Switzerland Trail with the hiking honeys

When you are lucky enough to live at 8000 feet, just east of the continental divide, and are gifted with a perfect fall day for a hike, you stop to admire the beauty of nature.

The juxtaposition of a bluebird sky and green-turning-to-golden aspens is not to be missed.

Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year. For me, being in nature is a religious experience. The traditional treat is apples and honey. Since my hiking group is known as ‘the hiking honeys’ and when we stopped to eat, I had an apple, I am counting today as an excellent beginning to the new year.

L’Shanah Tova

Sunrise haikus

Just above the peaks

Magical shades of color

Layers of beauty.

Clouds, treetops, mountains

Bathed in pink, orange, yellow

Breath taken away.

Sunrise greets the day

Yellow streaks across mountains

Mother Nature’s show!

Mad Creek Trail Hike

I love hiking in the fall. The changing colors are Mother Nature at her best. Yesterday I went on the Mad Creek Trail in Steamboat Springs, CO for a lovely hike with an amazing group of Chicago women. We hiked to a historic barn and considered taking shelter there when the skies grew dark and threatening. The consensus that the storm was traveling away from us, a lack of thunder, and our desire to continue with our hike led to the decision to continue. A few raindrops amidst the sunshine was no problem and we hiked down. The views on the way up and on the way down were different, but both were breathtaking. So grateful for the opportunity to be part of their annual Colorado girls weekend and hiking a new trail.

Follow up to Managing Physical Pain

Two weeks ago I shared my thoughts on knee and shin splint pain leading to my decision to try acupuncture. The day after my first treatment, I felt considerably less pain but no increase in stability. Still, a marked improvement, making me feel good about my decision. I continued to wear my knee brace for any hiking or long walks.

After a second treatment a few days later and virtually no pain, I continued to increase physical activity with no negative side effects.

Placebo effect? This was mentioned by someone and after considerable discussion, we both agreed it may be a factor but only a small one. I don’t believe a placebo effect would allow me to sleep through the night instead of waking up in pain. The unconscious brain of sleep operates differently.

Two weeks and eleven hikes later, my stability is strong and the pain is minimal. Yesterday I arrived at the trailhead having forgotten my brace. A test. And I am proud to say, I passed!

The screenshot of my Fitbit from yesterday tells half the story. My not needing Advil and ready for more today tells the rest.

While acupuncture may not be the answer for everyone, I recommend it for pain relief based on my experience. The lack of pain has allowed me to build up strength over the past two weeks which I believe will only improve over time.

Yesterday, at a local store in Nederland, I saw a sign that said “66 days til ski season!” I’ll be ready! 🎿⛷🎿

Squam Lake Writing Retreat

A weekend spent in the company of other writers is enlightening.

A weekend in a serene setting with a lake and a challenging hike to beautiful views is also lovely.

When you are able to combine these two into the same weekend, you’ve really done something special. It’s thrilling to have casual time with other authors, agents, and an editor. The casual environment and well crafted sessions combined everything I look for in a writing event. Hearing my words read so beautifully by someone else for professional critique and the positive response to my first page renewed my focus on writing and revising.

Thanks to Melissa and Jilly for their excellent coordination of the weekend.

Bountiful Harvest

The joy that comes from eating what you’ve grown with your own hands and hard work, planting seeds, watering them, patiently waiting to see what will grow is a primal. Our vegetable and herb garden has been truly a magical part of our summer.

Some of our plants were lost to rabbits, squirrels, and chipmunks or the challenges of high altitude gardening. But the exquisite shades of green as I pick arugula, spinach, and lettuce more than make up for the disappointments. If you have never eaten “just picked”broccoli, go to a farm or farmers market soon. And next season, grow your own. 😎

We also have created wildflower gardens where there was nothing before. Again, the leap of faith to put seeds in the ground and water and wait has paid off. As we enjoy these last days of summer, I’m appreciating every aspect of the season and the land.

It’s the little things

There is a quote from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that I apply to my daily life: “It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important.” Today while walking on the dirt roads that surround my house, as always I admire the big and small beauty around me.

This caterpillar was the first thing I saw after making it to the bottom of my long, steep driveway. About the size of my index finger and an incredible shade of green, it was moving at a steady pace. My thoughts went back to my little green friend several times as I too moved at a good pace, my leg feeling better after an acupuncture treatment three days earlier.

The vibrant yellow wild flowers that have been lining the road recently are also part of the little things I admire. I’ve been noticing the change of what’s blooming over the months and these are the predominant flower on this last day of August.

As much as I focus on the little things, I can’t forget how they all add up to the big picture of how beautiful nature is and how lucky I am every day to be in it.

Managing physical pain

“When you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.”

I’ve been struggling with a knee injury since February. My ski season ended sadly on 2/21/17. Some days I’m almost pain free. Other days, no amount of Advil, arnica, Icy Hot, and rest are enough. There are days where even sitting with my leg up hurts; no position that alleviates the pain.

I know many people who suffer with chronic pain and we all have different ways of living with it.

I’ve heard good things about eastern medicine, and specifically acupuncture so after a rough few weeks, I had my first treatment today. It’s only been a few hours and one treatment isn’t enough to judge, but I am cautiously optimistic that this will be the the difference.

The song, “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger” and the saying “No pain – No gain” are overrated and I’m over that philosophy. I’m ready for a gentler way.

Solar Eclipse

The 360 view from the highest point right by my house was the perfect place to watch the eclipse. There were some clouds, which interfered marginally with seeing the the entire eclipse but didn’t interfere with my enjoyment. The exquisite shade of orange as seen through my NASA approved viewing glasses, the changing image as the moon moved across the sun, and the excitement of watching science made today magical!

We made it “date” day, sharing a hike and a picnic to celebrate. As a girl who loves the moon, today was extraordinary! I hope you were able to share the eclipse with someone special too!

Riley’s birthday

I’m celebrating Riley’s 15th birthday without him. He isn’t here …. except in my Facebook memories, as my screensaver, the picture on my refrigerator, in my heart, and the tears rolling down my cheeks. This picture was part of a charity event at a shelter. I didn’t normally dress him up but I recently came across this picture and to me it says, “I’m ready for a party!” 🎁🎂❤️ Love you little man.

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