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Adventuring with Friends

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A few years back, I wrote a family adventuring article mentioning that we now have trip ideas for his (dad & friends), hers (mom & friends), and ours (the whole family, possibly with friends added in).

January brings the annual gals’ trip to Whistler, BC, Canada. I was lucky enough to nordic ski with friends three days in a row, and follow that with food and conversation as 13 of us shared a condo. We certainly talked about our kids, but it is a different adventure when they’re not there.

I would love to ski the Whistler Olympic Park with the whole family, though. And take a biathlon lesson with my daughter. His or hers trips as reconnaissance for family trips. Hmm.

What could be better than two teenagers on a cross-country ski trip? Four! We had so much fun last year nordic skiing the Winthrop, Washington area with another family, we decided to repeat the fun. Daily ski tours, an octagonal base camp cabin, and plenty of laughter.

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Solstice Ski

Solstice Ski: the longest ski on the shortest day, is my latest article in Adventures Northwest magazine. Last winter break, we were able to go on a terrific trip with another family, where we rented a base camp cabin in eastern Washington and nordic skied from it each day for four days. On the solstice, we skied into Winthrop and back, Christmas lights illuminating the way because of course the darkness came quickly that day.

The article also includes a few impressions written by my daughter. Which makes me smile. Like me, she not only enjoys the adventure, but the writing about it later.

Canadian Rendezvous

When our kids got invited on a sailing trip with another family, and we needed to pick them up in Egmont, Canada on the British Columbia coast, we started thinking about how we could fit in a little parent adventure as well.

We settled on a bike tour circumnavigating the area they would sail. So we drove to Egmont, took our bikes down off the car, and headed for the ferry to the next section of northward coast. We bicycled the curving coastal road and camped in Powell River, then the next morning took another ferry to Vancouver Island and headed south. Camping on Vancouver Island, we remembered our own previous bicycle adventures as we met German, Canadian, and American cyclists who were on the road for weeks or months.

We sorted our loonies and twonies (Canadian $1 and $2 coins) and enjoyed being in another country: the accents, the signage in French, the expensive groceries. Two more ferries later, we were again on the road to Egmont.

We arrived at the marina ahead of the sailors, and lazed in the sunshine until they arrived. It was amazing to see that little boat with four teenagers and our friends (the parents of the other two teens) aboard.

Two very different journeys – by boat and by bike – and one nice Canadian rendezvous. Our thanks to the Johannessens and their boat Mandalay.

Beach-based Adventures

The second half of our return to Mexico involved adding two more teenagers to our travel group, and heading for the ocean. We were so happy that our kids’ Mexican friends were willing and able to join us. The first adventure was driving from Leon (we rented a van at the airport) to Barra de Navidad via Guadalajara. Many board games were played in the back seats.

Once we settled into our budget hotel, we played in the ocean everyday (big waves at Barra, gentler at La Manzanilla), swam in the lagoon and the hotel pool, and wandered the area.

In fact, the teens had the pool to themselves. Many handstands and water-logged hours later, we headed back to Guanjuato – just in time to see the last Harry Potter movie on opening night.

The Spring 2011 Adventures Northwest magazine is out! This marks another turning point in family adventuring, as articles by both me and my daughter are found in this issue. Dana wrote a terrific piece about her experiences in the three-legged race, which is the second event the junior Ski-to-Sea relay. Her all girls relay team rocked last year, and she captures it well in “Elegant Rhinoceroses,” which is how she described herself and her three-legged race partner. Picture athletic girls, well-matched in height and stride, sprinting the half-mile course. Yes, sprinting. It was amazing to watch. And now to read.

My article is about racing car-free. That is, starting the run, bike, or multi-sport event from your home, with getting to the start becoming the first part of the fun.

You can pick up a copy if you live between Seattle, Washington and Vancouver, British Columbia. Not available on-line yet, but until then, you can read my previous articles on the ANW website.

Many months ago, I sent my stories to Mina Samuels, who was collecting the athletic experiences of women and girls. I wrote about being the only gal on a men’s ice hockey team, about appreciating a less busty body, and about becoming an active outdoor family.

Now my thoughts and words are included in Mina’s Run Like A Girl: How Strong Women Make Happy Lives, published February 2011 by Seal Press. I’m excited to read women’s experiences, and once again reminded about the changes in opportunities within my lifetime. Title IV, which gave girls more equal opportunities in sports, came in when I was in junior high. There was no soccer for girls then, so I played on the boys’ team. Now I look at my junior high age daughter and smile at how different things are. She’s played soccer since she was five. With girls.

But Run Like A Girl isn’t about soccer, or any particular sport. It is about strong women making happy lives. And isn’t that what we want for our daughters? Whether with organized sports or through family outdoor adventure, I think the world is a better place when people are healthy, connected, strong, and happy.

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