Saturday, June 29, 2013

Making the Changes Last, Part Four: Pinning Your Undies to the Outside of Your Pack

After we returned from the Camino, I wrote a list of Ten Truths.  One of those truths, number 8, is this: Sometimes you just have to get through the day with your underwear pinned to the outside of your pack.

This truth is vital, it's one of the most important truths of all.  Sometimes, in spite of your preparation and attention and hard work, things don't go as planned (the washed undies don't dry overnight) and you have to keep moving with your vulnerabilities hanging out for the world to see.  This happens.  A lot.  To everyone.

One can, of course, hide the undies.  One can ball them up and stuff them somewhere where others can't detect them...but then they won't dry at all...and you'll regret your bashfulness when you put them on later.  No, it's better to bite the bullet and dry them on the back of your pack.  Sure, it's embarrassing, and yes, some people will make comments.  But so what.  Such is life.

At least you'll stay humble.

Humility is crucial.  It's why I believe this truth is so important.  Humility is what makes the day pleasant.  Our own humility...and the humility of others.

We've all come across people who present themselves as experts on this, that, or the other.  Such folks parade their opinions as facts on internet forums, Facebook pages, newspaper articles, and/or blog posts.  Arming themselves with nothing more than a sliver of experience in any one subject, they deliberately portray themselves as gurus in an effort to boost their own self-esteem.  They shout their opinion at you as though it is fact, and they verbally attack and insult anyone who dares challenge their so-called authority.

We've all also been the unfortunate victims of our own ridiculous egos.  Ever had an argument with someone and, halfway through, realize most of the blame actually falls on your own shoulders?  Ever refuse to acknowledge your mistakes out of pride or fear of looking weak?  Ever claim to be the best at anything -- anything at all?

Such pride and egotism make life uncomfortable for everyone.  Humility is key.  We all seriously need to walk a few days with our underwear pinned to the outside of our packs.  I think that might solve most of the world's problems.

While we can't force humility on others, we can recognize arrogance when we see it and refuse to listen to or acknowledge those who pretend (or actually and unfortunately believe) they are better than others.  We can also habitually recognize our own shortcomings and mistakes.  We can acknowledge that, in spite of our best efforts, we are not perfect, we do not have all the answers, and we will inevitably look profoundly goofy to others every now and then.

The following is a (non-inclusive) list of the idiotic things I did during the past few weeks.  I expose all of this knowing full well each and every one of you commits equally stupid acts from time to time.  We're all human.  May as well laugh at our own foibles and keep our egos in check.

I accidentally started the electric mixer while still assembling the blades (always keep an appliance unplugged until you are ready to use it!).

I sent an email asking questions about my fireplace to the organizer of Peaks Foundation instead of my local contractor.

I fussed at my kids for losing a toy, then remembered that I was the one who took it out of the house (I apologized).

I wore a shirt backward without realizing it for half a day.

I cut a small tree limb while standing directly beneath can guess what happened when it fell...

I don't mind admitting all these things because I personally witness other humans committing equally bone-headed acts each and every day. 

Wouldn't the world be a better place if, instead of trying to pump ourselves up in the eyes of others, we habitually announced and laughed at our own imperfections?  In owning up to our own ridiculousness, wouldn't we come to a better understanding, appreciation -- and, counterintuitively, respect -- of each other?

I think so.  But that's just my opinion.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

ParaVival Paracord Survival Bracelet -- WINNER!

Congratulations to Michelle Rueff, winner of our ParaVival Paracord Survival Bracelet drawing!  Michelle was one of 24 people interested in receiving the free bracelet; her name was pulled from a hat Monday morning.

Michelle, I'll be in contact with you soon.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tuesday Trip Report: The Tripyramids (North and South Slides). June 21, 2013

Livermore Trail, Tripyramid Trail.  11 miles, 3000 feet elevation gain.

The girls and I had been trying to do this hike for weeks; every time a Friday rolled around, the forecast called for thunderstorms.  This is not the kind of hike one should attempt in wet or dangerous weather, so we had to wait for a bluebird day.  That day turned out to be June 21.

