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. :)