Friday, October 31, 2008
Yippee!! I LOVE this time of year! It's the best for hiking IMO (unless I'm in the southwest where they have that awesome low humidity). Okay, it's pretty in the summer, but it's a little hard for me to remember that I'm having the time of my life when I'm at war with the mosquitos and other flying bugs that seem intent on making a beeline for my eyes, nose, ears or mouth. What's that all about anyway? Then of course there's the poison ivy lurking around each bend just waiting to reach out and brush my legs as I pass by. When you're as allergic to this demonic little vine as I am, the mere thought of it can almost bring on a panic attack. Oh, and did I fail to mention the awesome humidity we have here in the southeast during those hot summer months. Nothing like peeling your pack off of your sweat soaked (and I do mean SOAKED) back at the end of your hike. So, it probably sounds like I hate hiking. Nope, just the opposite. I love it. It's my favorite outdoor activity. I love finding a trail where I can find quiet and solitude and get away from the stresses of the city. I just enjoy hiking in the fall and winter so much more because I don't have to deal with all those little annoyances (and they are really just annoyances). Another plus is that so few people hike around here in the winter that I often have the more heavily used trails to myself and don't have to go to the more remote areas to find some peace and quiet. Last Sunday DH and I headed to the Mountain Trail at Pilot Mountain, my first time on it since last spring. The poison ivy was dying away and we saw one other hiker. It was a great day. Then I went to hike the Grassy Ridge Trail at Pilot Mountain on Tuesday after I got off work. I never saw another person and the woods were beautiful with the leaves changing color. I can't hardly wait to get out and do some more hiking tomorrow!
Friday, October 10, 2008
As many of you may already know, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Having had several friends who have suffered from breast cancer, and a family member who died from a cancerous tumor in his brain, I was very frustrated with a feeling of helplessness to do anything for others suffering from this devastating disease. Then I was asked if I would be willing to volunteer some of my time as a massage therapist to provide free massages for cancer patients. Iíve now been volunteering my time for about a year. While I love working with all of my massage clients, the cancer patients I work on every month have provided me with as much as Iíve provided to them. There is nothing more rewarding than being able to provide these patients with a little bit of relief and escape from their daily stress, even if just for an hour. This has also put things into perspective for me. Sometimes when I start whining about something in my life thatís not going exactly as I had planned, I try to stop and remember what these individuals are going through and I realize how fortunate I am. Each of these patients are in a fight for their life and they are often on an emotional roller coaster. Their emotions include fear, anger, despair, and loneliness. Some want to lay down on my table and just relax and go to sleep. Others want to talk throughout their massage to release some of those buried emotions. Not only are they fighting for their lives, they are often stressing about finances because even with insurance, often their medical bills are incredibly expensive and many are unable to work regularly during their treatments.
The organization where I volunteer is a national organization that is free to cancer patients and relies on funding from private donations along with some funds from United Way. They also depend on volunteers to provide a wide variety of services to the patients.
I would encourage anyone who can spare even one or two days or evenings a month to check and see if you have a local organization that provides free services to cancer patients and see if they are in need of volunteers. Without volunteers, these services would not be possible, and they mean so much to these individuals.
Thanks for reading this and I hope youíll give it some thought. This is such a devastating disease and any help you can provide means so much to so many.
Monday, July 28, 2008
Woo Hoo! I finally finished my 40 miles this evening. My friend Alyce joined me after work and we did a 3 mile hike at Pilot Mountain to complete my 40 miles for the month of July. It felt good just to know that I had set a goal and completed it. The best part is, that the last 10 miles I've hiked over the last few days were much easier than they were at the beginning of the month. I can actually feel how much stronger my legs (and my lungs) are and it feels good. Not sure how many miles I'll get in August, but I know it will be more since we'll be on vacation hiking for two weeks. Wow, hiking in Utah wll be a lot easier this year than it was last year.
Thanks to those of you who've read my blog and encouraged me. It makes it a lot easier to push yourself when you know others are watching. Also, CJ if you read this, thanks for all your great blogs because that's what motivated me to get off my behind and set my own goal.
That was fun. Now, what's next?
Monday, July 28, 2008
DH and I went to Pilot Mountain yesterday. Because it was getting late in the evening, we didn't have a lot of time to hike before dark, so he dropped me off at the Grindstone Trail to let me hike to the other end where he would pick me up. It was extremely humid (of course, this is July in North Carolina), but not quite as hot as it has been. About halfway through the trail, I scared 2 deers who ran accross the trail in front of me. One immediately ran uphill and hid, but the other stopped a short way off the trail and turned her head back to watch me pass. I was really surprised because they usually bolt away so that I just get a quick glance, but this one seemed a little more curious. I stopped and started talking to her while I took my camera off my pack belt. I took the above picture of her looking back at me. Okay, it's not a great picture, but I tried to use the zoom on my small point and shoot without my glasses on, so I was happy to even get this. Anyway, the one way trip on the Grindstone added another 2.1 miles to go total. I'm hoping to get back up there after work this evening and finish the last 3 miles!
Total miles for July - 37 (3 miles to go)
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