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What a Difference a Year Makes!

Published June 8, 2014 by Susan Woodward

One year ago (yesterday) I completed my first-ever 5K… I was dying!  I nearly collapsed when I came across the finish line, I was dehydrated because I had not learned about how to hydrate correctly, and I had make the horrible mistake of thinking that dried prunes were a good before-the-race energy snack.

This was me one year ago…happy to be alive after 5K of power-walking.  It was huge for me at the time because I was just starting on the road to getting into better shape and being healthier.

I remember crashing once I got home, my legs shaking and muscles screaming.  But I was SO proud of myself!!

That was my first 5K race… I did three more this past year:

Run For Your Life (chased by zombies)- August

Push Yourself – October

It’s a Wonderful Run (in a snowstorm)- December

It seems I have a particular pose I like to strike to show off my “strength”…

In any case, June 2013 was the beginning of training for power-walk racing for me…no running.  I like my knees the way they are…even without the ACL in one of them!

After the holidays, I began getting ready to up my game… and I did the Spring Forward 15K in Mendon Ponds Park.  I was in PAIN for days after climbing those HILLS for 9.3 miles!  I had not hydrated correctly (again…didn’t learn…), and I ended up on the couch for several days not being able to move around much.  It took nearly three weeks to recover!  Once I managed to get over the soreness, I decided to try the next level… a half-marathon.  Heck, I was walking, right?  Not like I had to RUN for 13.1 miles!

So I joined up in a few walks with the Genesee Vally Hiking Club and took myself to the mall during the cold weather to walk the halls.  Another 15K with the hiking club nearly did me in… I completed the 10 mile hike, but even though I drank lots of water, I STILL was a hurting puppy from dehydration.  I decided to do some research about how to prepare myself…

And it turns out that the best thing I could use to help myself was Ch-Ch-Ch-Chia!  🙂

The week before the half-marathon in Niagara Falls, I put chia seeds in everything.  I also drank an entire case of coconut water (which I now love and crave every day…).  I got some of those energy gel pouches to carry with me during the race, as well as some of those rehyrdrating gummies…and they worked!

NFWHM-FINAL-FLAT I managed to complete the 21.1K!!  That’s more than FOUR 5Ks at one time!!  For me, that was like doing the YMCA race, Run For Your Life, Push Yourself, and It’s a Wonderful Run BACK TO BACK!!

And I DID it!!! 

In 18 months, I went from couch (and a pack a day) to silks to 5K to 15K to a half-marathon!!  And I am STILL smoke free!!

And I got to meet a wonderfully inspiring woman, Kathrine Switzer, who was the first woman to run the Boston Marathon (in spite of the judge trying to force her out of the “male” race by trying to rip off her bib).  She signed her book Marathon Woman for me, and I shall be reading that as soon as school is out…it shall inspire me to keep going, even when I am tired, sore, dehydrated, frustrated, or just plain lazy.

 

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What a difference a year makes!!!

Spring Forward Distance Run…15K: I did it!

Published March 30, 2014 by Susan Woodward

Okay, maybe I didn’t RUN the 15K (9.3 miles), but I certainly did WALK it!  spring-forward-image-new-siteAnd although I finished nearly dead last, I DID finish!  And that is more distance than I have done since I used to walk home from downtown Buffalo if I missed the last bus…when I was 17!  At 52, five kids, and a “few” pounds later, I never would have dreamed that I would be in any kind of race, let alone finish a nine mile trek in just under three hours.

But I did it.

A year ago I was preparing myself to do my first 5K ever.   On that day in June, I remember crossing that finish line, huffing and puffing, and nearly falling over.  People caught me and held me up from collapsing, handing me bottles of water to help re-hydrate.  I learned a lot since that first race about hydration and pacing myself and NOT eating dried prunes beforehand!  I was better prepared in August for the Zombie Run, “Push Yourself” in October, and “It’s a Wonderful Run” in December.

Yesterday was a new challenge for me with trying long distance…but that 15K was the dry run for the half marathon I have yet to accomplish in June.   All I want to do is finish, even if I walk the entire way, and even if I end up dead last.

