#MondayMotivation - A Healthier Mike: July 2019 Check-In

I like myself most of the time
This ain’t a crime, this ain’t a crime
I like myself most of the time
Is that a crime? Is that a crime?
— K. Flay "I Like Myself (Most Of The Time)"

Quick Stats

Total steps: 335.996

Average daily steps: 10,838

Highest daily steps: 21,013

Lowest daily steps: 3,958

Total miles walked/ran/hiked: 81.15

Total miles hiked: 9.33 (back on the wagon, thankfully)

Sleep stats: 4 days over 7 hours, 4 days between 6-7, and 23 days under 6 hours

Average daily sleep: 5 hours 18 minutes


Outside Experience with one of the best!

The Good

  • Joined the gym, through my insurance for next to nothing and NO contract

  • Total activity is greater than June, daily activity average is higher as well

  • Back into the hiking mode! I missed it and it was an instant high.

  • I’ve increased my workouts and added lunch time routines as well - more physical activity feels SO GOOD.

  • I did not kayak, but I did bike! Oh yeah, I bought a bike! It’s nothing expensive or special but it serves the purpose of biking around on paved paths or gravel stuff. I’m not ready for the real trails….yet.

  • I am working out twice a day at least 5 days per week

  • I’m down 12 lbs since January, it’s been up and down. July was a good month, 6 lbs down overall.

  • Made more food at home

  • I pushed through my bad weekends

  • My meals were 61% vegetarian in nature. It’s so easy, and delicious.


The Not-So-Good

  • I didn’t find time to kayak, which is more sad than bad

  • I did not really increase my sleep. I plan to make a real effort in August

  • Had some bender weekends for food/drinking - speed bumps

  • Dined out too much, but mostly on trips

  • I still have days when I give up or eat too much, but tracking it makes me aware


An excerpt from The Awakening

An excerpt from The Awakening

Mental Health

  • Work was mentally draining the entire month of July

  • Have not been writing as much as I would like, but I have plans for August

  • My phone is a constant source of anxiety and so use of my phone is continuously being reduced

  • I am in a good place, overall, but there’s always work to be done.


A night of swimming at Lake Granbury w/ friends and family. Good for physical and mental wellness.

A night of swimming at Lake Granbury w/ friends and family. Good for physical and mental wellness.

Thoughts, Notes, Conclusions

  • I am on track. Slow and steady wins the race. Realizing excess happens is a big step and exercising no matter what is important.

  • I am tracking my food. It helps, but it isn’t perfect.

  • My coworkers are working out and trying too. Having some support, even if it isn’t for the same goals. It’s nice to have friends on the Apple Watch or to go to the gym with at lunch time.

  • Epiphany of the month: If I’m trying, working on it, and making strides to be better in all aspects of life then I’m fine. Even if I’m not doing my best some days, I’m still moving forward and still trying overall. I feel better, mentally and physically, and that’s what I’m after.


Goals for August

More hiking, please!

More hiking, please!

  • Read/Listen to at least 3 books
    (A constant goal is 8, I’m always coming up short… so I’m making it more realistic)

  • Working on drinking less booze, and more water. I have a lot of cabin time and weekends away, so it will be a real challenge.

  • Take 4-7 days off from social media (I’m heading to the cabin for 5 nights, which is off the grid—-can’t wait!)

  • More jogging (I will continue to strive to do a 5k run, still working on a single mile)

  • Working on increasing my daily average for activity It feels good, both mentally and physically.

  • More adventurous hikes - I have a few spots in mind.
    (This is loaded because I’m headed to the Pacific Northwest and Minnesota)

  • Continued daily mindful breaks and reading The Awakening (at least 2 reflective hikes)

  • There’s no reason I can’t hit 100 miles for August. (Daily walks and jogs + hikes = c’mon man)

  • I am continuing 50%+ vegetarian. For the planet, for my body, I’m reducing overall meat intake. I’m not going vegan or cutting all meats out, just less overall. It’s been quite easy so far, and cheaper.

And more meetups with friends, please.

