Monday, April 14, 2014

Springtime Renewal


Am I the only woman out there that has the hardest time with spring? While all my friends are enjoying the sunshine and planning trips to the beach, I find myself in the midst of an existential organizational crisis. The beautiful weather fills me with the overwhelming need to clean, organize, purge, dust, and all in all, make things fresh. I cannot sit still for the urge to renovate and renew.

It is for this reason that each spring, I have to remind myself that in the midst of all of this energy, I need to remember to focus some of that energy inwards. In other words, these beautiful days are also the perfect time to dust off spiritually. What is the best way to do that?

Walking meditation.

In Trail Dames, we have several leaders that host Meditation Hikes. These are hikes in which we walk quietly, focusing on being present with the sights, sounds and smells of growth. Often we will gather for a guided group meditation, focusing on a particular thought, like gratitude, acceptance or joy.
Often, however, I will find myself doing walking meditations all by myself. Sometimes I chose to concentrate on my breath….inhaling and exhaling with purpose and intent, while other times I will chose a mantra to repeat over and over as I walk. I am open to love, and opportunity is one of my favorites, along with 'I am enough.' That one always resonates with me. Finally, when I need to just clear my mind, I rely on the simplicity of rhythm and numbers. Counting to four with each step, over and over, can work wonders with stilling the chatter and movement of the mind. Spring brings with it such a sense of energy and rebirth that it can be easy to get swept away with it, stepping outside of ourselves and dancing with abandon. Enjoy this dance and joy of the season, but remember to stay connected to what is within. What better way to do that then hiking with purpose, surrounded by the smell of wisteria and the sound of birdsong?

Go for a walk……and enjoy your spring!

Anna Huthmaker
www.traildames.com

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Monday, March 17, 2014

Where There's a Will...


Earlier this week, someone asked me to write about ‘getting back up on the horse again after you have fallen’.  I thought back to one of the greatest personal disappointments that I have gone through….a time when I was disappointed and let down by myself.  Not another person, friend or family member, not a life circumstance or the conflicting belief system of someone I respect.  Just me….letting down me. 

I have always believed that a person can do anything on pure will alone and it was this will that led me to try hiking the 2,173 mile long Appalachian Trail.   Dressed in my finest JunoActive clothing, I left home and started hauling my five foot tall, 262 pound body up and down the mountains of the A.T.  
After six months and 600 miles, I found myself in New Hampshire. As the trail became steeper and harder, I never doubted myself once. I knew that I could do this!! So when I hit the White Mountains, you can imagine my surprise to find that I slowed to a snail’s pace, rocks and boulders forcing my short legs to take one giant step after another. Finally, the day came when I hiked for over 8 hours, only traveling 2.4 miles.  I realized that I could not move fast enough.  I did not have enough food to last me to the next resupply point. The strength of my will could not overcome the short fallings of my body. My will had failed me.

I left the AT on an unmarked trail and later found myself in a sterile hotel room. I lay on the bed, unable to even take a shower, immersed in a cloud of failure. It took me three days to get up the courage to get back out on the trail and three years of traveling, and hiking to chase most of the self-doubt and fear away.  In the end, I decided to take my experience and create an organization to inspire women to get outdoors.  That was seven years, ten chapters, 3,000+ members and three National conferences ago.  So maybe it turns out that my will was enough after all. :)

As winter is drawing to a close and you feel the pull of spring to get out there and do something, keep these things in mind.  Your body has limits, but your will is what will carry you on. And if you let it, that spark might just lead you down a completely unexpected path. 


Anna Huthmaker
www.traildames.com

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Gina Climbing For A Cause


Gina Parsley took on Mt. Kilimanjaro as part of Team Fox, a Michael J Fox Foundation fundraiser. Last year she was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease. She felt inspired to fulfill a lifelong dream, climb to the top of the mountain, saying "While I'm still healthy and able, I may not always be." Hearing about her adventure we at JunoActive asked Gina all about her climb.

