Kayaking and training continued!

I had to skip this weekend's hike because I managed to get a summer cold from the kiddos at work, but I have been busy busy busy lately! But taking NO pictures... I need to start bringing my camera again!

On the less physical side, I've been reading A Blistered Kind of Love by Angela and Duffy Ballard about a couple's thru-hike of the Pacific Crest Trail. I was excited to find another hiking memoir at my local library... some of those books are really hard to find!

    I am still training for the 30-mile hike fundraiser for CureSearch for Children's Cancer. You can still donate to my fundraising effort HERE: I've raised about $650 and still have a ways to go! We are working up our miles slowly. On the 18th, we went to Greensfelder where we hiked about 11 miles.  This was a gorgeous little place I'd never been to before. Parts of it were very rocky and a little dangerous for a clumsy ankle-twisting person like me, but I survived. There were parts of the trails we were on that were absolutely breathtakingly beautiful. Some more trafficked than others, with bike riders (as usual), but other parts of the trail felt very isolated and peaceful.

I can't remember exactly which trails we did, but I think we did the Dogwood, and maybe parts of the Declue and/or Green Rock trails.  For the first 7 or 8 miles, I really booked it keeping up with the hiking group. It's not my favorite way to hike, but I feel like it is a work-out and as much as I hate to admit it, that's part of what I need to do. But the last trail we did I fell back and walked the trail more at my own pace. I was able to walk in peace and silence and enjoy the surroundings. It allowed me to clear my mind and take a deep breath and think about what I'm doing and why. I absolutely love hiking for a cause that is important to me, and I love meeting new people who share my passion. The people doing the hike are interesting, fun people that I'm really glad I met! Sometimes I just need to remember to slow down and that I'm not in a race.

Sunday of last week, I also had a new experience of kayaking for the very first time! Aside from getting incredibly lost of the way there, it was an amazing and insanely challenging experience for me! We did about 7-9 miles on the Illinois River, starting out near Pere Marquette State Park. The wind was headlong most of the way, the current strong and felt like it was pulling me in the opposite direction I needed to go, and I spent most of my time trying to go in a straight line. I got blisters on both my thumbs, my arms and shoulders were screaming by the end of the trip.... but it was BEAUTIFUL.  Not to mention I felt really proud of myself once I finished. It was interesting to try something new and really challenge myself in territory I don't feel 100% comfortable with. The scenery was gorgeous, the breeze on the water invigorating, and my muscles were screaming for mercy. :)

Summer Trainings

So!!! I've actually been busy lately!

    The first change in my life is that my roommate got a dog. This will  be my first time living with a large pet EVER. I'm allergic to cats, and we never had dogs growing up, so this is indeed a huge change for me!

Her name is Tonks and she is a BUSY, active lady. And while I may be adjusting to life with a dog in general, something I do really enjoy is our walks together, especially our long evening walks after the heat of the day goes down.  Whether we walk for a half hour or more, it's good exercise, is getting me acquainted with my neighborhood, and gives me a lot of peace of mind time.  It is also making sure that I am getting out of the house and moving a little this summer!

Another thing keeping me moving is my fundraising hike for CureSearch:
Please consider donating to this cause! I've pledged to raise $2,500!

This has been a bit of a challenge for me too! Not only am I doing some summer hiking, which this year has been pretty atrocious, I am also getting used to hiking in a group!   There is a wonderful group of people doing the St. Louis chapter of this fundraising hike, and we've been training together for a couple weeks now. I find hiking in a group difficult... I love hiking on my own, and have rarely hiked with more than one or two other people at a time. But these people are great and there's a really good feeling to the team effort of training together, pushing each other, and knowing that we're all going through the same thing!

We've started out pretty slow, but did some walking and hiking at Tower Grove Park, Creve Coeur Lake, West Tyson County Park, and tomorrow we'll hike at Castlewood. We are slowly working our way up in mileage and difficulty, and should do a few 20 miles hikes before tackling the big one!!!

West Tyson park was new for me... we did part of the Chubb Trail and part of the Flint Quarry Trail, combining for about 7 miles. While I've done more than 7 miles before, this was a TOUGH tough hike!!!! It started out in a light-moderate drizzle, but that was actually the best weather the whole time! It was so muggy and hot that I don't think I've ever sweat so much in my entire life. I was EXHAUSTED, physically and mentally by the end. I seriously went home, showered, devoured food, and passed out on the couch. The trail was gorgeous with lots of ups and downs and changes in difficulty, which made it both great and super challenging in the mugginess.  The trails were marked well enough when they crossed, but I only saw mile markers on the Flint Quarry Trail, not the Chubb. The rain over the past two days had made the trail incredibly, incredibly muddy and slick, which added to the challenge of the overall hike.