Down and Out

Well, after avoiding it for a couple of seasons, the cold/flu bug finally caught up with me. It hit me hard and has had me down and out for the past few days. I hate missing gym days, but sometimes you just have to know when to lay down and get better. I am finally feeling about 80% today, so will be heading back to work tomorrow. I may even try to get in a little gym time, but I will for sure be taking it easy for, at very least, the rest of the week.

Since I haven’t been doing a whole lot of working out the past few days, I guess it is a perfect time to get you caught up on the rest of my Montana adventure!

Monday: We went snowshoeing! If you have never been, let me tell you, it is one heck of a workout! We hiked along a ridge in the mountains to THIS beautiful view. I don’t remember the name of the area where we were, but it was in one of the many parks there.

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The snow was so deep and crisp! There is something so fascinatingly beautiful to me about fresh snow-covered ground. I can smell when it’s about to snow. I always go outside during the first snow of the year — to me, it’s still magical!

ImageMy dad is a pretty awesome photographer!

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And this may or may not be what happens when you try to walk backwards in snowshoes! Can you believe how deep the snow is?! In this part of the hike, it was easily waist deep. I have never been in powder that deep.

Tuesday: Was my sister’s birthday!!!! Happy Birthday, Sis!!! We trekked up to Helena, MT to hike a little mountain that was a

Imagerelatively easy summit. After snowshoeing the day before, and driving from Great Falls, I was starting to get a feel for how different each trail and range in Montana truly feels. Having really only visited the Smoky Mountains or the Colorado Rockies previously, I had no idea that different ranges in the same area could have a completely different feel! In Montana the most certainly do.

The hike to the top of Helena was a little more harrowing than snowshoeing the day before. the trail was steep and narrow in some places.

Again, the view at the end of the hike was well worth the journey…

ImageAnd I was even able to get this pretty awesome shot of me on top of the mountain! (One of my goals for this year is to perfect Dancer’s Pose, so that next time I hike here, I can get the perfect pic…I’m not quite there yet, but still a pretty nifty photo!)Image

Wednesday: We had to take my parents to the airport. 😦 After two days of hiking all over, we were pretty worn out (and so was Fred – my sister’s dog!) so we decided to make it a low-key sister day. My sister asked me for a few ideas on how to use the stability ball and resistance bands she had gotten for Christmas, so we did the workout below together! (Yea, thought you were getting out of a workout since I was sick, huh!?)Displaying 2014-01-06_11-16-51_661.jpg

Tabata 1: (0:20/0:10)

  • Split Squat Jumps
  • Burpees
  • Jumping Jacks

Strength w/ Stability Ball

  • Bulgarian Split Squats
  • Ball Wall Squats
  • Hamstring Curls w/ Stability Ball (For these, lie on your back with calves across the stability ball and butt off the ground. Using hamstrings, roll the stability ball towards you.)

Tabata 2: (0:20/0:10) x3

  • Plank Reaches
  • Up, up / Down, downs

Strength w/ Stability Ball

  • Pike Push-ups
  • Crunches on Stability Ball
  • Ball Plank (Elbows on stability ball)

Tabata 3: (0:20/0:10) x2

  • Skaters
  • Squat Jumps
  • Plie Squat Hops

Strength w/ Resistance Bands

  • Chest Flyes
  • Shuffle Squats (Shuffling in squatted position with resistance band wrapped around thighs.)
  • Tricep Push Downs

After that, my sister was pretty much ready to murder me! I think I made up for it with a mini-shopping extravaganza and sushi dinner outing. Then we went to a bar called the Sip’N’Dip, which has been featured in GQ magazine. Going in, it seems like just an average hole-in-the wall casino bar…

…but this kinda makes a big difference!

Thursday: Was my last hiking day in Montana…so, of course, we had to try to hit EVERYTHING (<- not possible). First stop, the Buffalo Jump.

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It was so wild in Montana that the landscape went from plains to HUGE mountain plateau instantly. It was very neat. After visiting First Peoples Buffalo Jump, I can definitely see how the early people could have hunted buffalo by leading the herds off the cliff.

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 Our next hike was by far my favorite — Tower Rock! Image

The actual trail for this park ends right at the base of the rock face, but you can hike up the valley (which is actually super-duper steep) or along the ridge to get to the crest of the mountain. Since there’s not a marked trail, it is kinda a “hike at your own risk,” and there was definitely an element of risk involved. But the adventure and the view were beyond incredible. In fact, I think I will let the pictures speak for themselves on this one.

ImageThere’s a huge mountain goat!

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DSCN1320

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This is what we hiked up and down to get to that amazing view…

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It was every bit worthwhile. I am hoping to do this one again over the summer!

Friday: SNOWBOARDING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We went to Teton Pass, which has made me see virtually no purpose in snowboarding in Ohio. Real powder is so much more fun than Ohio’s ice! And props the Teton overall — the people were so incredibly nice! The kitchen offered to make me a special lunch since I was a vegetarian, and virtually everyone stopped to say hello to my sister and introduce themselves to me. It was a bit of a journey to get to (the only road to the mountain is a gravel pathway), but the mountain was well worth it. It was a little windy…actually, a lot windy. In fact, they actually had to close down the entire mountain for about an hour due to the high winds. But it snowed all day, and we were making fresh tracks through powder the whole time.

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Teton, we will meet again

Well, that’s all until my next adventure! I am already planning to head back to Montana. I had so much fun. Experiences like this trip are part of the reason I work so hard to maintain good health. For as long as I am on this Earth, I want to be able to access and experience the beauty that has been placed around us. It never ceases to amaze and awe me. It makes me so grateful to be who and where I am, each and every moment.

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