I’m not a naturally athletic or active person. I have never been the kind of person that would rather go rock climbing than watch a movie or curl up with a good book. The sporadic success I have had with personal fitness has been a result of hard work and unnatural effort, and probably divine intervention. It is kind of funny that I ended up dating and living with someone who is the complete opposite. Jeff, pictured below, grew up in rural New Hampshire where he spent his childhood mountain biking through the woods, and then spent his college years hiking mountains in Vermont. He backpacked the Long Trail from the Canadian border through Vermont, by himself, and can’t sit still on any given Tuesday.
Jeff and Penny enjoying views at the summit!
For this, and many other reasons, I am happy to have spent the past few years with Jeff. He pushes me to do things I never had the energy to actually go out and do, but was often curious about. I’m coming out of my long blog-writing hiatus to share one of these experiences with you.
Last weekend, I climbed my very first mountain! I’ve been long-harboring a desire to do so, but just hadn’t gotten around to doing it. This is partially due to the fact we’ve been in the flat mid-west for the past two years, and partially because I am lazy. But on Saturday, I finally got my chance! We set out to a small mountain in the Adirondacks in Fort Ann, New York. Side note: as we were heading up there, we passed my old girl scout camp! Now no longer a camp for girl scouts, I was happy to see the old sign still up. I spent many summers there, doing the things that girl scouts do: eating marshmallows, singing annoying songs, and learning how to cook outside. Unfortunately, no mountain climbing skills were learned there.
Sleeping Beauty Mountain is a moderate, 7 mile hike, with an elevation gain of about 1300ft. It is a gradual and steady climb up, but the views are well worth it! From the summit you can see a large portion of Lake George, and on a clear day, a one-hundred mile view of the Green Mountains of Vermont, the White Mountains of New Hampshire, and of course, the Adirondacks. It was well over 80 degrees on our hike up, so we were thankful we remembered water (and bananas for a summit snack!) for us, but especially for Penny. She did exceptionally well and would have run straight up the mountain if we let her. Although, then she probably would have run directly into the timber rattlesnake we saw. That would have been bad!
What did I learn from my first mountain hike? 1. I am in terrible shape. 2. Bring bug spray to the Adirondacks before July, we were blessed with no black fly swarms, but the deer flies were out and very interested in buzzing around my head. 3. I love hiking! And I want to do a lot more of it!
I think it’s important to remember that exercise doesn’t have to be hitting the gym, or signing up for a challenging cross-fit class that you have no interest in. Just being able to get outside, break a sweat, and see something beautiful is enough! Although, hitting the gym will make your beautiful outdoor vertical challenges, much easier. Go enjoy summer (and stay hydrated)!