Screen Shot 2014-02-13 at 2.28.20 PMThis is the map of elevations which outlines the HILLS we were running/walking yesterday!  I am thankful that the half-marathon is on relatively flat ground… but I survived these hills!  What helped at one point when I heard the thunder of the herd coming up behind us was taking the focus off myself and trying to cheer them.  The walkers had left 45 minutes before the runners, and at about 8:30 or so, they caught up to and passed us.  As they went by, I clapped and cheered them on, which took my mind off the hilly road I was climbing up.  And they cheered me, too!  It helped to motivate me and kept me progressing forward.  Just before they started gaining on us, I was feeling like I might not make it after all.  I didn’t realize the steepness of the terrain, and my legs had been used to mall walking to get my practice in.  Seeing all those people running by, many of them my age or older, and even some folks I work with, kept me going.  I called, “See you at the finish line!” so I knew that I had to follow through.  I do try to keep my word as best I can at all times.

That finish line was the most beautiful sight I’d seen all day!  Jeanette and I were both so tired, but we kept each other moving toward that goal!  For the last hundred yards or so, we ran hand-in-hand, telling each other that we were going to make it…and we did!  When I finished, sweaty, sore, with swollen hands (I had to look it up online to make sure there wasn’t anything wrong with because I got scared…it’s called hyponatremia), I was just so thankful to have done it!!

When I think of where I was in December 2012 (absolutely no exercise, eating tons of high fat and high “bad” carbs, and smoking over a pack a day), I am so proud of how far I have been able to come.  Am I a svelt size 8?  Nope…and probably won’t ever be.   But that is okay, and I am still smoke-free.  Even if I never get to single digit sizes, I am far healthier than I have been in two decades, and nothing else matters.

It’s also ironic that this week’s Artist’s Way challenge dealt with strength!  This is me showing how strong I am becoming!

Niagara Falls Women’s Half Marathon…ME??

Published March 8, 2014 by Susan Woodward

Last year I made huge strides in completing four 5K races.  I never placed in the top percent, but I finished every one!  So that’s 20K…just 1K shy of a half marathon over four races.niagara-falls-womens-half-marathon

So this body has done a half marathon already!

Well, at least that is how I am convincing myself that I can do this!  My friend, Jeanette, and I signed up and are going to make a go of it!  And who can resist the logo of “Wine, Women, Walk, Run”… wine?  I’m in!

I have to admit that I have gotten a bit lazy this winter.  It has been a freaking tundra, and I have been pretty much hibernating.  With spring on its way (I HOPE), I plan to get out to train for this marathon.

run DisneyI am going to take Jeanette’s advice and use the Walt Disney World Half Marathon Training Program.   All I have to do is get my ass off the couch to get started!  I will begin with following the training program on Tuesday (in three days), but in the meantime, I will get out and do some prep-walking.  I already know that fully running the half marathon is out of the question, but interjecting some light running into my program will help me to finish the race before the sun goes down!

Incorporating my Tuesday/Thursday 30 minute sessions as my Nature Days as I continue to work through The Artist’s Way will be a great blend of both.  My weekend extended excursions can be built into my Artist Dates.  I can go someplace that requires lots of walking, and I’ll take a pedometer to make sure I get the proper number of miles in for that weekend.   Warmer weather will be a great help to keep me getting outside into the fresh air… sub zero temperatures have done nothing but make me hide almost all winter!

OneNFWHM-FINAL-FLAT thing I am grateful for is that the half marathon is on relatively flat ground!

It’s along the river, it’s scenic, it’s on the Canadian side… no negatives that I can see!

So I think we are going to make a girls’ weekend of it!  Saturday hang out: shopping, casino, dinner, then Marathon on Sunday!

Sounds like an awesome way to start the summer!  Can’t wait!

I just have to get ready…

Reflections on 2013

Published December 30, 2013 by Susan Woodward

2013 was a year of changes for me… challenges, both physical and emotional, tested me to my limits, and I am still here to talk about it!  In one year, I made significant changes that I have, sadly, let slide a bit as the weather turned colder and I began the new school year.  However, I recognize my backsliding, and I am going to make sure that I do something about it.