And more meetups with friends, please.

A little Minnesota for this #ForestFriday

I’ve got Minnesota on my brain. I have a lot of things on my brain, but Minnesota is sticking out. I’m returning to the land in the Great North mi- August to go to the cabin off the grid and check out of society for a while. My friend’s cabin is one of my favorite places to be because it makes me slow down and take in every minute of daylight. There’s always some work to do, always a trip to the Boundary Waters, and usually a lot of beer and cards by lantern into the night. Northern Minnesota is truly dark at night, silent in terms of the modern world for the most part, and completely refreshing.

Here are some photos from over the past 15 years of visits to the cabin for your viewing pleasure.

#MondayMotivation - A Healthier Mike: June 2019 Check-In

There’s something in the air
I sense it
Like the wind, change direction
I can hear the storm is rumbling
Sounds like a freight train coming
— The National Parks "I Can Feel It"

Quick Stats

Total steps: 309,712

Average daily steps: 10,324

Highest daily steps: 15,096 (June 22)

Lowest daily steps: 5,347 (June 15)

Total miles walked/ran/hiked: 72.35

Total miles hiked: 0 (holy shit, not cool)

Sleep stats: 1 day at 7+ hours, 7 at 6-7 hours, and the rest below 6

Average daily sleep: 5 hours 19 minutes


Visiting fantastic places was a highlight of June.
Tahquamenon Falls

The Good

  • Had a great spurt of activity when in Michigan with gorgeous daily walks and kayak paddles

  • Total activity was 16.2% greater than June 2018

  • I closed my Apple Watch rings 21/30 days

  • I kayaked often for two weeks

  • I increased total activity

  • I’ve been increasing my speed to increase heart rate

  • I have new Texas State Park & NPS quests to help keep me motivated

  • I signed up for a year of membership at the Fort Worth Nature Center & Refuge for kayaks and hikes - access was $5/entry and it would add up and it’s just the nicest place to kayak within the metro.


The Not-So-Good

  • I was straight up lazy when it came to hiking - as I’m trying to keep it fresh and non-repetitive and that’s requiring a bit more work with distance from home

  • I did not sleep well in June - road trips did not help

  • Absolute flop for hiking

  • As a household, we dined out too often

  • I stopped trying for any real results at the first sign of failure


One of the many sunsets over Grand Lake in Presque Isle, Michigan

One of the many sunsets over Grand Lake in Presque Isle, Michigan

Mental Health

  • Work was mentally draining the last three weeks of June

  • Had a lot of time in the car and a lot of time with my thoughts - finding a lot of clarity

  • I’ve stepped back from phone use quite a bit and I’ve noticed a difference

  • I don’t believe there was a single day I didn’t want to get out of bed.


Thoughts, Notes, Conclusions

  • I needed an end goal. Big goals are great, but this month proved they don’t matter. I’m working on smaller, more attainable goals with steps towards the big goal. Common sense, right?

  • I signed up for support. I overeat. I can’t hold myself accountable. I literally lied or omitted things on MyFitnessPal because I was embarrassed. No more.

  • July is going to be my month. I hope.


Goals for July

More kayaking, please!

More kayaking, please!

  • Read/Listen to at least 3 books
    (A constant goal is 8, I’m always coming up short… so I’m making it more realistic)

  • Working on drinking less booze, and more water. Balancing out the booze is key - it got a little much throughout June. Everything in moderation.

  • Take a weekend off of social media (I’ve been taking an hour a day of no phone, which is cool, but I will take a whole weekend - hopefully in the mountains)

  • Add more jogging and more trails (I will continue to strive to do a 5k run, still working on a single mile)

  • Working on increasing my daily average for activity It feels good, both mentally and physically.

  • More adventurous hikes - I have a few spots in mind.
    (My state park quest should help)

  • Continued daily mindful breaks and reading The Awakening (also, maybe yoga or some reflective hikes)

  • There’s no reason I can’t hit 100 miles for July. (Daily walks and jogs + hikes = c’mon man)

  • I signed up for support related to diet and exercise to help keep me on track. I’m now on a plan to shift my life to healthier eating and increased ACTUAL activity. It is not an expensive ordeal, but more than I’d like to spend so that’s motivation alone.