Samantha and her friend Nate came with us on this one.  We were happy to have their company. 

Livermore Trail is relatively flat and easy-going.  Our day's first few miles went by quickly.

The hike doesn't get steep until the Tripyramid Trail.  Up we went, toward the North Slide...

Base of the North Slide...

Up, up we go!  Yes, the hike really is this steep -- hands are often needed.
Near-vertical section...

Rest break near the top of that vertical section...we couldn't sit still for too long, unfortunately...the black flies were out in force.

Up, up, up...

Quick break...

At the top of the slide, the trail heads into the trees...

...and quickly reaches the wooded summit of North Tripyramid.

Onward, toward Middle Tripyramid...

It's not a real hike unless there's mud or blood...

There's only a few tenths of trail between each of the Tripyramid summits.  We were at the viewpoint of Middle in no time.

View from Middle Tripyramid...

Up a little ways to South Tripyramid...

The humble summit of South Tripyramid.

The top of the South Slide is about a tenth of a mile or so down from the summit.

Down we went...


Back in the trees!

Our time for this hike was 7 hours and 45 minutes.  We barely stopped for breaks since the bugs were ruthless.  Neither DEET nor the organic stuff helped a bit.  'Twas a great hike, though, thanks to the stellar views and good company. 

Friday, June 21, 2013

Making the Post-Camino Changes Last, Part Four: Pin Your Undies to the Outside of Your Pack

Edit -- 6/24/2013

Part Four of Making the Post-Camino Changes Last will be delayed one week.  We had a slew of house-related emergencies the past couple of days that required my full attention.  Everything is almost under control this morning...we're still without hot water, though.  Arg...I blame it all on the supermoon.

The girls and I climbed a couple of our favorite mountains last Friday.  I'll have a full trip report tomorrow morning.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Guest Post: Marcy Light

I'm thrilled to introduce my first guest blogger, Marcy Light.

Marcy's the dynamic lady behind (Don't Be) Too Timid and Squeamish, the down-to-earth, inspirational blog that encourages people to challenge their personal limits.  I've been a follower of Marcy's blog for over a year, and it's a pleasure to host her writing on Trish, Alex, and Sage.

In the paragraphs below, Marcy writes about her family's adventurous visit to the remote and craggy Skellig Michael.


Out to Sea: Visiting an Ancient Monastery
by Marcy Light
For years, my husband and I have used a little trick whenever we’ve faced a challenging situation with our boys. We’re not miserable, we tell them. We’re on an adventure.  This technique was especially useful when we put them through an exhaustive climb up steep steps to the top of Skellig Michael, a small island an hour’s boat ride off Ireland’s coast.

Skellig Michael

Our boys, ages 8 and 9, were good travelers. They hardly ever complained and were interested in pretty much everything, but we knew waking them in the wee hours to coax their tired bodies up the many steps to see some ancient ruins would be pushing it.  We showed them the short description in the guidebook:“ It will be an adventure!”  Just getting there was an adventure in itself.

We drove our rental car through narrow, winding village streets, pointing south. Although we had allotted four hours, what we thought was time to spare, the slow journey from County Clare to Portmagee made us late. We just missed the one ferry of the day to Skellig Michael.

The ferry’s office worker was friendly, but the ferry had left and there was nothing she could do. Sometimes fishermen agreed to take people out, she said.

Overcoming our shyness, we approached some gruff fishermen loading equipment onto their boat at the pier. Yes, they could take us out.

So there we were bumping along on the rough waves heading out into the open sea. I hugged the edge of the small boat, cold and wary in a steady drizzle; the boys were thrilled, though, and bounced along with the swells.

Soon enough, we approached Skellig Michael. It rose up out of the grim, grey sea like a craggy beast shrouded in fog, with puffins and seabirds dotting its cliffs.

As we started our climb up a winding path of 800 roughly hewn stone slabs, I marveled at the early Irish Christian monks who had settled on this island in 588 AD seeking solitude and an ascetic lifestyle. They had certainly found it.

We took breaks as the boys tired, reminding them that this was all part of being on an adventure. A thousand years before, Irish monks had brought a dairy cow up these same slippery steps. If she could do it, we could do it, I said.