I really decided to start posting my challenges online because I wanted to leave my thoughts to my children for the future.  I want them to be able to actually look at pictures of their crazy Mom, watch videos of her trying to make a 50 year old body do aerial arts, and read my introspective thoughts so that they might have an inkling of what goes on under all the red frizz.  It’s a pictorial diary, complete with video clips that they can look back on later, when I am no longer here.  That’s why I put these thoughts out there.  If people read them and are entertained or provoked a bit, then that’s great…but the ones I really want to have access to my thoughts are my kids.

So here are some thoughts about 2013:

JANUARY

Bat Girl

The year started off with a real bang…most of them on the mat as I made my aerial arts “debut”.  My first night on the silks and I was flying!  (sort of).  And I remember my two new best friends… Ibuprofen and Epsom Salts!  I am also reminded of my nemesis that was sent into oblivion… yes, Pall Mall and all his cohorts!  No more tobacco!  I have been smoke-free since January 8 and I will continue to be for life!!

FEBRUARYswimming

In February, I turned 51, and Will D’Ovidio helped me ring in the new life year with 51 push-ups for my birthday!  The most surprising thing, though, is that I actually DID 51 push-ups during that Cirque Fit class!  I was eating better, getting stronger, and feeling a whole lot more optimistic about my future.

MARCH

Jenns 6 InjuriesWell, March brought my Circus dreams to an end with tendonitis and problems with both shoulders.  I held on to the hope that I could return in a few weeks, which turned into months, which were finally crashed and burned with a bout of vertigo.  Although I am not able to get back on the silks, March also brought me to the YMCA.  I worked hard to keep the momentum going!

APRIL

beet juiceApril is when I got the idea to try my first 5K, and so I began training.  I have no ACL in my right knee, so I am more of a power walker than a runner, but that’s okay!  I was off the couch!  I also began juicing as a way to cleanse and detox my body.   The weather was getting warmer, so I was making more regular trips to the Rochester Public Market (THE best place to be on a Saturday morning!).

MAY

2013-05-18 16.32.04 May brought the premier of Ombis: Alien Invasion, my screen debut!  Even though I have never really been a horror movie fan, I have to say that I had a BLAST getting zombified a la Tom Savini School of Make-Up and then slimed by what seemed like GALLONS of green goo!  It was a terrific experience, and I am sooo glad that I was able to be a part of the fun!

JUNE

Hiking and Teacher Rally 020Ask anyone my thoughts on the current state of education, and you’d better be prepared to pull up a seat for a long tirade!  The fiasco of the implementation of the CCSS, APPR, SLOs, PLCs, and a host of other acronyms led me to get involved instead of just bitching about conditions.  I went to Albany along with THOUSANDS of others to let John King and Andrew Cuomo know how we felt!  With all the changes so far in the year, I felt my confidence soaring, and I joined in with another acronymical group: the BATS (The Badass Teachers Association)!    I also completed my first 5K in June!

JULY

Portland Headlight with Ram Island Ledge 4 In July, I decided that I was going to head out all by myself,  I was feeling strong enough and confident enough to just get in the car, drive east till I hit an ocean, and then turn left, driving till I found lighthouses and cheap lobster!  And I DID it!  Not only that, I had no hotel reservations or anything…I trusted that everything would turn out okay.  And that is exactly what happened!  I climbed a mountain, hiked, ran in the ocean, climbed into a lighthouse, took TONS of pictures and managed to find about a dozen lighthouses.  The cheap lobster was pretty terrific, too!

AUGUST

100_0746When my Marine daughter told me that she could not come home from San Diego before her deployment in September, I decided that I was going to go to her!  I managed to pick up a summer tutoring gig that paid enough to cover my air fare, and I got to see my Sarah Bear! Never in my life would I have thought that I would put my feet in both oceans that come in contact with North America within a few weeks of each other!   I also spent a lot of time hiking and taking Nature pictures throughout the month of August.