  • I am going 50%+ vegetarian. For the planet, for my body, I’m reducing overall meat intake. I’m not going vegan or cutting all meats out, just less overall. It’s been quite easy so far, and cheaper.

And more treats with friends please.

And more treats with friends please.

My Hiatus from Texas

On June 14 I started my drive to Michigan after work and a nap. I had the opportunity to work remotely, from my family’s house, way up north. The whole experience was set up so I could visit my grandmother and other family as much as possible for two weeks during a pleasant time of year in Michigan.

As the two week window came to a close, I learned that working remotely is quite possibly the best thing ever. I managed to stay busy and spend so much time with my family all in the same day, what a dream. I was able to exercise before and after work daily, kayak often, have lunch with best friends, and take long walks on the weekends. It is safe to say that I am not enjoying my home atmosphere nearly as much as the Michigan one. I am back to the grind - commuting, avoiding the outdoors due to heat and concrete, and wishing I was somewhere cooler.

Currently, it is a “real feel” temperature near 100 and too hot to ethically walk my dog on the expansive concrete around us. I’m looking through the photos from my time up north and thought I’d share some highlights to keep the spirit alive. I’ll be back for a visit, Michigan, sometime this year again.


Some sunrises…

And, some sunsets…

But, also, these…

#MondayMotivation - A Healthier Mike: May 2019 Check-In

Hey
I wanted everything I never had
Like the love that comes with light
I wore envy and I hated that
But I survived
I had a one-way ticket to a place where all the demons go
Where the wind don’t change
And nothing in the ground can ever grow
No hope, just lies
And you’re taught to cry into your pillow
But I survived
— SIA "Alive"

Quick Stats

Total steps: 343,004

Average daily steps: 11,065

Highest daily steps: 27,649 (May 11)

Lowest daily steps: 4,366 (May 18)

Total miles walked/ran/hiked: 70.14

Total miles hiked: ~13.5

Sleep stats: 2 days of 7+ hours, 3 days of 6-7 hours, 26 days under 6 hours

Average daily sleep: 5 hours 18 minutes


Hiking in the Tonto National Forest - Superstition Wilderness area w/ Scott Jones.

The Good

  • Stayed active all but four days

  • Total activity was higher than May 2018

  • I closed my Apple Watch rings 27/31 days

  • I kayaked for the first time and fell instantly in love with the activity

  • I hiked in a different state (Arizona)

  • I’ve been adding in more running to my daily exercises

  • I bought a kayak so I’ll be doing more of that on weekend mornings before it gets gross outside

  • I signed up for the Little Backyard Adventure trail run in Olympia, WA on August 10. I can’t wait to see how it goes - my only goal is to avoid being dead fucking last.


The Not-So-Good

  • I got a bad sinus infection that took me down for 3-4 days. I tried, but it just sucked. Eventually, I pushed through the snot and got back out there.

  • I did not sleep for shit in May

  • While I may have a few extra miles on April, it was still a flop for hiking

  • It’s getting hot and the dog is even slower, so I will just have to increase everything by adding a second exercise to the day

  • I ate fast food WAY too often

  • I bored eat WAY too much


Full moon pontoon cruise!

Full moon pontoon cruise!

Mental Health

  • I probably had 91% good days in May

  • Overcame big obstacles in the “I can’t do that” mindset - and I fucking did the thing.

  • I’ve stepped back from phone use quite a bit and I’ve noticed a difference

  • I don’t believe there was a single day I didn’t want to get out of bed - probably because I didn’t sleep much anyway.

  • I’ve stopped the daily tracking of everything except my fitness and it’s helped greatly. My desire for statistics and order had been causing me anxiety. I have developed a better way for me to handle daily and weekly goals.