At the top, we visited an ancient monastery, beehive huts, and a small cemetery. The remoteness of this UNESCO World Heritage site helped to keep it well preserved.

The way down was much easier. As we took one step at a time, my younger son held my hand and babbled a stream of consciousness story about a superhero fighting off one enemy after another, the cliffs and harrowing views becoming a part of his tale.

The steps of Skellig Michael

Back on the boat, we anchored next to the nearby smaller island, Little Skellig, its cliffs turned nearly white by thousands of nesting seabirds. A man with us fished its waters while we listened to the birds calling overhead.

We returned to our cottage late that night and had a quick bite in the village pub. Warm and dry, the Guinness tasted especially good, and the boys slept well, ready for a new adventure in the morning.

You can read more of Marcy Light's adventures in her blog, (Don't Be) Too Timid and Squeamish.  Marcy is also the author of the recently published Timid No More: How I Broke Out of My Comfort Zone by Doing 101 Things and How You Can Break Out of Yours.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Tuesday Trip Report: Mt. Cube (52WAV). June 14, 2013

Wow -- lots of you entered the ParaVival Paracord Bracelet giveaway yesterday!  Thank you -- lesson learned, I'll announce future giveaways on Mondays and not on Fridays or Saturdays, lol.  Glad you folks are interested -- the drawing will occur this coming Monday, June 24, at 9am.

The forecast last Friday called for possible thunderstorms and rain, so we postponed our Terrifying 25 hike.  Naturally, since we didn't do the hike we'd originally planned, the dark clouds never matter, we enjoyed our quick up-and-down of Mt. Cube.

Mt. Cube is on the 52 WAV list.  It's a little mountain southwest of Moosilauke, and it's on the Appalachian Trail.

The grade on Cross Rivendell Trail is easy-to-medium the whole two miles...we made it up in less than a hour.

Viewpoint from a ledge a few tenths of a mile from the summit...

Onward and upward...

Alex levitates...

More views as we climb the last few ledges toward the summit...


Views from the top of Mt. Cube...

The day was gorgeous -- not too warm, not too cool...we sat up there for at least half an hour, enjoying the morning.
The only unfortunate part of the day was a frustrating encounter we had with a man on the way down.  A group of four people sat near the viewpoint not far from the summit (see above); when we came down, one of them (the fellow) asked the girls, "How far did you make it up today?"  His tone was overly bright, cheerful, and condescending -- you know, the way some adults talk to three-year-olds.  The girls silently looked at each other and kept going (which is their way of dealing with naysayers and people who underestimate them) while I stopped and replied, "Uh...we went to the's just over there."
As I hurried to catch up with the girls, I heard the man laugh and say to his friends, "I was just trying to connect with them."  His friends were laughing at the way the girls had obviously avoided speaking to them, and I got the impression they assumed the girls should have stopped and politely answered any and all of their questions.  I had to resist the temptation to head back and give the group an earful.  First, why would the fellow assume he should "connect" or become in any way familiar with two children he just met on the trail?  Second, why did he ask a question that assumed the girls didn't make it to the top...and why did he talk to them as though they were toddlers?  Third, why didn't he immediately apologize when he realized his blunder?
Of course, he probably didn't realize his blunder.  
Folks, if you want to talk to kids you see on the trail, then take my advice.  First, assume strength and not weakness.  His question should have been, "How was the summit?"  Or, even better (because it assumes nothing), "Enjoying your hike?"  Second, talk to kids like you would an adult.  Don't talk down to them.  Ever.  If you do, I guarantee you'll be the topic of negative conversation as soon as you're around the bend.
As soon as we were past the group, the girls started talking about the man.  I assured them this fellow probably had no idea how condescending he had been.  I reminded them that there will always be people who underestimate them, and that the proper response is to simply carry on, exactly as they had done.

We made it down to the car shortly afterward.

It was, for the most part, a good day and a lovely hike.
Come back this Thursday, June 20, for a guest post by Marcy Light of (Don't Be) Too Timid and Squeamish!