SEPTEMBER

Fist batThis month was certainly a challenge as I began teaching consultant classes for the first time.  Worries over standardized test results (it was announced that 70% of New York State’s 3rd through 8th graders “failed” the state exams).    I was still feeling confident, still working out, still pumping that blood through those veins…and ready to pump up the BAT action with my voice via phone calls, emails, tweets, and Facebook posts.  For so long, I’d felt sluggish, complacent, and didn’t want to get involved with much of anything.  Thanks to everything I’d been working through, I put that energy to work, and the BATS are working hard to make a positive change in educational reform!

OCTOBER

SeanceI returned to performing in October with the Rochester Landmark Society’s annual Ghost Walk.  I hadn’t performed since Titanic and the One Acts in 2012, and it felt good to do a little bit of acting again.  The best part was that we had an indoor scene on the tour, so we didn’t have to worry about the cold and rain!

NOVEMBER

NaNo logoNovember was National Write a Novel in 30 Days month.  Actually, what was required was to write 50,000 words in 30 days.  I’d had The Red Brick Road rattling about in my brain for quite a long time, and I did have a little of it started, so I had a jumping off point.  It was hard as hell keeping up with daily deadlines, trying to make sure that I had the magic number of words so that I could say, “Yes!  I did it!”  Now all I have to do is EDIT it!  But I DO have over 50,000 words!!

DECEMBER

meNearly one year after getting my behind off the couch and actually getting out to DO things, I am still going.  I do have to admit that I have not been to the YMCA recently, but I will be making that change to get back on a healthier track.  Backsliding happens, but NOT ONCE in this year did I pick up a cigarette!  My friend Jeanette and I participated in the It’s a Wonderful Run 5K…in 16 degrees and in the middle of a snow storm!  It was cold as all get out, but we were both dressed in layers (you can see that I look about 150 pounds heavier because of all the layers!) and we survived.  And in January, this body is going to get back out to Bristol to SKI!  I haven’t done that in a couple of years, and I am so looking forward to it!

For me, 2013 was one of my most memorable years!  So many challenges, changes, successes…I feel truly blessed.  Thank you to my friends and family for your support and encouragement, especially to Will D’Ovidio (of Rochester Aerial Arts) and my daughter Illy Welden who got me started and kept me going!

I can’t wait to see what 2014 brings!!

Happy New Year to everyone!

Still Trekking: It’s a Wonderful Run…Well, Stroll!

Published December 15, 2013 by Susan Woodward

banner-5kChalking up another 5K for me in 2013!  That’s a total of 4…and for someone who had NEVER done anything like that in 51 years, that’s an awesome accomplishment, even if I do say do myself.

meOk…so here I am just before the race: thermal leggings, jeans, snow pants…check, check, check.  Turtleneck, t-shirt, hoodie, ski jacket, and racing shirt…check, check, check, check, check.  Wool hat, headband, face cover, hoodie hood, jacket hood, goggles…check, check, check, check, check, check.  Wool socks, cotton socks, plastic bags, semi-waterproof boots… check, check, check, check.  Two pairs of gloves…check, check.  Alrighty!  It’s 16 degrees and it’s snowing…and I am ready to run!  I look about 150 pounds heavier, but at least I am completely insulated.

By the end of the race, I was sweating like crazy!!  Because of the snow, cold, layers, and lack of training, this became more of a Wonderful Stroll than a Run, but it gave me an opportunity to see the beauty of the village and to appreciate the good wishes of all the people who came out to cheer us on!  There were lights, music played, people had bon fires, and some offered hot cider.  It truly was WONDERFUL!

JeanetteThis is my friend Jeanette who was crazy enough to go with me!  Actually, she was the one to tell me about it in the first place…and I am glad she did.  We had an awesome time!

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This is the bridge that George Bailey wanted to jump from before Clarence beat him to it.  I stood at the rail looking into the churning water, imaging jumping in to save someone…I told Jeanette she’d better not jump!

3

I have plans for this Main Street at the end of the race!

8

Martini’s!!