Thoughts, Notes, Conclusions

  • When I stay busy, I don’t bored eat. Duh, right? Well, I guess I don’t stay busy enough so I plan to start attending local environmental meetings, exercising more, and kayaking as often as possible.

  • The majority of why I’m lazy AF is that I don’t want to drive through this metro area to do things. Once on the road, I’m fine, but it’s the getting through that internal battle that takes the most energy.

  • Summer is just the worst in Texas. Here’s to hoping my new State Park and NPS Quests keep pushing me to see new things and beat the heat.

  • I’m going to exercise more in June. No doubt about it.

  • I want to continue to get better, stronger, more experienced. It has always been my goal, and I know I’m better than I was a year ago or even more than that. I may not have lost the fat, but my legs are stronger than before and my endurance and will to keep trying are higher too.


Goals for June

Photo Credit: Adam Nutting

Photo Credit: Adam Nutting

  • Read/Listen to at least 2 books
    (A constant goal is 8, I’m always coming up short… so I’m making it more realistic. I think I had 1.5 in May?)

  • Working on eating better food, drinking less booze, and more water. (I really just need to eat less, and stop the eating out)

  • Take a weekend off of social media (I’ve been taking an hour a day of no phone, which is cool)

  • Add more jogging and more trails (like, actually hitting a trail on my way home from work or something)

  • Working on a 5+ mile daily average for activity (May was under 3, which is less than April which is annoying)

  • More adventurous hikes - I have a few spots in mind.
    (My state park quest and two weeks in Michigan should help)

  • Continued daily mindful breaks and reading The Awakening (also, maybe yoga?)

  • Read and write daily. (Focus on working shit out)

  • Dog walks daily, and a second walk just for me that includes jogging. (No more blaming the dog and his slow ass pace for my lack of running)

  • There’s no reason I can’t hit 100+ miles for June. (Daily walks and jogs + hikes = c’mon man)

IMG_5616.JPG

#ForestFriday - Tonto National Forest

These may not be the images you expect when you see the word forest, but life is all about changing how we see things. The Superstition Wilderness Area within the Tonto National Forest was filled with a variety desert plants and expansive views. Enjoy!

#MondayMotivation - Trail Run?

I’m not a runner, not really.

I haven’t ever run more than a mile at once, and I haven’t done that since high school. I have done the Couch 2 5K for about 4 weeks, before petering out. I’m not a runner, but I’m trying it on for size now.

IMG_0582.JPG

So… I signed up for the LBA - Little Backyard Adventure trail race sponsored and hosted by The Outdoor Society in Olympia, Washington. It is Saturday, August 10 and I’m going to train until then in hopes of coming in better than last place. It’s a simple motivation today - try harder, work for it, and don’t come in last place in August. I’ve already started incorporating little spurts of jogging into my daily dog walks and I don’t hate it.

Observations:

  • My dog maxes out at about 16 minute miles - if we REALLY hustle. He’s more comfortable around 17-20 minute miles. He’s kind of holding me back, but I love him so I’ll have to train separately or just drag him.

  • I am to the where walking fast is more annoying than just running slowly. Yeah, I run slowly, but I am still in the motion and it’s still running.

  • My self-centered notion that people are judging my running ability is just silly. EVEN if they are, who the fuck cares? Not me, from this moment forward anyway.

  • Running on a treadmill is absolute horse shit. I hate it. I was like, why do I hate running? It’s because I did Couch 2 5K on a treadmill and that was the dumbest thing. I mean, not THE dumbest thing, but dumb enough for me. Running outside, though probably slower, is just so much better feeling in my body. I will save the treadmill as a last resort, when it is storming or I am unable to go before triple digit temps for the day.

  • I sweat a lot. I sweat walking through an air conditioned building, but running really soaks me. I’m also coming to terms with the fact that this doesn’t matter either. Re-hydrate and move on, Mike.

As someone WHO never did ANY sport or any fun running, this is kind of cool. I know, so many of you ran in high school or run for health. I just never did, and it is kind of exciting for me. I have a goal, a real motivator, and I’m ready to commit.

