Life has a way of getting in the way of things we want to do sometimes. That certainly has been the case for me and many friends and family members too over the years.
Lately, I have made a more concerted effort to get back to pursuing Functional Fitness and Recreation activities such as Bicycling, Kayaking, and Hiking. These are all activities I have done before and for most of my life, and I am actively getting back at it with some new twists and renewed focus.
That is especially true with bicycling as I am now venturing into Mountain Biking for the first time in my life.
Oddly enough I rode a mountain bike years before to and from work for a year or two (4 miles each way) but I never once took the thing on a mountain bike trail of any kind. It was all city and commuter-type riding. It was still great fun, but nothing compared to what I am already experiencing on the trails here!
Here is a pic of my new mountain bike;
So far the thing is a blast to ride and it is already whipping me into the best shape I have been in for many years! This particular bike is a Specialized Rock Hopper which I purchased at Blue Ridge Bicycles in Winchester VA ( a very nice bike shop with great service ).
The first few rides have been at Sherando bike trails and surrounding areas and I am looking forward to the trails in Front Royal, Harrisonburg VA, and a park I have heard about near Berley Springs WV.
Kayaking and canoeing, and messing about in other small craft has been a lifelong passion of mine that I still love. I even designed and built my own boat years ago. Here is a picture of “Carougie” in the water for the first time;
But due to life’s requirements and such I had not taken the time to head out on the water for the past year or so – until recently.
A few days ago I took the time to clean up my Kayak and headed out to Lake Frederick just outside Front Royal VA.
I put the boat in the water and paddled out – and what a gloriously beautiful day it was too. Even though I only had a few short hours to spare (which flew by in what seemed like minutes!) I really enjoyed my time out on the water in the little lake.
Here is a picture of my kayak at the launch point, and the first time it has touched any water other than rainwater in a long time!
I paddled out and along the shoreline to my left. Soon I came to an opening that looked almost like a little creek, which I headed into it to explore where it went. I could soon see it was just a little cove, so I kept going as far as I could and then just floated and enjoyed being on the water for a few minutes. After that, I made a short YouTube video for my L.D. Sewell YouTube channel.
Then I paddled back out of the cove and into the main lake, continuing to my left.
It was a really nice day with a gentle breeze at times. I stopped here and there to watch various wildlife I can across. there were a few other people on the lake too. Most were fishing from kayaks and other small boats, and a few from the shore too.
There were some other people on recreational kayaks paddling around like me and one girl on a Stand Up Paddle Board who looked to be having great fun. I have to try that too someday soon.
Here is a pic I took out on the water;
Another passion long left dormant is hiking – which is now reawakened as well.
There is something magical about walking in the woods and seeing the sights to see, breathing fresh air, exerting yourself as you climb hills, and enjoying the beauty that is everywhere when you are outside in the woods. I have missed it much, and I am so happy to be back at it again too. I once again live in an area that has some of the most beautiful places in the world to go hiking – all within an hour or so from where I live.
The Blueridge mountains are right next door.
There you will find the Appalachian Trail and many other hiking trails within the state and national parks that reserve huge areas of beautiful wilderness for just such activities. Even the little lake I recently went kayaking on, Lake Frederick VA has an 8-mile trail around it that weaves in and out as it follows the shoreline in and out of all the little coves around the entire lake.
I have already hiked parts of it – but unfortunately, it began raining rather heavily so I chose to change my plans ad wait for better weather – and I am looking forward to completing the whole thing in the next few days.
Here are a couple of shots of the trail around the lake;
There are neighborhoods around the lake, within easy walking distance – and people also use parts of the trail to get to spaces along the bank to fish from, so as you can see much of the trail is a well-worn path. It is still quite beautiful and very enjoyable to be in the shade and yet be able to see the lake all along the way.
Some of the trails in the nearby national and state parks are also very beautiful but some of them are so infrequently traveled by other people it can be had to tell where the trail is. I am looking forward to more of those hikes too.
When I went out on my Kayak I forgot one key piece of equipment – a hat.
So I went to my local hardware store and found one that works. Though I don’t really need it in the woods I took it along for my little exploratory hike.
While it may be a little too much for the trees it will be great in the boat out on the lake!
Hiking, Biking, and Boating
My idea is to try to do at least one or more of these things pretty much every week, and ideally two on some days. For example, get up early and go Kayaking out on the lake for a couple of hours or so then come in, have lunch and a break and head out for an afternoon mountain bike trail ride nearby.
What I call compound events. meaning two or more separate adventures in a single day.
Several reasons really. First of all, is the fact that I like to do different activities and combined they provide more adventure and more recreational opportunities for fitness and all that comes with it. Secondly, we all have commitments to family, to work and to other things and other people – so full-day, long or multi-day trips will not always work. Yet pretty much anyone who wants to can find four or five hours to seek some adventure and fitness too.
This works for me personally given my situation – and I am thankful to also have friends and family in the area who can go with me on some of my adventures, and they all have similar situations. Meaning short adventures will work for them whereas longer time commitments would not most of the time.
Occasionally they may have a little extra time – as do will I – hence the idea of COMPOUND events. That’s the idea anyway, and we shall soon see if it works out in reality as well as it does in my imagination or not.
That brings us to YOU.
If you are going to be in the Winchester, Stephens City, or Front Royal areas of Virginia and want to come along on some of our Adventure Recreation outings – then stay in touch and look for dates and updates so I can invite you too. Subscribing to my email and joining our communities is the best way – and of course, also by reading my future blog posts.