2

If we’d stayed in town longer, I would have gone to see this.  The whole town really gets into the spirit of the holiday and the film!  The florist was giving out roses to the ladies…Zuzu’s petals!  And mine was an amethyst tea rose…my favorite flower in the whole world!

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Just look at the crowd!

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And lots of people came in costume!  People ran with pets, some pushed baby strollers as families participated together, and we even saw a person in a wheelchair while on the trek.

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The race begins on the bridge…just look at all the people lining up for the gun to go off!  We heard that there were over 4000 folks registered for the race!

Because I am a true nut case, here’s video proof:

It truly was a Wonderful Run!

Push Yourself 5K– I did it!

Published October 6, 2013 by Susan Woodward

2013 has been one heck of a year, and ever since January, I have been pushing myself.

Thanks to Will D’Ovidio and Aerial Arts of Rochester, I pushed myself off the couch and into the air (sort of).

Patty Hedrick pushed me in the direction of better eating.

I pushed the pack away from me and quit smoking (nine months this week!!).

I followed my bliss and pushed from one ocean to another this summer.

And I pushed myself to start doing 5Ks…even being chased by zombies!

Push Yourself LogoToday I pushed myself again with the Push Yourself 5K.  What made this one different was that I was surrounded by faculty and students from my high school…it wasn’t just me all by myself, anonymously running/walking.  It’s actually easier when I am incognito and no one knows me because (in my mind) I worry that people I know who are in much better shape than me will look at me and say, “humph…” as I trudge along.  Or that students might laugh at me because I still jiggle when I jog.  That is what nearly held me back from pushing myself out of bed this morning to get ready.

Now people might want to argue that it doesn’t seem like I really care what people think because I posted those videos of myself doing aerial silks and other pictures.   In those instances, the internet distances me from thoughts of judgement or snide remarks, so I am not bothered by that.  What did make me feel a bit trepidatious today was being surround by former and current student athletes who actually intimidate me.  Those who play soccer, and volleyball, and run track… they are all in great shape, and this 5K seems like another run in the park from my viewpoint.

To be completely honest, I felt out of control.  I am absolutely not in my element, and there are witnesses who know me in the classroom as one who is totally in control there.  The roles were reversed, and quite frankly, I was scared to run.  That’s why the other races didn’t scare me…I was my own witness, and then I shared my feelings of success.  Today, for the first time, I was actually afraid of being laughed at.

But you know what?  That didn’t happen.  Students actually encouraged me to “push myself” to keep going along the way.  Some came up to me afterwards to say that I’d done a great job in finishing…and that made me feel all the more successful.

At one point, I even caught up to the boy’s soccer team during the last mile of the race.  I called out to them, “Hey, Guys!  There’s a 51 year old lady catching up to you!  Push yourselves!”  They looked back, laughed (not at me, but with me), and then took off running.   It was fun, and that’s what it’s all about!

 

Following My Bliss: Zombie 5K!!

Published August 25, 2013 by Susan Woodward

100_0720This is the tent where zombies are created!  Although I didn’t get to be one in this race, I DID get chased by the product of all this goop and goo!

For my second 5K, I think I probably should have trained a bit more for this one.  I knew about the obstacle course, but I didn’t realize JUST how challenging it was going to be.  I mean, it’s not like the Tough Mudder!  Or was it…?

For me, this might just as well have been the Tough Mudder because it sure was tough on these bones…and muscles!  I am still hurting a week later!  As much pain as I feel in my muscles (particularly in my thighs), I want to participate in more 5K’s in the future.  I am glad my friend, Jeanette was running with me!

These are just a couple of shots of what I could see of the course from along the sidelines.  It doesn’t look all that intimidating, but once I was actually trying to run it, I realized a couple of things: 1) I didn’t train enough ahead of time, and 2) I had the WRONG sneakers on!!