#ForestFriday - Arizona

In honor of being in Arizona this weekend…

I haven’t been to many places within Arizona, but I do recall the trees lining the Grand Canyon and think of them as a highlight for my trips there. Here are a few photos from those trips, either in Grand Canyon National Park or Kaibab National Forest. I’m not sure, nor does it matter because the trees are all beautiful. Happy Forest Friday — go find a tree!

#WayBackWednesday - Backpacking

I keep saying that Friday I’m embarking on my first backpacking trip… that’s not ENTIRELY true. Back in 2010, my best bud Kevin and I did a “backpacking” trip (click here to see that post) at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. It wasn’t too far in, about a mile, and we took only regular sized gear as well as beer. It was a nice change of pace from state park camping, and afforded us a quick hike to the beach. All in all, I’d say it was a great intro to overnighting with a backpack. Each time we go to Kevin’s family cabin in Northern Minnesota, we also sort of “backpack” in. We are miles from phone service or actual utilities and we have to take everything by canoe/boat or sled, then on our backs, to the cabin. I was letting the anxiety related to the idea of backpacking get to me, mostly underestimating my own ability to persevere through situations. I am no quitter, I do push through, and once started, I don’t give up. I can’t wait to get to it and hike a few miles (4-5) to a campsite and explore the wilderness in Arizona this weekend.

Enjoy a few photos of previous “backpacking” trips, and know I’m going to call this upcoming weekend my first time because it will be with new people and more than a mile from the car or boat dock.

#MondayMotivation - A Healthier Mike: April 2019 Check-In

Northern lights in our skies
Plants that grow and open your mind
Things that swim with a neon glow
How we all got here, nobody knows
These are real things
These are real things
Oh, what a world, don’t wanna leave
All kinds of magic all around us, it’s hard to believe
— Kacey Musgraves "Oh, What A World"

Quick Stats

Total steps: 363,053

Average daily steps: 12,102

Highest daily steps: 22,851 (April 19)

Lowest daily steps: 7,302 (April 20)

Total miles walked/ran/hiked: 91.22

Total miles hiked: 10.75

Sleep stats: 6 days over 7hrs, 5 days between 6-7hrs, the rest closer to 4hrs

Average daily sleep: 5 hours 9 minutes


Trash Cleanup w/ my friend Jen from Illinois Park Project/Jennythetrailhead.com

The Good

  • Increased total mileage for walks/hikes/jogs from March

  • Daily step average is much higher

  • I exercised EVERY day this month

  • I closed the Apple Watch rings EVERY day this month

  • Hiking mileage is low, but overall mileage is up so I’m okay with this.

  • I managed to exceed April 2018 totals too


The Not-So-Good

  • I didn’t track food for most of the month

  • I likely gained weight

  • I did not sleep well or choose to sleep well at all

  • I haven’t hiked as much as I wanted to

  • I did not commit to jogging or running as much as I wanted to in April

  • Eating out is out of control - budget and body are not happy with my choices


In my happy place on a trail, by a waterfall, in the sunshine.

In my happy place on a trail, by a waterfall, in the sunshine.

Mental Health

  • Improved mental health overall - more happy days than not

  • Still quite insecure about everything

  • I want to take more time to relieve stress

  • I want to sleep more, which will help everything

  • The hikes I did this month, though not many, really helped me love life even more and restored my faith that there are wonderful people and places out there

  • I did not write as much as I could have, but it wasn’t because I avoided it or didn’t need it - I just got caught up in living life.


Thoughts, Notes, Conclusions

  • Pizza just needs to be off limits because I have ZERO self control (this hasn’t changed since February)

  • When I’m feeling drained, I still went for a walk at the very least and it really helped.

  • I need to give up the convenience of eating out and make it convenient to eat at home.

  • I’m going to exercise even more in May.

  • I plan to eat frugally and more healthy in May.

  • Daily mindfulness is great for really centering my stress. The time I set aside for my book really helps me realize it could be worse and it could be better but it doesn’t matter. I need to be here, let shit go, focus on current shit, and be present in life.


