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Posts tagged ‘Outdoor fun’

Another Adventure Recap – White Water Rafting

This update is super delayed, but the weekend after Father’s Day, my wonderful boyfriend and I took my father on a white water rafting trip (along with a bunch of my wonderful boyfriend’s fun coworkers). We went down the Kennebec River in northern Maine (almost Canada) with a company called Northern Outdoors and got the trip 50% off thanks to CBS Local (similar to LivingSocial and Groupon). I really think this is shaping up to be my summer of mini-adventures and I’m quite digging it.

It was just the beginning of the heat wave, so it was a beautiful 80°. At the lodge, before the trip, they reviewed the supplies they offered for rent. They started with a paddle jacket, suggesting most people would rent that (if anything). The chest part was wet suit material while the sleeves were a light and flexible material (similar to real wind-breaker). They showed the wet suit jacket and booties for your feet. They also showed the bottoms of the wetsuit, which I think they called the “farmer john.” They said “unless you had 0% body fat, you won’t need the ‘farmer john.’ Oh and the water is 51°. Thanks for listening.”

It was the 51° degrees part that really resonated with us. We’ve been on this trip before, so we knew that during the rafting, everyone in the boat would get wet. And we knew there were multiple parts of the river you could get out of the boat and float down the river yourself.  I hate to be cold, it’s completely miserable and you can’t do much about it. As someone who also enjoys alpine skiing in the winter, I have learned that if you have too much clothing, you can always take it off until you’re more comfortable. It was worth it to us to spend the $10 and get the paddle jackets and the farmer johns.

This was during lunch on the river. You can see T’s farmer johns, the top of mine are folded down.

Very few people made that choice, and there were probably about thirty 20-something-year-old girls in bikinis on the trip who spent the entire day freezing and miserable. Especially because even the air felt cooler on the river.

We’re carrying the boat down to the river at the beginning of the day. Here you can see our full outfits with the jacket and the farmer johns. I’m second from the left, my dad is third from the left, and guide Dave is on the right.

The day was gorgeous! Everyone in our boat got a chance to sit up front, even me. The last time we went (last fall with T’s family – it was FREEZING!) I had no interest in sitting in the front and I never did. I didn’t really have any interest in sitting in the front this time either, but my dad insisted. He was totally right, you get the best view. And it’s not that the view from the second seat is much different. It’s just that the front person sets the pace, the second+ person needs to get in sync and pay attention to someone else’s rhythm. The front person can spend that extra brain power looking at the river instead of looking at the paddle in front of them.

So glad that T has a waterproof camera! (and he’s good at taking “selfies”) Here we are floating down the river (nice and warm in the wetsuits).

My wonderful boyfriend, T, told me that this is a pretty unique style of white water rafting and you won’t find it everywhere in the country. For example, one of his coworkers, Jenn spent her honeymoon in Pennsylvania and one of the days they went white water rafting. But they didn’t even have a guide in their boat. They was just one guide with the entire trip. I’m going to guess their river was a little safer. Our guide, Dave (who was in the boat the entire time and was in charge of steering), had to guide us around things like the “kayak keeper”: a set of rocks that created a cycle of spinning water that could literally drag a kayak down below the surface for good. Or he had to avoid “unemployment rock.” Inches before unemployment rock looks like some really sweet white water, but 6 inches past the rapid is a giant bolder, doing a nice job of staying hidden, but completely dry. It’s called unemployment rock because if a guide steers his boat that way… he’ll be on the unemployment line in a hot second. There are lots of things like that to this river, things you might not notice if you didn’t know what you were doing. I can’t imagine doing a river without a guide with me. Plus, the Northern Outdoors staff are all funny and very knowledgable about the area.

We had a super time! And I’m hoping to do a more challenging river this fall. 

Here my dad, Jenn, and her husband, Keith enjoy the last bit of “white water”. The photo was slightly staged… until they got spashed… those faces of surprise are real!

 Unfortunately, we weren’t able to take any pictures during the actual rapids, but it was super awesome and I would totally recommend this to anyone!


How I Found Running

Last weekend, I finally realized why and how I became a runner. I haven’t done much running all winter, but as soon as a nice day rolled around, I was out there again! And I think I finally realized why I find running so appealing despite the fact that I’m not athletic!

Here are things I already knew:

  • I’m pale… like blindingly pale. I shed tears of joy the first time I saw SPF 90 for sale in the grocery store (I know, everyone tells me that anything over SPF 30 doesn’t do anything more than SPF 30, and that may be true for normal people, but SPF 90 totally rocks when you’re clinically pale!) I have  never had a tan in my entire life… but I’m pretty familiar with sunburns! I’m that person on the beach wrapped in sheet for protection. Yep, that’s me, nerd city, sitting next to my friends with ancestors from closer to the equator, and they are tanning and enjoying the sun. Meanwhile, I’m usually afraid I smell like bacon: roasting, sizzling, and scorching. My point? You will never see me just laying in the sun…

    Do you hear a choir of angels singing? I do!

  • I don’t like to garden. Dirt under my nails just makes me unhappy. Plus, I chronically kill house plants. Luckily, my wonderful boyfriend is a total green thumb and rescues plants from me. Example: one year a sweet co-worker bought me a little poinsettia… on my desk, all the leaves fell off. I brought it home, and now, years later, it’s a ginormous bush thanks to T.
  • I’m not really outdoorsy –
  • Or coordinated! (team sports have never been a shining activity for me)

But last summer, I really wanted to find a way to enjoy being outside… and somehow running/walking came to mind. I live near a lovely running path… and I own sneakers…

And that’s how I found running. And really, I think I enjoy running because it’s a chance for me to be outdoors and in the shade! And I can run past bugs instead of being swarmed/bothered by them.

The weather in New England was crazy (unseasonably) nice last week and I got to run outside again. You may have noticed, if you’re a regular reader, that I’m not a serious runner. I don’t focus much on becoming a better runner, I just go out for the fun of being outside. I don’t own a fancy watch, in fact I don’t run with a watch at all. I don’t do intervals or focus on training (but I slightly envy people who do), I’ll occasionally do fartleks though (which means “speed play” in Swedish, and always makes me giggle like a second grade boy)… which just means I’ll run faster over the bridges because it seems like a good idea and I run by the Charles River so there are lots of little bridges over squishy terrain. I have never thought much about serious races. I will never be a marathon runner, in fact, I have never even thought a half marathon was in my future.

But I went out on Sunday with hours left of sunlight to just do what I felt like. The first 2 miles were rough, so I walked 1/4 of a mile afterwards, and the running after that felt much better, more natural. And I just kept going… I came home and mapped my walk. The first map said it was 13.25 miles! I wasn’t sure if I believed it, so I mapped it again. The second time said 10.4. Now I don’t know which to believe, but I’m still proud of myself. I’d like to think I ran a half marathon purely to enjoy a Sunday afternoon, but to be on the safe side, I think I should stick with the 10.4. Either way, I’m super proud of myself. I may be slow, but it turns out that I’m willing to at least “go the distance!”

Sadly though, because the leaves haven’t filled in yet, my face was rocking a pretty sweet sunburn (within the first mile). But, I had just bought a bunch of new songs on iTunes to add to my running playlist! My running playlist is now up to 2 1/2 hours and I listened to the entire list! I’m pretty psyched about those new songs!

I can’t wait for summer running!

A lovely thought, but my path is MUCH more tree-laden.

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