What happened that was unexpected?
"Oh, I have so many stories. I did not make it all the way to the summit, but I made it as far as the snow and ice, and that was my goal. One morning, I forgot sunscreen and got full-on sun poisoning and massive blisters in 30 minutes. The equator is a scary place that way!! The weather is 90 degrees at the bottom and 0 at the top. You go through 5 ecosystems. It's an experience of a lifetime."

Would you recommend climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro to just anyone or should the climber be physically fit?
"Depends on the route you take, and if you are determined to summit. To summit, you need to be in decent shape and be able to climb quickly. I was a slower climber, and the phrase they use is "Pole Pole" which means 'slowly slowly'."
"Your gear means everything. Bring the best, top of the line gear you can, including clothing, because you won't be able to change every day. Chafing is a huge issue on multi-day climbs, the JunoActive double-layer shorts were great, and the Danskin leggings I've had for years worked great for layering underneath sweats when it would get below 0 at night."

What would you do differently next time you climb a mountain?
"I think with every trip, prep more. I'd take the slower, less ambitious route up to the summit. I'd add several days to my trip to be able to do a multi-day safari."

We heard you have a 3-in-1 Alpine ski jacket from JunoActive.com Did you use it on your climb?
"I did! I wore the inner fleece almost every day and night (including sleeping in it) and wore the outer shell as needed (it did get very windy on the mountain). Buff headwear? EVERY outdoor shop should carry. a fresh one every day, fresh underwear and fresh socks were the key to not feeling icky without a shower for so long."
Way to go Gina! Your ambitious climb may not have ended at the top of a mountain but your journey is inspiring to all women of any size to be active. Keep on embracing your active life.

To see more pictures and hear all about Gina's climb visit her blog at http://www.ginaclimbskili.blogspot.com/

Friday, February 14, 2014

Puerto Rico Just Say Yes!


Last August my traveling buddy called and said, cheap flights to Puerto Rico in February—want to go?  “Sure!”  She’s one of my role models, because her philosophy of life it to just say “Yes!”

My Puerto Rican dream was to test-drive a Paso Fino horse.  The Island of Vieques has many descendents of these famous Spanish horses grazing freely.   The women at the Espenanza Riding Company took me on a great little ride; through town, up to the highlands for an amazing view, along a dry arroyo, and finally along a secluded beach fringed with coconut trees.  My steed, Zorro, was very sweet.  I loved his natural Paso gait!  It was so smooth, like a little sewing machine.  Their short stride makes these strong little guys amazingly sure-footed.  We let the two horses run up the last hill – and he was fast! 

I really loved Puerto Rico.  There are so many environments, rain forests, desert forests, coffee highlands, and of course, amazing beaches.  Beatiful Art Museums, and wonderful history and architecture.  We heard unprompted from many people we spoke with that they are concerned about the schools. Families are forced to send their high schoolers off the island so they can get ready for college.  The economy is struggling, so many well-educated people are leaving to find jobs off the island.    

The people we met were uniformly wonderful.  We drove a lot on the twisty roads, and when we got lost we received friendly help from everyone we asked, even with our limited Spanish.  And the food is amazing! 


If you are thinking about Puerto Rico, my recommendation?  Just say “Yes!”

Monday, January 6, 2014

A Fresh Start for Fun

It is that time again. Time for a fresh start, a new year, and a new pile of resolutions. This year,  my resolution is to have more fun. In fact, I resolve not just to have more fun, but to be more fun. And I think I have figured out exactly how to do that! 

We had our annual Trail Dames Christmas Party a couple of weeks ago, and one of the things we did was play silly games.  Fun games like seeing who could wrap a gift faster using only one hand.  Kind of cheesy, right? Well, the BEST game ever involved smearing Vaseline all over your face and then sticking your head in a bowl of cotton balls. The person with the best ‘Santa Beard’ when it was all said and done won. 