April Wins & Goals for May

Winter time at the cabin, off the grid, with my ass in the snow. Good views, good vibes, good beer, good times ahead. #annualtrip
  • Read/Listen to at least 8 books
    (Got 2 listened to, so still going to aim for this again in May)

  • Working on eating better food, drinking less booze, and more water.

  • Take a weekend off of social media
    (didn’t quite get this done, so I’ll aim for this in May)

  • Going to start running more often

  • I increased my days over 10,000 steps from 61% to 83% of the month and thus want to reach that 100% mark in May.

  • More adventurous hikes - I have a few spots in mind out in west Texas
    (Still working on this, need to hike more in May)

  • I want to incorporate longer daily walks and lunch walks.

  • I need to take a mindful break daily with my “Daily Awakening”

  • Read and write daily - more than April

  • Daily walks at least 7 days a week - even if it’s just a mile

  • Hit 100+ miles for hiking, walking, and jogging

  • Jog outside at least twice (obviously the more the better, but the treadmill is fine too)

  • Sign up for the LBA and train for it

  • Eat at home over 50% of the time

  • Start before work walks, jogs, or workouts.

#ForestFriday - Northern Sunshine

I recently flew up to Michigan to visit my family over a VERY quick weekend… we’re talking, I got in Saturday at 1AM and left Monday at 5AM. Crazy quick, but I did get some quality walks in that included being between some trees. The wind through the trees was a welcomed replacement for the CONSTANT traffic noise I live near here in Texas. Enjoy these beautiful, northern trees. Happy Forest Friday!

#MondayMotivation - New pants!

April didn’t quite go as planned as far as leveling off my eating habits, but I did exercise more than March. Hiking was not the main form, but an important part nonetheless. The real winner, which will make hiking even better, is that I found some new pants that fit well and move with me. This is a link to the pants I bought, the Columbia Pilot Peak Pants at rei.com. (this is not a sponsored link or anything of that nature) I just wanted to go on and on about these pants.

IMG_3247.jpg
  • I snagged them on clearance, which means I didn’t pay too much

  • They flex and bend with my body as I climb hills, bend over to pick up trash, or need to maneuver around trees/rocks/etc.

  • They are durable!

  • They are SO comfortable - almost like wearing a lounge pant.

I go on about these because it’s SO difficult to find pants that fit me well. I have plenty of pants and shorts that fit okay, but eventually they just feel annoying. I’m talking, halfway through the first mile of hiking, most pants/shorts feel terrible. These pants from Columbia are a game changer. I’m not the biggest dude, but I’m not athletic build either. I wear a 42-44 waist in most brands, and the length various based on how it fits around my behind. 32 inseam usually works, but sometimes I need a 34. XXL shorts work well, but even some of REI’s shorts and convertible pants fit awkwardly in that size and get uncomfortable as my mileage increases. It’s good to know that Columbia is making pants and shorts that cater to the various body types out there - not just the athletic, outdoorsy dude. I know, most companies go where their business currently is, but I’m thankful for Columbia branching out and encompassing all bodies.

I’m motivated to keep moving and now my body will move freely. I hope to get my hands on some of Columbia’s shorts in the future to test out for the summer months ahead.

Find your comfortable clothes, find your happy place, and get out there!

#MondayMotivation - Illinois Park Project

This past weekend I had the opportunity to join my friend Jen on a hike/cleanup with her passion project called the Illinois Park Project. She created this organization to help the parks of Illinois with their trash, trails, and whatever else they need. You can read all about their mission, ideas, plans, etc on the Illinois Park Project website. If you want to get in touch much faster with them, hit up their social media pages on Facebook and Instagram. If you’re in the Midwest and want to help make a difference, they’ll be doing more cleanups throughout Illinois.

IMG_4859.JPG

I’m promoting and sharing and going on and on about this weekend, this group, the affiliate groups, etc because it was such a motivating and inspirational 48 hours for me. I arrived to low 40 degree weather with the chance of rain and very high winds. I arrived to a parking lot with damn near 10 people ready to make a difference. People came from all over Illinois and I came from Texas because we all believed in the same cause and I am a sucker for a road trip.