100_0715 100_0714  Because I didn’t want to ruin my hot pink kicks, I dug an old pair of walking sneakers out of my closet…the kind with the rocking sole about two inches high.  Yeah…bad idea.  At one point when I was being chased by a huge swarm of brain munching infected zombies, I was trying to run around an uphill curve in these elevated sneakers.  Ouch, ouch, ouch as I turned my ankle, but I kept going.  I didn’t want to get eaten!  Limping along, I hustled as best I could and did my best to go through all the obstacles.   Zombie Run 1             I crawled in the mud…   Zombie Run 2

I climbed over barbed wire while my feet sunk ankle deep in the muck…

Zombie Run 3

Zombie Run 4

And I swam through a pit of freezing, ice cold “blood”…

Zombie Run 5And I am still standing!!

100_0723And we finished!!  Okay, so the zombies took all my flags off my belt, but I still got my medal!

I may be still sore a week later, but I am so glad I challenged myself!

Following My Bliss: Chimney Bluffs

Published August 12, 2013 by Susan Woodward

Again I woke up with a hankering for a hike!  It was a gorgeous day, so I decided that soaking up some sun along Lake Ontario was just the ticket!

But first I had to get there.

I’d taken my kids to the Bluffs a long time ago, and I basically remember how to get there.  I mean, it’s on the lake, so how can you miss it, right?  Well, one cannot just drive long the coast of Lake Ontario.  There are too many bays and inlets and not enough “straight” coastline roads.  The key is to know when to go north off route 104.

According to the internet (which I checked before leaving because I’d not been able to find the place the last two times I went out there), I was supposed to go along 104 E until I came to County Road 254, then turn left and go to the Lake.  That sounds easy, right?  Ha!  It would have been if there had been a SIGN that marked County Road 254!!  I was nearly at Oswego before I had to pull out the old GPS to have it tell me to backtrack for a good half hour!  And get this…the road is marked Route 414, not 254.  The GPS called it 254.  The internet called it 254.  The folks who made the signs call it 414.

That is a real 315-er.

But at least I finally made it! Bluffs 6

The sun was hot, so I decided to begin my trek along the coastline, and then make my way back along the top of the bluffs.

The water was much warmer than I expected.  The lake is usually pretty cold, even at this time of year.  It felt good to have the waves sloshing up over my feet as I walked along.

Bluffs 7

This was the view of the bluffs from where I entered the beach and began my hike.  They seem a long way off…it was about a mile to get to them.

Bluffs 8

I saw a lot of interesting driftwood along the way.

Bluffs 9

Some spots was just a little TOO much driftwood for my taste.  It made the going a little tougher.

Bluffs 10I am finally getting closer to the bluffs…

Let me tell you, I am going to have to bronze these $5.00 water shoes I bought this summer!  They have been on all my hikes, especially those involving creeks, lakes, and oceans!  I have two more big treks before I go back to work and they have to last.  I plan to hit Watkins Glen and San Diego in the next two weeks, so stay tuned!

Here are a few good shots of the bluffs from the beach:

Bluffs 4 Bluffs 3 Bluffs 2 Bluffs 1

The terrain certainly looks different from yesterday’s walk!

This is my attempt at being “artsy” before hauling myself up to the top of the bluffs to hike along the edge:

Bluffs 11I shot this through a fallen tree (complete with me laying on the rocks to get the bluffs through the “window”).  You can see the richness of the color of the rocks…all the reds and blues.

Bluffs 5And this was from along the top of the ridge.

I certainly have been enjoying Following My Bliss this summer…I wish it didn’t have to end in order to go back to work!  But I have had the opportunity to recharge my batteries (and it’s not like I haven’t been working in the summer…I just didn’t write about that…).  Along with continuing with my exercise routines, I have worked hard on my fitness.  I feel MUCH stronger than I have in…well, since I can’t remember!  No smoking, eating healthier, working out, and cardio via hiking!  All that with some gorgeous scenery and awesome memories that I DID IT!