The thing is, the world is divided into two kinds of people……those who sit and watch these games, and those who jump up and say, “Pick me!  I will be glad to smear Vaseline all over my face!!” 
Which person has more fun?  Which person leaves the party grinning, picking cotton out of her hair and saying, “That was awesome!!”? It is the woman that is not afraid.  She is not afraid to act like a kid again….to be silly….and to look a little foolish around the edges. She is the person who feels joyful and free and full of laughter.  She laughs louder, dances goofier and has a great sense of humor in regards to herself and what other people think. That is the most fun person in the room. 


I resolve to be more fun this year.  I will roll down hills, jump on trampolines, and yes, even throw my face into a bowl of cotton.  It is going to be a great year!

Winner!
Blog Submitted by
Anna Huthmaker, 
Founder of Trail Dames

Monday, December 16, 2013

Project Bendypants is a Plus Size Snow Bunny

Junonia Clothing Review, Snow Bunny Anorak Ski Jacket

This review will convince you that you probably need a new winter jacket even if you do not live in the Minnesota tundra.
Thanks Project Bendypants! You look so cute in your new Snow Bunny Jacket.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Holiday Plus Size Ski Tips By TheSkiDiva

This week we are visited by Wendy Clinch, TheSkiDiva.com, the leading online community for women who ski. She gives us some tips for enjoying Holiday Skiing this year. And don't forget to pickup your plus size ski jacket at JunoActive.com

How to enjoy holiday skiing.

For a lot of people, Christmas Week isn't complete without skiing. You're off from work, the fam is all together, and besides, you have those vacation days you have to use up. Nonetheless, this isn't the easiest time to be out on the mountain. There are loads of like-minded individuals who are going to be there, too. But if you're determined to ski this week, there are a few things you can do to make it more fun:
Start early: I know it's vacation time. But really, the earlier you start skiing, the better the snow. So while a lot of people are still in bed nursing their hangovers, make an effort to be out there when the lifts start spinning. Really, you get out of bed early for work and that's a heck of a lot less fun. I know you can do it.
Dress for the weather: This seems so basic, but it’s something a lot of people forget. If you’re not dressed properly, you won’t want to ski. So choose a jacket that’s warm, windproof, and waterproof. Dress in layers. Don’t wear cotton baselayers or socks (when they get wet, they stay wet. And that can make you even colder). And if you do get cold, take a break, go inside, and have some hot chocolate. That’s nice, too.
Lock your skis: Don't let the beautiful surroundings lull you into a false sense of security. Yes, there are some nasty characters around, and yes, they have their eye on your skis. Well, on anyone's skis for that matter. I can't fathom how these sleazebags get their jollies making off with someone else's equipment, but somehow they do. Ebay is full of them. So if you're going into the lodge, lock up your equipment. You'll save yourself a lot of pain, and maybe put the sleazies out of business.
Bring your lunch: Unless you have a hankering for a hamburger that tastes like cardboard and is made from God knows what, this is really the way to go. Food at ski resorts doesn't just taste bad, it can cost a small fortune. So bring your own, save big bucks, and eat a lot healthier.
Try the singles line: If you need a break from your friends and family, this is definitely the faster way to get up the mountain. Besides, you never know who you'll end up on the lift. Hey, it could be Brad Pitt under that face mask!
Leave plenty of time: For EVERYTHING. Renting equipment, buying lift tickets, parking. It's all going to take longer, especially if you have kids. Recognize this. Embrace it.  If you do, it'll keep your blood pressure down.
Have Fun: This seems so basic, but a lot of people forget to enjoy themselves, especially since skiing during the holidays can be full of frustrations -- the lift lines, the crowds on the slopes (I don't need to go on, do I?). Realize there are lots of things you can't control, and decide at the outset that you're going to have a good day. Your attitude can make a big difference not just in your own enjoyment, but in the enjoyment of those around you. Keep your cool, revel in the moment, and remember, it’s just skiing.
'Tis the season and all that. Peace, love, and happy holidays.
Wendy Clinch

Be sure to visit TheSkiDiva.com, an online community especially for women skiers, where women skiers can connect with one another to talk about everything and anything ski-related.

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