It’s easy to say you agree with someone’s idea, or join a virtual group, but when you cement it in person with hugs and actions, it elevates to a whole new level of something else. I’ve only had a handful of experiences that are so deep and motivational, but this one was easily the best.

IMG_4876.JPG

I’m using this high point to motivate myself. I’ve already reached out to my friends about starting a cleanup here and I’m brainstorming. Now that I’ve seen one in action, know what to expect, and know what I want to get out of it, I’m ready. Let’s clean up Texas, y’all. You want in on cleaning up trails, parks, roadways, etc with me? Get in touch.

Side note, I’m going to add some links here of various websites from participants at the cleanup. Check them out if you want, they’re all good people just loving life outside. And, to everyone who was there, I genuinely enjoyed meeting you, connecting, and of course scheming for our next hang out.


IMG_4864.JPG

#MondayMotivation - Happy Birthday Nikki!

Happy Birthday, friend!

It’s my friend Nikki’s birthday today, so we’re going to celebrate her with some good memories! Nikki came into my life in 2012 and I’ve been better for knowing her ever since. Speaking from my view of our friendship, I’d say we connect on a pretty deep level. Beyond the daily happenings and surface shit, we can really get into some real topics. We can talk about the weather, but that’s boring. I like that we dive deep, to the core of everything and explore topics freely without judgment and criticism. Nikki is one of my favorite hiking buddies, road trip buddies, and overall hang out buddies. She is a lot of things - wife, mom, friend, daughter, etc - but she’s human and sees the value in other humans and treating one another with respect and dignity. I wish her a very happy birthday and cheers to many, many more.


Some of my FAVORITE memories (of all time)

This was my first trip to Big Bend. Eric and I drove out earlier in the day and Nikki got off work and hauled ass out there. We camped, we hiked, we drove every main road in that damn park - in one day. It was quite a day!


That time her, Eric, and I went on a Road trip through Petrified Forest, Grand Canyon, Vegas, and then Zion. Something I can’t wait to do again someday!


Nikki’s bachelorette party took us to Austin and was also a birthday celebration for her. What a fun time. We hiked, we partied, and we went home. HA!


One of my favorite hiking buddies - we ford rivers together! (physically and metaphorically)


Thanks for doing fun 5K walks, hikes, and everything else. Keep on keepin’ on! Happy birthday! <3 Me

Gear Forward - Operation Outfit the Scouts

Gear Forward is a wonderful organization that raises money and collects gear (new and used) for kids across the country. Right now, they’re looking to raise money over on their Facebook page for two scout troops that need some stuff. If you can, head over there and throw ‘em so dough. If you can’t donate, but want to help, share their Facebook posts and spread the word! Thank you!

Link to Facebook Fundraiser

Link to Gear Forward’s website - can also donate through the website if Facebook isn’t your thing

Link to Gear Forward’s Facebook page

From the Gear Forward Fundraiser description:

gear-forward-large_6.png

“Troops 1695 and 695 in Uniontown, PA support 20 young boys, and girls who love being outdoors. However, the Troops presently don't own any of their own gear to support the youths desire to go camping on a regular basis. 

The Troops have facilitated programming and camping by borrowing camping gear and supplies from friends, family, and neighbors. Gear Forward is committed to outfitting the next generation of adventurers... but we need your help to do it. 

Gear Forward will be supplying over $2,000 in tents to the two Troops (one boy and one girl troop) in addition Gear Forward will be making a purchase of brand new sleeping bags to assist those youths with a gear deficiency. The funds generated by this fundraiser will assist Gear Forward in the purchase of the camping gear and the shipment of the tents to Pennslyvania in time for the Troops next spring campout. In total the Troops will be receiving over $3,000 in outdoor camping gear from Gear Forward. 

Remember... every donation helps! Help us get and keep these kids outdoors!“

#ForestFriday - Spring?

