seems like most of the people in the gym seem to be really lean and really fit. Rock climbing is a great sport for overall fitness. But for the most part everyone is the gym is really supportive of the newbies. They really seem to enjoy sharing their sport, and offering tips on how to get over that next obstacle.

You don’t really need to buy anything to get started with indoor rock climbing. You can rent everything you need at the gym. Wear clothes that are comfortable that you can mover freely in. The price for indoor rock climbing is pretty reasonable. For 2 hours of climbing, harness and shoe rental I pay around $15. The gym I go to includes a belay class for free, so you can bring a partner and take turns climbing and belaying. (The belayer is the person that holds the rope, their job is to make sure you don’t fall so be sure to bring someone you can trust will pay attention!)

Climb On!

Water Falls, Geocaching, and Venture Crew

If someone was looking for a way to become more adventurous, and to spend more time outdoors. I highly recommend Venture Crew.  There is only one catch, Venture Crew is a scouting group for boys and girls ages 14-22.   I am a few years older than that, but fortunately for me, my daughter is not. Our particular Venture Crew is a High Adventure Venture Crew, so we do a lot of fun stuff.  Today was one of those fun days.

As is typical for our group, there were almost as many adults as kids.  My daughter was sick, so she didn’t go but I did.  Another member of the crew wasn’t able to make it, but that didn’t keep her mom from coming either.  All in all we had 9 adults and 8 Venture Crew Members and 3 guests.

Hidden Falls

Our crew is working on visiting local waterfalls.   We are alternating biking and hiking. You can read a little bit about last month’s bike ride to Feather Falls in this post. Today was a much dryer hike to Hidden Falls.  Hidden Falls is not a large waterfall, only about 30 feet, but it is located  in a nice park, just about 5 miles out of town.  We had to hike 2 miles from the parking area to the falls, but the trails were well marked, and for the most part, not difficult at all.  We had lunch at the falls, and then headed back to town to do some Geocaching.

Geocaching is a high-tech treasure hunting game played throughout the world by adventure seekers equipped with GPS devices. The basic idea is to locate hidden containers, called geocaches, outdoors and then share your experiences online. Geocaching is enjoyed by people from all age groups, with a strong sense of community and support for the environment.

Thanks to geocaching.com for the definition!

For today we had the co-ordinates for 3 different geocaches.   The first was in an old cemetery.   You would think, that with the co-ordinates it would be no problem finding the cache, but that is not the case.  The GPS units that we had were only accurate to 30 feet, so even when it said we were practically on top of the cache, we still had quite a bit of looking to do.  Eventually we found the cache in some bushes near the edge of the cemetery.   It was just a small green container. Opening it up we added our crew’s name to the list of those who had found the  cache, and then carefully put it back for the next person to find.

Our next cache was in a nearby residential neighborhood. Our clue told us that the cache was for an 8 year old boy, and that he was watching it all the time. Having just come from the cemetery this was a little spooky.  We were also told that the cache was on private property with permission of the property owners.   We narrow the area down to the front yard of a home, but we are reluctant to search too carefully.  Then a girl of about 10 comes out of the house, “are you guys geocachers? ” “We sure are!” She runs into the house and comes back with her mom, and then goes running down the street to get her brother. (The little boy in the clue!)  The kids are so excited we are searching for their cache.  It turns out their grandparents are avid geocachers and set it up for them.   We find the cache inside a small path light and add our names.  Here we leave a small toy soldier.  We have a great time talking with the mom and kids, and then we are off to find our next treasure.

Found the cache!  Nice hiding spot!
Found the cache! Nice hiding spot!

We were not able to find our last cache. We know it is near the local In-N-Out Burger and our clue is In OR Out, but with the freeway nearby, and all the cars going in and out of the In-N-Out, it just wasn’t much fun to look for. We console ourselves with burgers and animal style fries and reflect on a day well spent.

Healthy Re-Dos of Favorite Holiday Foods

It was all the way back in November of 2007 that I wrote a post on healthy holiday eating.  In that post I said I would give you some suggestions for making some of your holiday favorites healthier.  It has been over a year, so I think now would be a good time!

Sweet Potatoes

It has been many, many years since I have eaten the classic holiday sweet potatoes swimming in butter and covered with marshmallows. I don’t really miss it! Instead of butter and marshmallows, try mixing garnet yams with unsweetened canned pineapple chunks. It is really good and surprisingly sweet!

Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin pie can be good for you! The biggest problem is all the sugar. Try cutting back just a bit. Use just 3/4 cup of sugar for every cup of sugar called for in the recipe. Or do like I do and substitute Splenda for the sugar. Then use non-fat evaporated milk, instead of the full fat version, and don’t eat the crust.

Egg Nog

If you must buy the stuff in the store, at least mix it 1/2 and 1/2 with non-fat milk. Or better yet try this. Add 2 teaspoons sugar free vanilla syrup, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon, and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg to 1 cup of non fat or low fat milk. Yum, one of my favorites. Drink it hot or cold.

Green Bean Casserole

Skip the mushroom soup altogether, and instead mix in some slivered almonds, and just enough fried onions to get the flavor.

Mashed Potatoes

You can use a lot less butter in your mashed potatoes if you start with Yukon Gold Potatoes. They have a naturally buttery flavor. Just mash with some non-fat milk and you can have mashed potatoes that are actually good for you!

Do you have any healthy re-dos for holiday favorites? If so, please leave a comment here!

Motorcycle Helmets -They're Not All The Same

With rising gas prices, more and more people are riding motorcycles these days. So I am compelled to get on my soap box again and tell you are story. Unfortunately it is very true.

A few weeks ago, there were two different motorcycle accidents in my town. I live in a small town, so two motorcycle accidents in a month would be a rare thing, but two in one week. That is practically unheard of.

In many ways the accidents were similar. Both riders were incredibly experienced, both were avid motorcycle riders who had been riding for decades. No drugs or alcohol were involved in either accident. Both riders were going around a corner when they hit a slick spot on the road, oil or gravel, no one is really sure. Both lost control of their motorcycles, and when the motorcycles hit the shoulder and slowed dramatically, both riders went through the windscreen of their respective motorcycles, and both landed head first on the shoulder of the highway.

One rider was declared dead at the scene.

The other rider is my husband. He suffered a broken collar bone and a bunch of road rash. Relatively minor injuries. He’ll be fine. The other rider is not fine, and that makes me sick.

There is a reason why these two very similar accidents had very different outcomes. Helmets.

Before the accident, my husbands helmet looked something like this.

full face motorcycle helmet

This isn’t the exact helmet, but you can get an idea. Full face protection, plus it is long enough to protect the neck. In fact, my husband’s collar bone was probably broken by the helmet. This kept him from breaking his neck. The only head injury my husband sustained was some minor bruising on his forehead and one small cut.

Here is a helmet similar to what the other rider was wearing.

beanie helmet

This is the minimum helmet required by law. Commonly called a beanie helmet, some motorcycle riders wear them as a type of “protest” against the mandatory helmet law.

Please, if you are going to ride a motorcycle, think about why you wear a helmet. It is not just to comply with the law. You wear a helmet for protection of your head and neck if you crash. If you wear a “beanie” type helmet as a protest against the mandatory helmet law, please reconsider. Even the most experienced rider can have an accident.

My husband has over 40 years experience riding and racing motorcycles. He knows what to do in a skid. But sometimes there are things beyond your control. Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you are going to crash. And if you hit the pavement at 50 mph, you need more protection than a beanie helmet can provide.

So please, if you ride a motorcycle, or a scooter, spend the money and go buy a decent, full face helmet. It may cost you a few hundred dollars, and your friends might not think it is cool, but it may save your life.

Art and Science Of Disease Prevention -Book Review

If you are interested in health issues, but more than in just a “surface” type of way, I think you would enjoy Art and Science of Disease Prevention: Lite Version It is not your typical health and nutrition book. It is a combination of scientific information presented in an intelligent manner, and the art of healing and health. The book is divided into 5 sections.
Section One starts at the beginning and deals with fertility and conception. Included in Section One is an in depth look at chromosomal abnormalities which is fascinating.
Section Two deals with the Nutritional Value of Fats and Oils. I think many of us are still wary of fats and it is important to understand that fats play an important role in overall nutrition.
Section Three was very interesting with its discussion of plant medicine. Especially of interest to me was the chapter on how plant medicine can be used to help with hyperinsulinemia, or insulin sensitivity.
Section Four is the prevention of degenerative diseases. It includes chapters on dealing with menopause and cancer.
The best was saved for last and Section Five deals with Quality of Life and Life Expectancy. Chapters include stress management, exercise and massage. The massage chapter was my favorite because Dr. Roy goes into the importance of human touch. He points out that society often confuses sensuality with sexuality and because of this people are reluctant to touch each other.

Overall Art and Science of Disease Prevention: Lite Version is a very interesting book on health and wellness issues that did not insult my intelligence!