Yippee!  😀

Following My Bliss: Barnes Creek Falls

Published August 11, 2013 by Susan Woodward

I woke up this morning with the decision to go for a waterfall hike already made up in my mind.   It wasn’t even like, “What shall I do today?”… it was already a given that I was going to seek a new waterfall somewhere!  So I picked up my phone and went to my All Trails Hiking App and decided to hit Barnes Creek Falls near Canandaigua Lake.

fallsWhen I first found the park, I wasn’t sure there’s even BE a waterfall based on the condition of the creek.  It was merely a trickle and didn’t seem to be enough water to have come from a waterfall of any sort.  I thought it was all dried up and would be nothing but a rock bed, and I nearly turned around to seek another place to hike.  Considering I’d driven nearly an hour to get there, I decided to keep moving forward and hope for the best.

I am so glad that I did!  Although it wasn’t a “raging” falls, there was enough water coming down to make it pretty and even refreshing to wade in the pool at the bottom.

What most caught my eye was the yellow rope that someone had attached to a tree to aid in climbing up the falls.  Hmmm….did I dare to try it?  In spite of what this picture looks like, it actually was a pretty steep ascent.  I worried a bit about my elbow (tendonitis which has not yet healed), but I figured that since I’d bothered to drive out there, I was going to try anyway.  There happened to be a family that had also followed the trickle to find the waterfall, so the Dad was there to dial 911 in the event I fell!  He agreed to keep his cell phone handy till I was either safely at the top or had safely returned to the pool.

I was surprised to find that climbing with the rope didn’t hurt my arm; that was a good sign to keep going.  Once I got past where the rope ended, I had to continue on the rock formations that kind of looked like steps…I whipped out my camera to snap a picture from where I was at the end of my rope (ha! ha!) to mark how high I’d climbed so far.  I kept falls 4going up the “steps,” but I didn’t realize how steep they were until my water shoes started slipping on the rocks while I was climbing.  I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to continue upwards (there was nothing to hold onto and I was leery about the lack of traction on my shoes).

That’s when I looked down.

Not a good move.

Looking downThat’s when I froze for a bit.  You can see from looking at the rocks how smooth they are, and even though I wasn’t going to fall from a height akin to Niagara Falls, those rocks could have done some serious damage if I wasn’t careful.

I just told myself that I’d managed to climb up there, so I could get down, too.  I had to find my footholds carefully because the more nervous I got, the slipperier the rocks seemed to become.   When I finally got back to the rope, I was so happy!  It made me feel secure, and I cannot believe how much I was able to lean out away from the rock wall when I was climbing using that rope.   I felt my aerial experiences helping me out at that time!!  🙂  Thanks, Will D’Ovidio!

falls 3

This was my view once I finally got back to the safety of the pool!

Canadaigua Lake

As I exited from the creek bed and began my ascent up the hills nearby, this was a view of Canandaigua Lake.   One of my goals is to visit the wineries throughout the Finger Lakes and do some sampling on a wine tour!  That is bliss for another day!

Lookout point

I continued along the upper trails above the creek and falls… this is one of the lookout posts.

It was a gorgeous day for a hike, and I am so glad that I woke up with that in mind!  🙂

 

 

 

Following My Bliss: Exploring the Varied Terrain of Acadia National Park

Published July 14, 2013 by Susan Woodward

I have been taking time following my bliss of doing nothing for the past few days…and liking it!  But I do want to share my Acadia adventure up a mountain, down to the seashore, and into a forest around a pond.  Such diverse terrains on one island!

Welcome to Acadia National Park (click on the pic for a link)!acadia-map

It took me several hours to get from Moody Beach to the Bar Harbor and Acadia region, and because I didn’t take the coastal route, it wasn’t as pretty.  I took 295 and then 95 north, and it was just highway driving.  But I’d left at 5:30 AM to get an early start, so that wasn’t too bad.

I originally wanted to stay in Bar Harbor, but when I finally found the place, it was crawling with people for the 4th of July…craft show included.  And my car literally crawled through there amidst the other crazies who dared to drive down those roads, even before noon!  Actually, I am happy simply being able to say that I passed through Bar Harbor and leave it at that.

Not stopping in Bar Harbor allowed me to go straight to the part right then and there, and I am so glad that I did!  I first found the Wild Gardens of Acadia.