In Texas, it feels like summer. Reports from friends/family in Michigan say it still feels like winter. Here are a few photos from April of 2009, almost to this exact week, where spring was surely sprung. I hope you find the forest, or the forest finds you. Get out there!

Location: Aman Park (Michigan)

Land of the Odawa and Peoria

#MondayMotivation - Fancy Mixed Nuts

I often lose sight of my goals when I get caught up in the work necessary to achieve them. I constantly forget why I’m doing what I’m doing, so I create lists and trackers to help me along.

One of my goals was to save for a kayak and also drop a few pounds for said kayak. You can buy heavy duty kayaks, but I still wanted to be a little lighter so I could bring a cooler or camping gear along. I’m slowly making my way to the goal, both in saving and losing the weight, and I was reminded of the “WHY” I wanted to do this beyond getting healthier and not adding to my debt. It’s an attainable goal, with no real end date so I’m setting one. I’m going to drop 30 lbs and get the kayak by my birthday this year. Added mini goals to the big goal are to find a way to store the kayak at my apartment and save enough for the car rack and paddle. I have ropes, PFD, and water clothing already. Attack a goal bit by bit, right?

On the topic of goals… I’ve been toying with the idea of doing a trail race. Mind you, I’ve never even run an entire mile in years (decades) or on a trail beyond maybe running up a hill to get it over with. I hike, I jog intermittently, but I haven’t really done much beyond those things. So, if I can whip myself into shape and get in the runner mindset over the next month, before the race registration goes up in cost, I will register. I don’t care if I come in last, I just want to participate and complete one in the near(er) future. I finally participated in a 5K last year, though it was mostly intermittent running. I wasn’t last, and it made me want to do more of them because no one cares how slow or fast you are they’re just worried about themselves and their goals. I think if I get back on the wagon and just start doing it I’ll be able to do the smallest loop of the trail in the course by the August race date. I’m putting this all out there so I remember and so I can have some public accountability. Back on the treadmill this week, unless I get the courage to try the outdoors.

What are some goals you have? Do you lose sight of them or lose track of them if you’re not vigilant? Keep it real—istic. You can do it, people, whatever “it” is.

A NOTE: From the time I came up with the idea for this post (about 9 hours), to the time I finished writing it and posting it, I binge ate a lot of Kirkland fancy mixed nuts. Sigh. I remembered I hadn’t finished this, remembered I had goals, and then went for a walk. On the walk, I regretted the fancy mixed nuts and also the fact that I forgot to write/publish this before going for a walk. Either way, mistakes happen - accidentally or not. It’s all about going with the flow and remembering the goals. Carry on and don’t let a little bit of fancy mixed nuts stop you from your dreams.

#ForestFriday - Along the Coast of Lake Michigan #PureMichigan

Continuing with the theme of the week… Michigan’s lovely coast. These photos are from the summer of 2010, and I’m almost 95% sure it was at the Rosy Mound Natural Area near Grand Haven, Michigan. My memory is a little rusty, but with the dunes in the distance and the Forest Overlook sign, I’m almost sure of it. Either Way, enjoy some coastal forest photos from where I spent the majority of my life.

#WayBackWednesday - Ludington State Park, 2007. #PureMichigan

Back in 2007 some friends and I took a trip to Ludington State Park on Michigan’s west coast. The park sits along Lake Michigan with dunes, trails through the woods, and access to nearby lighthouses. The whole coast of Lake Michigan is amazing, but this little slice is extra nice. If you get the chance to visit Michigan, make sure to travel along the shorelines of the Great Lakes and stop at Ludington State Park.

We lived in nearby Allendale, MI where our college was located so this was an easy little trip for us. We were a bunch of twenty somethings headed camping and we definitely made some memories. The photos I share are from an old camera and are mostly the natural beauty. I didn’t find many photos from our campsite, probably because we were having a real good time.

Spring here in Texas reminds me of summer up in Michigan. The temps are warm enough, the sun is plentiful, and the air is breezy. Here’s to the summer nights of the past and hopefully some in the near future on one of Michigan’s coasts.