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Archive for the ‘Walking’ Category

When I advocate family adventuring, I mean outdoor adventure involving nature. What a surprise it was to apply our outdoor adventuring to an urban setting and find that we all really liked it.

Of course it wasn’t just any city, but Vancouver during the Olympics. Backpack of snacks, clothing layers, and water (just as we’d take hiking) – check. Sense of readiness to play I-Spy-Something-New – check. Willingness to walk many miles – check.

Not many trees did we see, but it was inspiring people-watching. We saw a couple women in Netherlands team jackets, whole families faces painted and dressed in Canadian flags, a juggler in checkerboard pants. We smelled the Olympic cauldron burning, heard spontaneous renditions of the Canadian anthem, felt the chill emanating from the Robson Square outdoor ice rink.

While driving to and from the SkyTrain (public transportation into the city core), the kids noticed the purely Canadian species they’d been exposed to while watching the Olympics on a Canadian television channel, like Tim Horton’s. We didn’t stop there, but we did at Petro Canada to buy some commemorative Olympic glasses. Now we can drink orange juice in glasses adorned with the Olympic inukshuk, and remember how great it was to have the Olympics next door.

Oh wait, they aren’t over yet. We’re ready to get tickets to some Paraolympic events. How could we not want to cheer sledge hockey players, and Paraolympic skiers?

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Mud Flat Games

P6210301We live in a place that has tides. Unlike where I grew up (the Great Lakes have waves, but not so much tides), this lends itself to a whole new aspect of fun. On a low summer tide, people can walk a nautical mile into the middle of Bellingham Bay. Barefoot. With feet squelching into the silty mud.

A tradition among our friends, is the annual mudflat games. This involves all-terrain bocce and golf (with balls fetched by the talented dogs of the group) after the requisite walk to the center of the bay. We run, we laugh, we play, we get very muddy.

This year was a little grey weather-wise, so the kids didn’t swim as the water came back in, but we stayed warm playing mud flat games. Just a half-day adventure, but it feels pretty far from home to be in the middle of the bay.

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Spring is Yellow

Even though the rain won’t quit, we’re outside more because it is light so much longer. Dana and I tandem bicycled home from her play rehearsal after 7pm and didn’t even need to turn on the bike lights.images-3 The other brightness I’m noticing are the yellow flowers. Daffodils and dandelions, forsythia and scotch broom, plus the skunk cabbage I see in low wet places when I on road rides out of town. I wondered aloud to a gardener friend if yellows take less energy to produce, so they’re evident early. She tossed out the names of a bunch of non-yellow early flowers and only conceded that we see the pastel range now and more vibrant colors later.

It still seems to me that spring is yellow. And since I’m just not a gardener, I’ll admire those flowers in wild areas and other folks’ yards. Enjoying the details on my small adventures outside – not a bad way to wander.

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Walk This Way

anw-magazine-rpe-logoThe Spring issue of Adventures Northwest magazine came out this week, and I hope my Walk This Way essay inspires people to think about whether they really need to hop into a car to meet a friend or take care of an errand. I was inspired to write about walking after seeing what an important role that simple locomotion played in our semester in Mexico. We walked everywhere and so did almost everyone else. The benefits? Fitness, less environmental impact (no car pollution), and talking – to each other and to neighbors and strangers we saw along our route.

As a family, walking slowed us down, allowed us to take routes no car ever could have managed, and gave us time together. Back home, I’m thankful to live in a walkable area, and look forward to walking along chatting with my kids as we head to the grocery store, go out to rent a video, or return from my daughter’s dance class at a wonderful studio space five blocks away. In fact, she and her friends inspired the parting line in my piece, because I so often see them walking barefoot, even in February and March, before the weather is very warm here. So as I concluded the article:

What if we say, “let’s walk” to each other in town, rather than reserving longer walks for a hike or a backpacking trip? Yes, it will take longer, but we will all be richer for it. And after you have gotten in the habit of walking a few more places this spring, take a lesson from the kids and try it all again. Barefoot.

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