Yeeehawww!: Part 3

I hike. Now, if you know me in real life you will know that I’m not the most graceful of people—meaning I trip, I fall, I run into things (I think I inherited this from my mother,) but most of the time it’s with a smile on my face followed by laughter, so it’s okay! This trip to West Virginia was no different, my group of new friends and I decided to head to the visitors center and check out the view of the bridge, the river and watch the crazy mid-western tourists snap photos at the vastness of what West Virginia has to offer. Gawking at the elevation change and how different it is from the cornfields of Illinois.

It had just rained I was sporting some sandals and walking down stairs, chatting and taking in the view. One of the guys was talking about how he just read that this bridge could fit two Washington Monuments, a Statue of Liberty AND still have twenty feet of space between it and the water! CRAZY! I thought, then BAM!!! I slid down four steps (my only shock absorber being my ass), grabbing onto whatever I could (mostly the people around me) everyone turned to look and see me, on my ass, laughing and crying at the same time. Awesome, a new bruise to add to my collection.  I won’t post the picture, it’s pretty gruesome and a bit PG-13.

That was my first hike of the week in WV. With the injury out of the way I was confident that my hike down the Kaymoor trail would be less eventful and more relaxing. Saturday morning of the Rendezvous my co-worker and I set off to hike down the 837 stairs and tromp down to the river. This was the easy part, a leisurely walk down, hang at the river, eat a few clementines and dunk my head in the swift water to cool off and revitalize my curls. Then our venture back up came, tired from the sun and legs shaky from the hike down, we began the 837 stairs back to the car.

I counted. I counted each step. One may think they are in good shape, you can think this all you want until you’re in the position where you have to move your body UP STAIRS FOR 837 steps, who thought this was a good idea?! But the accomplishment when it was over was overwhelming. This was a hike that was not only good for the body, but we had rewards at both ends—the way down we took our time, taking pictures, watching a millipede crawl across a branch was fascinating for a good 35 minutes, the river had a cool breeze coming off it, we watched rafters enjoy the day on the river and the hike up left me feeling tired and accomplished and there was an iced mocha calling my name at the local coffee shop!

I realized that even though I had been injured for weeks I was still in decent enough shape to use my body, bruised and all, to move myself up up and up!  Our bodies are incredible, they allow us to see, feel and experience so much—releasing endorphins can be as easy as climbing a few (hundred) stairs and enjoying the afternoon on a river.

 

What’s your favorite way to release some killer endorphins?

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Yeeeeehaw Parte Dos (because sometimes I speak Spanish)

I run. In the woods I feel like an animal. My kind of trail running isn’t a path with woods on either side, it isn’t a paved bike lane along some river—my kind of trail run is a narrow path that forces me to engage both my feet and my mind; and in turn my heart and my soul are engaged just as much.

West Virginia is known for some epic trails, hiking and mountain biking—from our camp site there was a small trail that was meant for a walk or a hike, measuring, according to the sign, 1.1 miles—not far at all. But if you remember, I’ve been out for 12ish weeks and any kind of run was going to satisfy my itch to ‘float’ over rock and root. I set out to run, I ended up running, walking and absorbing the woods for all they had to offer.

Imagine a field full of tents, music blasting from across the field and then enter the woods and there is literally a line you can cross that shuts all that off. Your senses shift and change as you approach a bridge that lets you cross a stream. You walk over  the wooden bridge and it’s like someone hit the ‘mute’ button on reality and turned the volume up on a nature—this is exactly what happened. The only sounds after I crossed the bridge were chipmunks leaping out of the way, a few birds and my labored breathing. The 1.1 mile loop had an ‘approach’ and the real loop was .8 miles—short but tough. Hills, mud that made me slip up and down hill, roots, branches and logs to leap over…this was the trail running you see in a The North Face advertisement. I vow to never stop exploring and press on through the loop 1, 2, 3, 4 times. Solid.

For the first time I was wearing a pair of shoes that are considered ‘barefoot’ for their intended purpose on the trail. I’d never worn them in the woods, these shoes connected me, forced me to feel the earth under my feet and allowed it to radiate up my body and pulse through my blood. As I finished my run I had nothing but a grin on my face and sweat dripping all over my body, (WV is hot and humid when it wants to be.) I emerged from the woods to see my new friends grinning back, Alan, Lauren, Josh, Adam and Steve—they could sense the joy I was feeling and were rearranging their cars, ready to go hike and climb and inviting me to do the same. Even if there had been time for a shower there wasn’t one available; this was the beginning of my showerless week. I washed my face, threw on some yoga pants and joined them to explore WV some more.

 

Yeeehaww!!

Yeeeehaw! Part One

Sorry. I’ve been busy prancing, dancing, dipping, climbing and frolicking in the woods of West Virginia the past 8 days. I guess that’s a good thing, right? Right! I have been adventures to express and I know that I hate reading big, long articles so I’m going to break my escapades into a few different sections—Part One: I climb.

I was invited to join the crazy fun climbers of the New River Rendezvous in Fayetteville, WV (if you ever get the chance to go, please do!) I went out a day early to meet up with some [now] friends and climb some rock and camp out. Alan and his buddies were more than welcoming, all week I hung out with Lauren, Josh, Adam and Steve (not the Adam and Steve from Parker Posey’s sorta comedic gay comedy Adam and Steve, these guys were totally straight and not as crazy as the movie.) Later more friends joined us and cooked some fabulous meals, I’m convinced I eat better when camping out than I do when I’m actually home to cook for myself.

Again, I have to state that climbers are probably the most welcoming group of athletes I have ever met. As the festival kicked off and more and more people began to pitch tents we got to know our neighbors and I had the joy of climbing with a guy I soon nick named Balloo, (only because he was as big as a bear and I caught him scratching his back on a tree halfway through our approach to the rock,) and two other dudes from Florida that were making their way north and thought they’d check out The New, (that’s what people from WV call The New River Gorge…I’m basically a local now.) Our climb was short lived because the rock was wet and a bit slick, but I made it about half way up, the entire way getting tips and encouragement from those guys below me—it’s truly a great feeling when people you hardly know are just as stoked as you are when you get over a hard part.

After a few top roping attempts (and successes thanks to my supportive new friends that wouldn’t let me quit!) my climbing fix was satisfied and I’ve caught the bug. I’m not sure when I’ll be back out, but between my previous trip to Oregon and this trip to West Virginia I’m super excited to get back out, grow stronger and see where this new sport can take me. I want to be a part of this great community that is so willing to share the awesomeness of the rock. With such support and enthusiasm it’s impossible to not be excited about being in nature, harnessed in with a friend below keeping you safe and shouting tips and tricks so that you can reach your goal!

More to come about West Virginia soon! Yeeeehawwww!