100_0353After walking the paths through the gardens for a bit, I was beginning to feel adventurous.  The man in the Nature Center told me about a challenging hiking path that led up Dorr Mountain behind the Sieur de Monts Spring House.  Feeling up to the challenge, I decided to go ahead and give it a try.

Acadia Hike 1I am so very glad that I brought my hot pink running shoes!  My sandals never would have made it!

At first the hike started out pretty neutral, and I was feeling pretty darned confident that this was going to be a walk in the park (ha ha).

Walking though the woods was so much cooler than the humid, blistering 96 degrees in the sun, and the trail seemed so tame.

Acadia Hike 2Now doesn’t that look gentle to you?  I thought so…till the steps became steeper and steeper, and steeper!  I was wishing that in some past life I’d been a mountain goat just to climb some of those steps.  I have not been as glad to have quit smoking as I was during that hike!  Turning around did cross my mind, albeit briefly.  I wanted a challenge, and I was going to rise to it no matter what!  In the future, though, I think I will make sure that I am hiking with someone else…just in case.  These are just the pictures going UP!

Acadia Hike 3 Acadia Hike 4 Acadia Hike 5 Acadia Hike 6 Acadia Hike 7I was very glad to have a water bottle, good shoes, and to have been working out.  I was also glad to have my cell phone just in case.  Once I finally made it to the trail that would cut across (I didn’t go all the way to the top, but darned close), I had to laugh and take a picture of the sign:

Acadia Hike 8 HomanI had to call my daughter, Robin Homan, to tell her that I was on their hiking trail!  According to the link, this trail was closed for a time due to earthquakes!

Here’s a view from as close to the top as I got:

Acadia View 2

Acadia View 1

Acadia LedgeSee that ledge?  It’s not as wide as it looks.  This was where I was telling myself that my next mountain climbing extravaganza will include another person.  Doing this solo wasn’t the smartest move…but I did have my cell phone.

Acadia Hike 14 Acadia Hike 12 Acadia Hike 11 Acadia Hike 13And then I finally made it down!  I was COVERED in sweat and glistening like I’d just been oiled (except for the red face and hard breathing, it might have been attractive to some mountain man…).  The first thing I asked the park ranger was for directions to the nearest beach!  I needed to cool off, pronto!

Parking at the beach was not the easiest thing…after all, several hundred other people thought that going to the beach on the 4th of July was a good idea.  I had another hike along another trail just to get to the beach from where I had to park my car.

Acadia Sandy Beach 1

Acadia Sandy Beach 2

Acadia Sandy Beach 3

This is me trying to be artistic.  I managed to get a flying gull in there within the “frame.”

Acadia Sandy Beach 5The water was very cold and a dark, almost black seaweed lined the shore.  Because I was carrying my camera and didn’t want to put anything down while I took a total plunge, I contented myself with wading in the 50+ degree water.  I certainly cooled off in a hurry!  And I splashed myself with water as well.

Acadia Sandy Beach 4This cool cave was at the far end of the beach.

Well, after my beach excursion, I decided to head toward Jordan Pond.  Hey, I’d seen Homan’s Path, right?  Well, Jojo needed to have her place on my trip!  So off to the next type of terrain.

Acadia Jordan Pond 1I was told they serve tea and scones at this restaurant.  I won’t know on this trip…there was a two hour wait!  (4th of July thing…)

Acadia Jordan Pond 2I did sneak upstairs to the closed-off area to take a quick pic.

Acadia Jordan Pond3Even the outdoor seating had a waiting list, so I decided to take a hike along the trail.

Acadia Jordan Pond 5In order to avoid disturbing the natural environment, hikers are asked to stay on the boardwalk.  This thing goes on for what must be miles!  I’d like to know who split all these logs and placed them, LEVEL, all along this “pond” (which, by the way, is larger than some of the smaller Finger Lakes).  Passing folks who were coming from the other direction while still remaining on the boardwalk was a challenge!

Acadia Jordan Pond 4Three terrains: mountain, seashore, forest/pond.  I feel like I traveled to three different places miles and miles away from each other, and yet I was on one island.

How awesome is that?

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